Westinghouse Model H-496P4 Tube Portable (1950s)

Perhaps this striking red-and-silver portable fits in the "Machine Age" design category. The clean lines and stepped shoulders, combined with bold colors, create a distinctive, skyscraper-like effect.

This set wasn't used much. The thumbwheel on/off switch and tuning dial show virtually no wear and the case has no cracks or noticeable scratches.

The internals are equally pristine. All four tubes (IR5, IU4, IU5, 3Q4) bear the Westinghouse stamp, so they're either originals or correct replacements. The chassis looks like copper-plated steel and it shows careful design. Like some complex cardboard containers, it is stamped from a single sheet, then cleverly folded and slotted to carry a slew of components in a small space. A similar chassis is used in my Westinghouse H-417TS.

Power is supplied by the usual A and B batteries, 67.5 volts for the B, and either one or two 1.5-volt batteries for the A. Unlike some tube portables, this one can't use AC power, which may explain its little-used condition.

The original paper labels are still in place inside the case, and they bear no evidence of component overheating or leakage, as is fairly common in old tube portables.

I got this set from a fellow collector in Texas. The original owner must have liked this radio a lot. Tou can see his name in four different places inside the small cabinet. He stuck his mailing address label inside the battery compartment, inscribed his name and phone number on both the metal chassis and the inside of the case, and wrote his name, hometown, and phone number on the masonite bracket that carries the ferrite loop antenna. Now, that's pride of ownership!

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