Welcome to Australia's only Vintage Radio and Television discussion forums. You are not logged in. Please log in below, apply for an account or retrieve your password.
Australian Vintage Radio Forums
  Home  ·  About Us  ·  Discussion Forums  ·  Glossary  ·  Outside Links  ·  Policies  ·  Services Directory  ·  Safety Warnings  ·  Tutorials

General Discussion

Forum home - Go back to General discussion

 Fisk R24 -Too important for me?
« Back · 1 · Next »
 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 15:28:24 on 22 August 2010.
Matto's Gravatar
 Location: TAS
 Member since 22 August 2010
 Member #: 723
 Postcount: 5


Some years ago I inherited my uncles property, with it came his basement full of pre and post-war bakelite and wooden receivers...hundreads. Some mint, some in pieces in boxes.

Over the years I have tried to get my head around what is most valuable with a view to restoring some of them myself for a bit of fun.

Now seven years later I have some spare time and would like to start on this AWA Fisk Radiolette - model R24 I believe, circa 1933.

When researching, I found a few entries in museum Victoria and NSW. Stating that this was the first mantle receiver made by AWA.



My Q. Is this Radiolette too historically important or valuable for a first time restorer, no matter how confident they feel? I have all the testing equipment, valves, condensers etc.

Some pics of mine:

 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 16:07:08 on 22 August 2010.
STC830's Gravatar
 Location: NSW
 Member since 10 June 2010
 Member #: 681
 Postcount: 1010

What a lot of treasure to land in your lap!
Your question about what restoration is appropriate has occupied many pages of HRSA's magazine Radio Waves.

If you want a museum then restoration is out, conservation is in.
But dusty radios aren't wanted in the house so to enjoy a radio it must be restored and made to work.

There all sorts of ambitions that various collectors can have; everything from museum to needing to support the hobby by restoration and sale; only you can decide. Fun is an acceptable ambition.

I have done a number of restorations but one valuable early '30s radio that is untouched by repairs or restoration I left alone. Haven't even tested the valves. But I will change the blue iron cord!

On the net the best advice I can find is

 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 18:16:57 on 22 August 2010.
Brad's avatar
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6585

G'day Matto,

The R24 Radiolette, by AWA is very much a historically important radio and is considered a rare beast these days. Very few of them have survived in a condition that wouldn't require some effort with restoration.

I agree with STC830 in that a museum is more likely to be interested in your set if it is in its present condition. If you'd like to see the radio come to life again then it is better to carry out a full restoration, being as sympathetic to the way things were as possible, even if it means restoration of cabinet and chassis are done by different people. There aren't many that can do a professional job with timber restoration and servicing of electronics although a few all-rounders do exist.

The R24 is not AWA's first mantel receiver though this does not lessen the value of this set. AWA made a few sets before 1933, namely the C87 and C104 (also rebadged under the GE brand) in 1932 and 1933, shown here, and whilst these were the largest bakelite mouldings in the world at the time they qualified as more of a mantel set than a table model in my opinion.

As for restoration, I would recommend that the cabinet be restored by an experienced french polisher. Even if you don't want the cabinet french polished and would sooner see the traditional nitro-cellulose lacquer applied to the set with the black japan detailing this sort of person would know how to prepare the surfaces of the cabinet and apply the finishes better than most other people.

As for the chassis, if you have some radio servicing experience on older valve equipment you should have no trouble getting the chassis working. Just keep in mind that there's a lot of volts under the bonnet of valve radios - more than comes out of the power point. When these things bite they bite hard and the shock can be deadly under the right circumstances. I realise these warnings can be boring and repetitive but they have to be repeated for legal reasons, along with the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

If you would prefer that experienced people look at restoration for you, there is a service directory link at the top of the site or alternatively some members here know of others who can do restoration work.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 20:23:35 on 22 August 2010.
Matto's Gravatar
 Location: TAS
 Member since 22 August 2010
 Member #: 723
 Postcount: 5

Thank you both for the replies, info and link.

After reading the replies and thinking a little, I have decided I will leave it be. I figure there is a chance I could regret restoring it myself.

Might pay just to give this one a quick clean and screw everything back together. All the original parts and screws seem to be here. But I am dubious about the bakelite dials that were in the box with it. There are several large Milo tins full of dials, they might be with them. They seem to be made from metal in the linked 1933 AWA factory photograph in my first post, it is difficult to tell.

Does anyone have an idea of what kind of dials it originally came with?

Thanks for the safety tips also. I watched my uncle restore a bunch when I was growing up, and strangely, much of it sunk in. So hopefully I will be fine. ;)

I'll start with one of the bakelite Astor Mickeys that are in pieces as my first project.


« Back · 1 · Next »
 You need to be a member to post comments on this forum.

Sign In

 Keep me logged in.
Do not tick box on a computer with public access.