Out Latest Videos

Zenith Radio Restoration

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Big River Hardware recently restored this Zenith 6S27 Antique Radio

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Zenith 12S265 Restoration

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Big River Hardware recently restored this Zenith 12S265.

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Check out Gary Sander's video about the Science of the Zenith Wave Magnet

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Big River Hardware has been working with Gary Sanders to re-create this rare blue reproduction box used to cover the Zenith WaveMagnet.

 

History of the Wave Magnet Antenna Boxes

BEFORE THE ZENITH WAVEMAGNET WAS INVENTED IN 1940, ALL CONSOLE RADIOS REQUIRED A LONG-WIRE ANTENNA AND AN EARTH GROUND CONNECTION, WHICH LIMITED THE PLACEMENT OF THE RADIO IN THE HOME. THE WAVEMAGNET ELIMINATED THESE REQUIREMENTS, MAKING THE RADIOS "PLUG AND PLAY".


THE FIRST MODEL WAS CREATED WITHIN AN UNFINISHED SMOOTH MASONITE BOX WITH PLAIN BLACK CARDBOARD SURROUNDING THE EDGE OF THE BOX. IN THE SHOWROOMS THE SALESMEN WOULD SHOW THE CUSTOMER THE REAR VIEW OF THE CONSOLE, WHICH SHOWED A VIEW OF THE CHASSIS, THE SPEAKER, AND THE WAVEMAGNET. THE WAVEMAGNET WAS UGLY! SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THE BOX WAS COVERED WITH MUSLIN WITH A SIMPLE PAPER LABEL - A SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT.


THEN, IN EARLY 1941, SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING LIKE, "HEY, WE OUGHT TO MAKE THE BOX LOOK MORE DECORATIVE WITH MORE GRAPHICS TO MAKE IT LOOK MORE DISTINCTIVE FROM THE REAR." THEY USED A COMPLETE CARDBOARD BOX FOR THE FIRST TIME; PRINTED TO LOOK LIKE A BLUE TEXTURED FABRIC WITH BRIGHT ORANGE LETTERING.


THIS WAS BETTER, BUT THEN SOMEONE MUST HAVE SUGGESTED THAT THEY MAY AS WELL GO 'OVER-THE-TOP' AND MAKE IT REALLY LOOK COOL AND EXCITING, ESPECIALLY TO THE KIDS WHO SAW THE BACK OF THE CONSOLE WITH THEIR PARENTS. THEY ADDED "FLASH GORDON" STYLE GRAPHICS, AND MADE IT LOOK LIKE A GOLD METAL BOX, WITH FAKE RIVETS AND 4-COLOR SPOT PRINTING. THIS METAL-BOX LOOK ALSO EMPHASIZED THAT IT WAS A "SHIELDED WAVEMAGNET ANTENNA"; THE ELECTRICAL DESIGN OF THE THREE INTERNAL COILS GAVE IMMUNITY FROM EXTERNAL MOTOR NOISE, SUCH AS FROM REFRIGERATORS, VACUUM CLEANERS, DRILLS, MIXERS, NEON SIGNS, ETC.


THIS WAS THE FINAL VERSION MADE IN THE HIGHEST VOLUME, AS WWII BEGAN, AND ALL CONSUMER ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING ENDED, FOR WAR ELECTRONICS PRODUCTION.


THE CHANGES TO THE WAVEMAGNET SHOW A SUCCESSFUL IMPROVEMENT IN DESIGN, THAT BOOSTED THE APPEAL OF THE ZENITH RADIO CONSOLES, COMPARED TO OTHER BRANDS AT THE TIME. OF COURSE, DURING THIS TIME, CONSUMER PACKAGING, IN GENERAL, WAS MAKING CHANGES LIKE THIS TO IMPROVE THE VISUAL APPEAL OF PRODUCTS. ZENITH WAS FOLLOWING THIS TREND. THE WAVEMAGNET WAS PATENTED WHICH GAVE ZENITH AN EDGE.

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See how we create our Custom Shift Knobs

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  Check out our latest Jeep inspired solid Maple shift Knobs being engraved:  

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