Imagine going to your local Walgreens Drug Store and finding this gorgeous radio! You could do just that in 1936 because Aetna was Walgreen's radio brand name. Aetna radios are cherished by collectors and hard to find, but this one is simply impossible to find. I've never seen another model 550 and doubt you will either. (Reprinted with permission of Richard Rogers.)
"The radio. I wonder who made it. It doesn't look like any Philco or Zenith or Atwater Kent or Emerson or..."
"I get the idea."
"You know what though?"
"No, what though."
"It sort of reminds me, of the Peter Pan radio."
"Yeah. Yeah, I think so."
"I'm gonna find out."
"And, how are you going to do that? We've researched it; we couldn't find anything on it- just a schematic that resembled the chassis close enough we could fix it."
"I'm going to ask people on Facebook. I betcha somebody will know." So, that's what I did. I asked. By gosh, somebody did know.
"Russell, Russell," I went running to the shop as fast as I could. Excited, elated, on cloud 9, I nearly floated over the gravel path. "I...know...what...it...is!" I could hardly get the words out. "It's a 1936," I stopped to get a gulp of air, "...a 1936 Aetna Model 550. It's really rare and..." Pride erupted from every pore on my body. A smile the size of the piano lit up my face. I felt so great sharing the information, my ego could have inflated a hot air balloon.
I waited. Russell took a look at the website that revealed--what I believed to be the key to solving the quandary--what radio we had. He looked carefully at the cabinet. "See! See! I told you!" He said nothing. He continued looking at the photos. I waited for his approval; for his confirmation that this fledging radio repair person had this one nailed.
I felt my happiness balloon burst suddenly, as if poked by a sharp pin. "What!? How can you say that this isn't this radio?" I couldn't believe it. He must be able to see it, he's got his glasses on, I thought. "How can you say this," I pointed at the radio, "isn't that?" I motioned back to the website. Incredulous couldn't begin to express my dismay.
"Simple." My mouth--and spirits--dropped as he continued. "I looked at the back of the radio on the website. The Aetna 550 has two IF transformers. It's a superheterodyne." I picked my mouth up off the floor as he continued. "Yours is a TRF."
"It's still a nice radio. It has the same cabinet as the 550, but it is a different model."
"No not hosers, it was made that way."
Thus, this concluded this installment in the radio project. What did I learn? That things are not always what they seem to be. And, if in doubt, ask Russell.
Till next time, when we answer the question- is it possible to sand, refinish, sand, and refinish,. sand....a radio too many times?
Have you ever been fooled by the apparent appearance of a radio?