Radio Boulevard
Western Historic Radio Museum

 

WHRM - Contact Information

WHRM - Radio Museum History - 1994-2012

WHRM Photo Tour from October 2012

Using Photos from our Website


 

photo: The Radio Class at Radcliffe College - Radio Journal, Sept. 1922

 
Contact Information - The best way to contact me is via e-mail. I check the e-mail every morning and try to get a reply back the "same day." All of the other web pages on this website that have e-mail links for sending in receiver serial numbers, photos and other information use this same e-mail address, so this e-mail link or any other e-mail link on the entire website will work.


Here's the e-mail link: WESTERN HISTORIC RADIO MUSEUM

 

Western Historic Radio Museum - History 1994 to 2012

Western Historic Radio Museum was a real "brick and mortar" RADIO museum that was located in Virginia City, Nevada. WHRM was "open to the public" from 1994 until 2012 - over eighteen years of operation. Though the museum is no longer open to the public, we are still very active in radio communications and radio collecting. We're still actively doing radio history research, especially production and manufacturing history of communications equipment, whether it be commercial, military or homebrew. We still maintain the Western Historic Radio Museum website as an information resource for collectors, restorers and historians. The following article is a short history of how WHRM began followed by a Photo Tour of WHRM taken just after the museum closed.  H. Rogers - Oct.2012
 
Getting Started - The idea for a "radio museum" came from friend and fellow ham, John Seginski N7NV, who, around 1991, visited us in Minden, Nevada to see our small radio collection. A few days after John's visit, I received a thank you card in the mail from John that read,..."thanks for letting me visit your radio museum." That started me thinking about the possibilities of having a museum dedicated to "RADIO." At the time I was working for Bently Nevada Corporation in Minden and had been with them for around twenty years. However, the idea of a radio museum business was always in my mind after John's card. Our location was going to be important. Nobody visited Minden, except maybe to have a Basque dinner at one of the three Basque restaurants in town. We needed a location that would make the museum easy to find and that got enough tourist traffic to be a success. Reno was too big and we would have been lost in all of the other attractions there. Carson City (then) was similar to Minden in that nobody stopped in Carson for anything since the major north-south highway went right through the middle of town. Virginia City was the logical choice since it really was a "tourist trap" that had enough notoriety to assure sufficient walk-in traffic for a successful business.
Renovation and Paperwork - Purchasing a building on the main drag (C Street) was out of the question as was renting any building there. The staggering cost would have assured almost instant failure. We had to own the building in order to have the overhead low enough to make the business viable. We found that the old Catholic Rectory was for sale and its location between St. Mary's in the Mountains Catholic Church and St. Paul's Episcopal Church along with the building being exactly on the walking route to the V&T Railroad Station assured us sufficient foot traffic for a museum. We purchased the old rectory building and moved to Virginia City in February 1993. The museum location was going to take advantage of the basement's "walk-in" rear entrance that was accessed directly off of Taylor Street. Unfortunately, the basement was completely unfinished and had a couple of structural problems. I had to repair a 3 foot in diameter hole in the rock foundation on the northwest corner and a similar, though not nearly as large, hole in the southwest corner. This was caused by water damage from improper drainage at the front of the house. A couple of diversion dams in front of the house corrected the source of the problem and several wheelbarrows of rock and mortar repaired the foundation structure. After that, we had a local contractor convert the basement into a 500 square foot museum area and an additional 100 square foot ham shack/museum along with a 400 square foot workshop. I installed the black and white checkered flooring and built all of the display cases. By September, 1994 we were ready to open. Of course, you can't just open a business without going through a series of meetings with all of the Storey County officials. This would be the Planning Dept., the Building Dept., the County Commissioners and the Comstock Historic District. The first meeting was in December 1993 and we didn't open until September 1994 and even then we didn't have the final "sign off" from the Fire Dept. Our sheriff then, Bob Del Carlo, told us to go ahead and open since it was Labor Day weekend and we could get the "sign off" the following week.
Where the Radios Came From - All of the radios that were on display in the museum were from my own collection - a passion that began 50 years ago. Back in 1964, I received an old Zenith "Cube" (Model 6-S-222) as a fourteenth birthday present. That was all it took!  I bought a Radiola 60 consolette a few weeks later. The seven dollar price tag seemed like a lot to a teenager, but I was hooked. I haunted the second-hand stores and the Salvation Army/Goodwill stores looking for other radios that could be purchased for a few dollars. I did manage to acquire several other sets during the sixties, including a rare Patterson PR-10. As a teenager,  I worked summers at Rios Radio & TV, a local radio-tv repair shop, which helped with my repair projects and with learning. Unfortunately, the only survivor of my teenage collecting years is the old Radiola 60 consolette (and it was on display in the museum.) Most of the radios that were in the museum had been collected since the early 1970s and were mostly from Reno or Carson City and the surrounding areas. During the seventies, I tried to collect mainly pre-1923 radios but, by the mid-eighties, these radios were becoming increasingly difficult to find. I then began to look at sets from the thirties. And then, eventually, the forties! I had also been collecting vintage ham gear (on again-off again) since the mid-sixties. As a result, our collection had become representative of the evolution of electronic technology and of industrial art design used in consumer radios for the home and the very different designs used for commercial, military and amateur communications equipment. Of course, horn speakers, vacuum tubes, microphones and telegraph keys all seem to come along with collecting radios. All of the display cases in the museum were "packed full" of other items besides radios. Original boxed parts, accessories, vintage photographs, old QSL cards, original pamphlets and advertising. Everything was usually around the same vintage as the radios they were with so each of the displays represented particular eras in radio manufacturing. The counterclockwise tour through the museum gave the visitor a chronological look at the evolution of radio from the pre-WWI "Wireless Era" up to the 1950s kitsch-era. The small ham shack-museum room featured the 1912 Dodd Wireless Station and other communications equipment up to the 1950s.
The Growth Period - Western Historic Radio Museum opened up on September 3, 1994 with about 80 radios on display. The ham shack part of the museum was not finished then so only the main room housed all of the radios on display. I opened the ham shack part of the museum in 1995. For the first year, both Sharon and I continued to work and commute to Bently Nevada Corp. in Minden, a round trip of 60 miles each work day. Sharon left BNC in 1995 to run the museum but I stayed on at BNC until April 1997, when I finally retired after 23+ years of employment. Initially, the radio museum was known as "Virginia City Radio Museum" up until the year 2000. Visitors were constantly asking if the "town owned the museum" which I found irritating after awhile. The name change to "Western Historic Radio Museum" not only clarified ownership but helped to isolate us from Virginia City's well-earned reputation as a "tourist trap." As time went on, we added more and more radios to the museum eventually displaying over 200 radios. Probably the most memorable addition to the museum was the acquisition of the M.H. Dodd 1912 Wireless Station, which is featured in an article on this website (see navigation link in the index below.) Also, a trip to Spur, Texas was necessary to add the RCA-Victor RE-156 to the museum. A trip to Visalia, California was necessary to add the Hallicrafters DD-1 to the museum (also featured in an article on this website.) Though traveling was sometimes necessary most of the additions to the museum came from local sources and local people, with the bulk of the museum displays coming from areas in Nevada and nearby California.
Eighteen Years of Operation - One would think that visitors to the museum would have been on the decline because of ever-increasing gas prices and the poor economy however this really wasn't the case. Since we never were of much interest to the average tourist and appealed more to the technically informed visitor our attendance remained fairly consistent over the years with many visitors returning every year or two to visit or just to see the new additions. However, tourism in general has been on the decline in the West for decades and the overall the number of visitors to Virginia City has always been on a constant decline ever since the TV show "Bonanza" was canceled. Additionally, the demographic of the usual Virginia City tourist has been changing to younger and younger people coming to town. Most of these visitors had no idea what RADIO was and were simply not interested in spending anything for admission to something they didn't know (or care) anything about. When our retirement age was close, we decided to slowly reduce the hours of operation. First, we stopped accepting the "tourist tickets" in 2011. Hastened by other events (business insurance renewals, business license renewals, etc.,) we closed the museum to the public in 2012. Over eighteen years of operation with the museum open to the public the entire time.
What's Radio Boulevard and What's Going to Happen to the Website? - The WHRM website (www.radioblvd.com) now has Radio Boulevard added to our headers since that has been our internet domain name for the website since 1998. Radio Boulevard was also our business name when we sold, repaired and restored vintage radios in Reno, Nevada in the 1990s. Additionally, "radioblvd" has been our eBay ID for many years (after eBay changed from using your e-mail address as your ID - remember that?) Other than the name addition, the WHRM website is still the same. Our interest is still radio history, especially radio manufacturing history. Also, we're very interested in documenting the proper conservation of vintage electronics and the correct restoration procedures of vintage radio equipment. These rebuilding and restoration techniques are mostly for communications equipment, receivers and transmitters of commercial, military or even homebrew origins but these methods can also be applied to the restoration of consumer radios, from battery sets to the classics. Radio Boulevard-WHRM will continue to provide the "hard-to-find" information on radio restoration and vintage electronic rebuilding procedures that will always include lots of photos. Also, we'll continue to add to the radio manufacturing history sections including Nevada Radio History.  I hope that as the website expands it will continue to remain a popular information resource for radio enthusiasts, hams and radio collectors in the future.
Will there be Another Western Historic Radio Museum? - Our move to Dayton, Nevada coincided with the closing of the WHRM. All of the museum contents were moved to our new location. I've been asked many times if I'm going to open the museum here in Dayton. I can say positively there will not be another Western Historic Radio Museum that will be open to the public. For about a year now, I've been contemplating the logistics of opening another museum and whether I have the motivation or drive to complete the monumental amount of work that's necessary to set-up another museum. I've come to the conclusion that it would be a better for me to direct my time and energy into the museum website, Radio Boulevard-Western Historic Radio Museum, and present as much information as possible there, online. In the future, I hope former visitors and future fans will consider that "the Western Historic Radio Museum"  IS  "the Radio Boulevard-WHRM website." The advantages are you can visit this museum anytime you want, there's no admission charge and, best of all, you don't have to go to Virginia City, Nevada, USA.
 

The following "Photo Tour" shows the Western Historic Radio Museum-Virginia City as it was just after it closed to the public in 2012.

Photo Tour of WHRM - Taken in 2012 in Virginia City, Nevada   

Wireless and Battery Era 1909 - 1929


1


2


3


4

1 - This was the first display case when entering the museum. It was set up to have pre-WWI gear on the bottom shelf, ship board radio gear on the middle shelf and early ham gear on the top shelf.

2 - These were some of the first radio receivers that were available when commercial broadcasting began.

3 - The AR-812 was the first superhet that was available to the general public. The Kolster Loop and the UZ-1325 horn were found with this receiver.

4 - Mid-1920s battery sets and horn speakers. Xtal sets on the Zenith VII.

5 - Late battery sets along with some of the first AC operated "Light Socket" powered radios. Note the 1928 Atwater-Kent "Modernistic Style" Deco Radio.


5

Classic Era Radios 1930 - 1950


6

 


7


8

6 - A selection of radios from the 1930s showing the "cathedral" styles and other types of cabinets that were popular at the time. The center of the middle shelf featured a selection of pre-war plastic radios with examples of Bakelite, Durez, Plaskon and Catalin radio cabinets displayed.

7 - Late thirties radios showing the various "zephyr" styling and "machine age" styling that was popular then. Also, a display of late-thirties German radios showing a 1937 Mende, a 1937 DKE 301 and a 1942 Siemens K-32.

8 - Post-war consumer radios showing some novelties and even a Pilot TV. The portable Zenith TO is the military version, the R-520. A late fifties German Telefunken "Gavotte" was also on display. The Bendix 526C is another catalin cabinet and is next to a Slot Machine radio given away by Harrah's Club.

9 - The Vacuum Tube display featured tubes from pre-WWI up to transmitting tubes from the 1960s. Many tubes were shown with their original boxes. During the 1920s and 1930s, tube "box-art" was spectacular. The top shelf was "collector" type tubes from 1916 up to 1928. The second shelf was Western Electric tubes and Arcturus tubes. The third shelf featured box-art tube packages and a display of DeForest tubes from the late 1920s. The bottom shelf was early transmitting tubes and tube advertising.


9

Floor Models from the 1920s and 1930s


10

10 - This little three shelf display usually got the comment, "I remember (or, had one of) those." The fifties radios were the most often recognized. The floor models are a Victrola with a Freed-Eisemann panel set and the Radiola Super-VIII.

11 - Graybar (Radiola 66) and Victor 9-54 (once owned by Hoot Gibson.) On the floor is a portable transmitter built and used by radio station KFI in 1940.

12 - Scott and McMurdo Silver radios with posters and BC mikes. Note the Tesla coil in the corner.

13 - These incredible "poster size" autographed photos of Bob Hope and Hal Peary (from 1940) were always popular. A closer view of the Tesla coil and the BC mikes.

14 - Another "poster size" autographed photo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The Nipper figurine was from 1920. The Edison Gem was from 1910.


11


12


13


14

Commercial, Military and Ham Gear from 1912 up to the 1950s


15


16


17


18

15 - Outside the ham shack was a display of SWBC QSL cards, a Hallicrafters SX-28 with its matching R-12 bass reflex speaker, a 1936 homebrew 1KW transmitter and a Hallicrafters SX-42. The silver receiver is an Australian Kingsley AR-7 "HRO knock-off" from WWII. Note the BC-611 "handie-talkie" that is setting on top of the R-42 speaker. The floor model console is the RCA RAE-59, a two-speed (78 and 33.3RPM) automatic record changer with superhet receiver, top of the line machine in 1931.

16 - The Hallicrafters DD-1 was always on display in the museum ham shack. This receiver cost the equivalent of a new Chevy coupe in 1938. Consequently, only 100 were ever produced. Also note the two Pilot Super Wasp receivers and the 1956 Collins R-390A. A ring and spring mike and QSL cards.

17 - This display was actually in the main part of the museum with the BC radios but it shows the Breting receivers made in LA during the thirties along with a Patterson PR-10 which was also an LA produced receiver. The National HRO is the post-WWII version, the HRO-5TA1.

18 - One of the most photographed displays in the museum was the 1912 M.H.Dodd wireless station. This complete, all-original, authentically displayed 1912 ham station also displayed Dodd's books. The pennants were original and in the station in 1912. They could be seen in the original 1912 photographs that were on the wall mounted board. The CQD postcard photo is an enlargement of the original from the station.


19

19 - The 1937 Utah UAT-1 station with the 1937 RME-69 receiver. Three HRO receivers. The upper HRO is a first production run receiver, sn D-65. The UAT-1 is a operational transmitter.

20 - The SCR-267 station was used in many B-17s and other bombers and transports during WWII. Transmitter is the BC-375-E and the receiver is the Wells-Gardner BC-348-Q. Both units operate on their original dynamotors.

21 - Two ART-13 transmitters operating on AC power supplies. The receiver above is a 1951 contract Collins R-390 and the receiver on the table is a Belmont version of the BC-348-R.


20


21


22


23

22 - Another shot of the military bench showing the pair of R-392 receivers (from the early 1960s) and a 1956 Motorola contract R-390A. The brown receiver is an RCA CR-88A.

23 - The Vintage Ham Station showing the Johnson Desk KW with Viking Ranger exciter. The receiver is the HRO-60R. To the right is the Collins 32V-2 transmitter paired with the Collins 51J-4 receiver.

 

2001 Chas."Doc"Herrold Award Winners

On Saturday, July 6, 2002, Sharon and I were presented the Charles D."Doc"Herrold Award for 2001 by the California Historical Radio Society. CHRS gave us the honor in recognition of our "outstanding achievement in the preservation and documentation of early radio" based on our Western Historic Radio Museum and by the content of the Radio Museum's website. We wish to thank Steve Kushman, Bart Lee and all of the members of CHRS for the award, which was presented at the July 2002 CHRS meeting at St. Anne of the Sunset Church in San Francisco, California. For more information on CHRS, go to their website at: California Historical Radio Society

 

Want to Use Our Photographs or Our Information from this Website?

We are happy to allow the use of our radio photographs and our descriptive text for your radio-history project but remember that all of the non-credited radio photographs along with all of the text on all of the pages comprising this entire website are the property of Henry Rogers, Radio Boulevard, Western Historic Radio Museum and are subject to copyright laws. We would like to have some idea how you plan to use our photos so we would like you to ask for written permission (via e-mail.) Please tell us what your project is about and we'll be glad to help with photos and info. We only ask that proper credit be given for our writing and photographic efforts. 

 For written permission please send an e-mail to:  WESTERN HISTORIC RADIO MUSEUM

 

Looking for Information/Value about your Radio?      

 To Identify Your Radio or Obtain Technical Data - If you want to identify your radio and you know the manufacturer but not the particular model, check The Radio Attic - The Radio Attic's Archive has over 10,000 photographs of identified radios and certainly provides the best chance to find a photo and model number to identify your radio. Trying to identify a radio where the manufacturer is not known is a time consuming effort that is rarely successful. Technical data, such as schematics and manuals, can be found online. For schematics that were published in Rider's Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manuals try Nostalgia Air. For communications equipment, military or ham gear manuals try BAMA Mirror Site (Boat Anchor Manual Archive - Mirror.)  Current URLs for both sites can be found using almost any search engine.

For Radio Manufacturing History - General Information, there are several books covering the subject that can be found either at your local library or by purchasing from book stores. For 1920 radios, Alan Douglas' three volume set,  "Radio Manufacturers of the 1920s," is by far the best source of detailed information on radio and manufacturing of that period. For 1930-40s, usually the Internet will provide some information on the various manufacturers and their products. For detailed information on Zenith Radio products, "Zenith - The Early Years - 1919 - 1935" and "Zenith - The Glory Years - 1936 - 1945" by  Cones & Bryant are excellent sources. For information on Philco, "Philco Radio 1928-1942 by Ron Ramirez is a detailed source. For vintage ham gear, Raymond Moore's "Communications Receivers - The Vacuum Tube Era - 1932 -1981" is the best source.

Current Prices - We generally do not answer any e-mails asking for current selling prices of vintage radios. Here's why - On values or current prices for vintage radios, remember that prices vary from location to location and are dependent on condition, method of sale, time of the year, seller/buyer motivation and many other variables. Without a real physical inspection of the radio, we don't know anything about its actual condition and condition is the most important factor in determining collector interest and resultant selling prices. Photographs are of limited value to determine actual condition as photos will only show major cosmetic problems and show almost nothing about the electronic condition of the radio. You will have to determine the value of your radio by doing your own research. You can try your local library for antique radio price guide books for a general idea of value, though these books are generally only useful to determine your radio's "collector interest" relative to other vintage radios. We recommend searching eBay's "Completed Auctions" for an example of your radio in similar condition to estimate the value of your's. By observing the "completed" radio auctions on eBay you can discern collector interest and get "up-to-date" information on current prices for your particular radio. To net eBay prices though, you must be willing to sell on eBay along with packing and shipping your radio when sold.

Website Navigation Index

-  WHRM History  ~  Nevada Radio History  ~  The KOWL XMTR  ~  Full Length Articles with Photos -

Home-Index

Western Historic Radio Museum - Information
 
Contact Info, Museum History 1994-2012, Museum Photo Tour, Using Photos and Info from this Website & Radio Value Info

Nevada Radio History - 1906 to 1930
Arthur Raycraft, Nevada's "Father of Wireless," America's First Radio Tour, Early Nevada BC Stations & More

KOWL's Gates BC-250L BC Transmitter
2007 Move from Lake Tahoe - Restoration - PLUS -  2013 Move to Dayton, Nevada & Getting on 160M 

 

- Wireless Apparatus, 1920s Radio and Communications Equipment  ~  Full Length Articles with Photos -

M.H. Dodd's 1912 Wireless Station
100th Anniversary  Edition 
Includes New Photos, Reassembly Info and Lots of Original Vintage 1912 B&W Photos + Reassembly in Dayton

 THE COLIN B. KENNEDY COMPANY
"RADIO APPARATUS OF QUALITY"
Universal, Intermediate Wave and Short Wave Models History, Restoration and Operation - Lots of Photos

A.H. GREBE & CO., INC.
"A Guide to the Synchrophase MU-1"
Comprehensive Manufacturing History, Restoration, Neutralizing, Performance Information - Lots of Photos

 

 SE-1420, IP-501 & IP-501A
"The Classic Shipboard Wireless Receivers"
Comprehensive History, Restoration and Operation Info - Tuning in NDBs with IP-501-A

Vintage Long Wave Receivers
Long Wave Receiver Profiles, Loop Antenna Info, NDB Info and Log,
Fallon NV "Master - M" Loran Station Tour

 

 

- Vintage Communications & Amateur Radio Equipment  ~  Full Length Articles with Photos -

National Co. - HRO Receiver
"The Cream of the Crop" 
Expanded Edition - Comprehensive History, Serial Numbers, Restoration, Lots of Photos & More

 National Co. - NC-100 Series
"Moving Coil"  Receivers 
Comprehensive History, Serial Numbers, Restoration & More - Includes Civilian Versions, Military Versions & Airport Versions

Hallicrafters SX-28
"A Pre-war Masterpiece"

Comprehensive History, Serial Number Analysis, Restoration Details & More

Hallicrafters DD-1 "Skyrider Diversity"
Comprehensive History, Serial Numbers & Restoration Details

RCA's Legendary AR-60 Receiver
Comprehensive History, Serial Number Analysis, Restoration Details & More - including the AR-60 connection to Amelia Earhart's Disappearance.        

RCA's Amazing AR-88 Receivers
Comprehensive History, Restoration Info, How to do IF Sweep Alignments, Serial Numbers & More

 Hammarlund Mfg.Co.,Inc
The Incredible Pre-War 'Super-Pro'
Comprehensive History, Serial Number Analysis, Restoration Details. Includes info on the Hammarlund Comet Pro

Hallicrafters' "Super-Pro" R-274 Receiver
Comparison of the SP-600 to the R-274(SX-73) in detail, best features of each. VOTE for your favorite Super Pro

 

-  Rebuilding Communications Equipment  ~  Full Length Articles with Photos -

Rebuilding the R-390A Receiver
Detailed Restoration Information for each module with Lots of Photos

Rebuilding the Hammarlund SP-600
Detailed Restoration Information with Lots of Photos

Rebuilding the ART-13 Transmitter
Detailed Restoration info - includes details on building AC power supplies (with schematics) Lots of Photos

Rebuilding the BC-348 Receiver
Detailed Information on all BC-348 Types, Dynamotor Retrofit Information, AC Power Supply Enhancement - Lots of Photos

     Rebuilding the Collins 51J Series Receivers
Detailed Restoration Information with Lots of Photos - Includes R-388 Receiver
Successfully Operating the BC-375 on the Ham Bands Today
Detailed Information on Power Set-ups that Work, Dynamic Neutralization, BC-191 Info & More 
Rebuilding and Operating the AN/GRC-19
T-195 XMTR & R-392 RCVR
 
Detailed Information with Lots of Photos
Building an Authentic 1937 Ham Station
Utah Radio Products - UAT-1 Transmitter

 

- WHRM Radio Photo Galleries with Text -

Entertainment Radios from 1922 to 1950

Roaring 20s Radios
1922 to 1929

Vintage Table Radios
1930 to 1950

Floor Model Radios (Consoles)
1929 to 1939

Only Zenith Radios
1930 to 1940

Communications Equipment from 1909 to 1959 - Commercial, Military & Amateur

 Early Ham & Commercial Wireless Gear
1909 to 1927

Classic Pre-WWII Ham Gear
1928 to 1941

WWII Communications Equipment
 U.S. Navy & U.S. Army Signal Corps  1941 to 1945

Commercial & Military
Communications Gear
1932-1941 & 1946-1959

Post-WWII Ham Gear
1946 to 1959

Vintage Broadcast Equipment, RTTY, Telegraph Keys & Vintage Test Equipment

Vintage Microphones
 & Vintage Broadcast Gear
1930 to 1950s

Radio Teletype - RTTY - with Real Machines
includes TTY Machines, Military TUs and Amateur TUs

Telegraph Keys - 1900 to 1955
"From Straight Keys to Bugs"
Hand Keys and Semi-Automatic Telegraph Keys

Vintage Test Equipment
COMING SOON!    - 1900 to 1959

Includes Tube Testers, Freq Meters, Wobulators and More

 

 Radio Boulevard
Western Historic Radio Museum

 Vintage Radio Communication Equipment Rebuilding & Restoration Articles,

 Vintage Radio History and WHRM Radio Photo Galleries

1909 - 1959

 

 

This website created and maintained by: Henry Rogers - Radio Boulevard, Western Historic Radio Museum 1997/2014