: Car radios with mechanical seek



Jesda
03-27-11, 03:19 AM
This fascinates the hell out of me. I thought the motorized door that covered the audio knobs on the Q45's Clarion/Bose head unit was awesome. This is even "more-awesomer"

http://jesda.com/2011/03/26/vintage-factory-radios-still-working/


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRNJXdwtua4

In 1959 any radio was an option and most people opted for the standard AM Pushbutton Radio. Of course there was no FM or Stereo in 1959 but you could get a rear seat speaker!

Ford did offer a rare option that is present and working in this car. It is called a Town and Country radio and used a motorized mechanism to turn the dial until a signal was acquired. The “T” bar closed in on the stronger stations when in Town where more radio stations existed. The “C” button settled for the weaker signals it could locate on the open road of the “Country”. Pretty rare option and especially unusual to find one that looks this good and actually works! Don’t plan to plug in your IPOD though!


Becker Mexico:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWNC6qdt-D4


Are there more like this?

C&C
03-27-11, 05:51 AM
General motors had a similar radio in the '50's (I know for sure on the Oldsmobile; maybe buick and Cadillac) and it was called the 'Wonder bar' radio.

Found one for the '53 Caddy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZzDZVkWLa0

mhamilton
03-27-11, 11:52 AM
Yep, the Wonderbar was first optional in the Cadillac and Corvettes, I'm sure it trickled down the ladder to Buick and Olds a few years after.

Lots of neat things were done in the '30s and '40s with radios. A lot of the aftermarket radios in the '30s had foot controls for volume and tuning--they had buttons to the right of the accelerator similar to the highbeam button. In home radios, Philco had the first wireless remote control (the "Mystery Control") in their flagship console around 1938 http://www.philcorepairbench.com/mystery/index.htm

orconn
03-27-11, 02:35 PM
In the early fifties Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile (at least, I seem to remember my friend's dad's Pontiac Starchief having it too) all had the "Wonderbar" signal seeking tuning available. The signal seeking aspect of the radio was electronic but the actuation and station indicator mechanisms were mechanical. I remember both he '57 Olds 98 and the '56 Cadillac both had these radios. The '56 Mercedes 300, which had a Becker, did not have the signal seeking feature despite being a top of the line Mercedes. Also I remember that the 1950 Packard that we had did not have it, which if it had been available would have had as my dad was a radio nut!

Playdrv4me
03-27-11, 06:05 PM
Wow that Mystery Control thing is wild! Leaving aside the fact that we went to IR and then all the way BACK to RF in top of the line remotes 50+ years later!

mhamilton
03-27-11, 06:19 PM
Wow that Mystery Control thing is wild! Leaving aside the fact that we went to IR and then all the way BACK to RF in top of the line remotes 50+ years later!

It was certainly ahead of its time! Was only around from '39 to '42, then we didn't see remotes again until TV took off in the '50s. And with those is a whole separate discussion... I'm sure some here remember the Zenith "clicker" remotes that actually used an acoustic signal :)

dkozloski
03-27-11, 06:23 PM
Late 50s and early 60s GM cars had hybrid radios with low voltage vacuum tubes and solid state output stages. They were some of the most sensitive and best performing AM band radios ever made. We could drive my '59 Pontiac down to the beach in Va. Beach Va. in the evening and listen to stations all up and down the eastern seaboard.

Jesda
03-27-11, 06:44 PM
I havent seen a Zenith TV since high school (late 90s).

Playdrv4me
03-27-11, 06:49 PM
i havent seen a zenith tv since high school (late 90s).

Space Command

orconn
03-27-11, 07:40 PM
If I remember correctly, Zenith was the last "major" brand to manufacture TV's in the U.S. I know that by the late sixties most major brand "home instruments" (TV's and radios) were manufactured overseas, first in Japan and then by the end of the sixties in Taiwan. Due the Japanese licensing of transistor technology in the early fifties and then their rapid development of solid state engineering in the sixties they made major inroads in the American market for consumer electronics.

During this period American companies, like RCA, devoted most of their R&D to the development of defense products for Cold War applications. These included great advances in military and naval communications, satellite surveillence systems, missile guidance systems and space defense systems, not to mention the moon mission. While all these engineering feats brought eventual civilian applications, the heavy emphasis on defense equipemnt left a huge hole in civilian electronics which first the Japanese, then the Taiwanese and finally the Koreans were able to exploit to build new markets for their products in the United States.

Jesda
03-27-11, 08:06 PM
The Japanese will probably be in some kind of recession forever thanks to Korean and Chinese cost-competitiveness, and Japan's weird symbiotic relationship between government and large corporate conglomerates.

Playdrv4me
03-27-11, 09:18 PM
If I remember correctly, Zenith was the last "major" brand to manufacture TV's in the U.S. I know that by the late sixties most major brand "home instruments" (TV's and radios) were manufactured overseas, first in Japan and then by the end of the sixties in Taiwan. Due the Japanese licensing of transistor technology in the early fifties and then their rapid development of solid state engineering in the sixties they made major inroads in the American market for consumer electronics.

During this period American companies, like RCA, devoted most of their R&D to the development of defense products for Cold War applications. These included great advances in military and naval communications, satellite surveillence systems, missile guidance systems and space defense systems, not to mention the moon mission. While all these engineering feats brought eventual civilian applications, the heavy emphasis on defense equipemnt left a huge hole in civilian electronics which first the Japanese, then the Taiwanese and finally the Koreans were able to exploit to build new markets for their products in the United States.

I believe the last major brand American based television factory was, ironically, Sony's massive campus in San Diego. My beloved Trinitrons (except for special models) were made there. Now the major large TV production hub for ALL the brands is Mexico.