Thread Number: 47324
Battle Creek Garage Sale - Fisher Console 1964
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Post# 687368   7/4/2013 at 20:54 (3,887 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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I'd like to be closer to check it out; would be nice if there more photos of the unit.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO ovrphil's LINK on Battlecreek Craigslist

Post# 687370 , Reply# 1   7/4/2013 at 21:06 (3,887 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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You don't see a lot of French Provincial any more. The fact that this is Fisher (back when that really meant something) is icing on the cake.

Someone's gonna be very happy with this.

P.S.: Unless I miss my guess, that puppy is solid cherry, with some cherry veneer used in the larger panels. Bill Gates can't buy this kind of quality and workmanship any more.

Post# 687375 , Reply# 2   7/4/2013 at 21:14 (3,887 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
That Is One Serious Piece of Furniture

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Hands up if you remember when French Provincial was *big*! *LOL*

Post# 687391 , Reply# 3   7/5/2013 at 00:09 (3,886 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Really nice Fisher Hi-fi console-not enough "money shots" would like to see the amp and tuner.Good that it has a Garrard TT.May need a new stylus and or cartridge,though.

Post# 687449 , Reply# 4   7/5/2013 at 11:52 (3,886 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
ditto all above comments and ...

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I hope it was someone who appreciated it and didn't (godforbid)rip out the amp and speakers to sell on eBay.

Post# 687520 , Reply# 5   7/5/2013 at 20:15 (3,886 days old) by Travis ()        

I bet it was gutted. I have a 1969 Fisher console that I have been trying to sell on Craigslist. All I get are emails asking if it's got a tube amp.

Post# 687527 , Reply# 6   7/5/2013 at 21:23 (3,886 days old) by hippiedoll ( arizona )        
travis: 1969 fisher console listed on craigslist...

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hi travis!!!

do you have any pictures of this fisher console?? does everything work on it? and how much are you trying to sell it for?

i'll be waiting to hear back from you soon.

hippiedoll :o)

Post# 687529 , Reply# 7   7/5/2013 at 21:34 (3,886 days old) by Travis ()        

Hi Christina,

I will send some pictures to your email later. It needs all typical tune up work needed for something of this age. I am asking $60


Post# 687535 , Reply# 8   7/5/2013 at 22:01 (3,885 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Here's a Reference....

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....On the gorgeous French Provincial unit shown in the photo at the top of this thread.

It's a 1964 Fisher Futura V console (Model F-59), in fruitwood (read: cherry), which originally sold for $845, equal to $6172 today. Here's an ad shot on the site:

The Futura V was not remotely the top-of-the-line; that honor was reserved for the lordly President IX 9000 model, priced (and pricey!) at $2695, or $19685 in today's puny currency. This one (pictured below) came with an ultrasonic remote, and a cabinet that was quite a lot more authentic French Provincial than the Futura V.

There was a time when it was actually worth it to be rich! If you want to see more, mosey on over to .

P.S.: Oddly, Fisher doesn't seem to have offered any of the classier permutations of American period furniture, like Chippendale - they stuck to Modern, French Provincial and Italian Provincial. Anyone living in a Colonial mansion was SOL, evidently.

Post# 687536 , Reply# 9   7/5/2013 at 22:09 (3,885 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Lots of Italian-American friends one knew growing up had those big ole FP stereo/Hi-Fi systems in the living room.

Besides Frank Sinatra this is what you'd often hear:


Post# 687537 , Reply# 10   7/5/2013 at 22:14 (3,885 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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I've got a some here...  I would love to have a Fisher one of these days, but not today!  No room!

Post# 687540 , Reply# 11   7/5/2013 at 22:28 (3,885 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
No Room at Present, But....

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One of those President IX 9000 consoles would be quite an addition to my holdings!

I'd settle for a Magnavox console, if I could find one from the years before they began using plastic for carved areas - a nasty habit Magnavox adopted far too early for my liking.

This post was last edited 07/05/2013 at 22:50
Post# 687548 , Reply# 12   7/5/2013 at 23:06 (3,885 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
Just posted in Vintage Finds Online

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Travis - that's a deal!

Danemodsandy - thanks for the link and info Sandy and others: I just posted a slew of links to Craigslist for appliances at Ultramatic's thread - Vintage Finds Online in Shoppers Square, so check it out -

1) Imperial Magnavox(sweet!)
2) Concert Grand Magnavox(yes, big)

here's the links, in case you have trouble for some reason...

Post# 687549 , Reply# 13   7/5/2013 at 23:08 (3,885 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Our Parents Had One Of Those Behmoths

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Not sure of the brand and aside from having to dust/polish the thing we children even into our teenage years were not allowed anywhere near. If Father came home and the thing was warm so was someone's hinnie.

Post# 687550 , Reply# 14   7/5/2013 at 23:12 (3,885 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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Launderess - that was a huge expense back then - your dad must have been proud and happy to enjoy that Magnavox Concert Grand. Wonder who got it and if it's still around? :-)

Post# 687555 , Reply# 15   7/5/2013 at 23:32 (3,885 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
Now If You Wanna Get FANCY....

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....You can't do any better than the 1948 RCA Berkshire Breakfront, with solid mahogany cabinetry by Baker.

The Berkshire Breakfront incorporated a projection TV, an AM-FM radio and a record player, all for the low, low price of $4300 - which equates to $40,456 today. That's right - Forty. Thousand. Dollars.

In case you can't spot the TV in the picture below, it's behind the drawer fronts, which were dummies. The TV screen rose up from behind the drawer fronts, occupying space behind the glass doors, which were opened for viewing; the TV itself remained down below, with its image projected onto a large screen by means of a lens and mirror system, hence the term "projection" TV. This was a common means of getting a larger screen size in the early days of TV. The radio and record player were in the cabinets on either side of the drawer unit.

These are the dream of many a collector, but it takes big bucks to buy one, big bucks to restore one and big, big bucks to have a house worthy of this impeccably-crafted bit of Truman-era luxe. These things make the costliest Magnavoxes and Fishers look like the kind of furniture mobile home manufacturers used to give away with trailers.

Post# 687559 , Reply# 16   7/6/2013 at 00:00 (3,885 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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That's beautiful woodworking and a level of high technology I didn't know existed in 1948. Thanks for sharing.

Post# 687562 , Reply# 17   7/6/2013 at 01:08 (3,885 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Neat how this conversation about the Fisher stereo turned into others--RCA and Magnavox-you figure in the times these were introduced-was "High End" Hi Fi like the quarter mil Amp,speakers and $150,000TT's sold today.
The RCA unit used the projection method becuase of the size of CRT-picture tubes then.To get the large picture-they had to be projection type sets-RCA pioneered this method-RPTV's sold before flat screen sets became popular were basically the same design as what was in that RCA Berkshire Hi-Fi TV unit.Truely a magnificent peice-becuase of its size and weight few would survive.Bet a lot of those were broken up in the 50's and 60's for disposal.The projection CRT in that machine would be impossible to find today.RCA even made front projection CRT projectors for cinema use.The idea of the "filmless" projector wasn't new.
Hi-Fi use--in our households-my Stepdad and Mom used to let me play their Magnavox Concert Grand system all of the time I visited them.
At Dads house-the story was different---We werent allowed to even TOUCH his system-it was a component system--Dyncao amps(Strange--helpted him put them together)Stephens speakers in homebuilt cabinets,and a Musicmaster single play TT with a Shure cartridge.The set sounded beautiful!Yet us kids weren't allowed to play it..However-there were a few times we played "DJ" when he and StepMom went out-We played out records-and my brother played his 8 track player thru the system.We were caught one time when he felt the top of the Dynaco amp and it was still hot-tubes.My StepMom would question Dad about the use of the Hi-fi She would mention that I used equipment in shop class that could cut my hands or arms off-yet couldn't use the stereo.And same with my brothers.That is still a mystery till this day--I operate Quarter and Half million watt SW transmitters worth a few million dollars each--But can I play the hi-fi?By now we all have Hi-fis of our own.I will never know--but I have my own-its not an RCA Berkshire,or a Maganavox,nor a Clearaudio-but sounds good to me just the same.
Oh yes in one of the Hi-Fi magazines I get they review interconnect cables that cost $25,000 per pair and speaker cables costing $50,000 per pair---Guess if you can afford to buy those--you can use them!

Post# 687579 , Reply# 18   7/6/2013 at 08:43 (3,885 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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A concert grand is my dream machine! One day!

Post# 687590 , Reply# 19   7/6/2013 at 10:39 (3,885 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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The Berkshire Breakfront was based on a breakfront design that Baker had already been producing for some years. Some dimensions were changed to accommodate the RCA equipment housed inside. Baker does not make this breakfront any more; collectors value surviving ones highly.

If anyone doesn't know Baker Furniture (a.k.a. Baker, Knapp & Tubbs), they are probably the highest-end furniture maker left in America. Baker pieces are all over the White House, where they give the correct period "look," while being sturdy enough for everyday use, which is not the case with some of the priceless antiques in the Executive Mansion.

1948 wasn't exactly the dark ages - you could already have air-conditioning (central or window units), a dishwasher, an automatic washer and dryer, television, FM radio, tape recording, and a mobile phone in your car - if you were very rich and lucky enough to get one of the few assigned bandwidth slots in your city. All these things were expensive luxuries, not everyday reality, but they were out there. RCA and CBS were already prototyping color television (with RCA's NTSC system, introduced in '54, winning FCC approval as the nation's color standard), and microwave ovens were already in use by the Armed Forces and in restaurants; civilian household versions would debut by 1954. Auto air conditioning was actually available, but only as aftermarket equipment in '48; Packard had not re-introduced its prewar factory air after hostilities ceased. In 1953, factory auto air was brought back, this time for good. By 1954, the only present-day consumer luxuries not available in some form were the personal computer, Internet service, GPS, cell phones, jet airplane travel, stereophonic music equipment and home video recording equipment.

BTW, Rex: The usual fate of a malfunctioning Berkshire Breakfront was not getting broken up - it was getting gutted, so that it could be used as an actual breakfront. You were still talking an oh-my-God expensive piece of handcrafted furniture in mahogany and satinwood, from the most recognized name in fine reproduction furniture. Gutted examples turn up from time to time - it's complete ones that are so scarce.

This post was last edited 07/06/2013 at 12:19
Post# 687597 , Reply# 20   7/6/2013 at 11:38 (3,885 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
And Just For Grits 'n Giggles....

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A 1948 Frigidaire window air conditioner. It wasn't pretty, but it was available, and as you can see, a giant Frigidaire logo hovered outside your house to let everyone know you were living large:

Post# 687633 , Reply# 21   7/6/2013 at 16:04 (3,885 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
RCA/Berkshire Breakfront

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Post# 687708 , Reply# 22   7/6/2013 at 23:23 (3,884 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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Thanks for that link, Launderess. It's a stunning piece, all around. I wonder if someone in this wide world of expanding billionaires, has one of these and actually enjoys using it now? I would love to see and hear one working. (dream on, I know).

Sandy, those are good links for the Fisher - I came upon those earlier after joining My lowly P-294(chassis 125) Fisher isn't listed. Alot of console styles...I'll pass on. But ,for some reason, there are some Fisher and Magnavox French Provincial models that are actually good looking...or I'm getting old and old is looking fresh, again? lol.

Post# 687716 , Reply# 23   7/7/2013 at 01:46 (3,884 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Fully Loaded

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Those behemoths weighed in at 850lbs!

Given today's often smaller homes one has to wonder how many have room for such things?


Post# 687717 , Reply# 24   7/7/2013 at 01:53 (3,884 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Quite honestly cannot remember if it was a Magnavox or whatever. Wasn't allowed to get that close and really had no interest. Each of us children soon had portable record players then each went out and got our own "systems" from either saved up pocket money and or from various odd jobs, so that was that.

Know the thing was still there when one left for college, but a few years after I graduated house was sold so don't know where that huge piece of furniture ended up.

Post# 687748 , Reply# 25   7/7/2013 at 05:21 (3,884 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
That Behemoth.....

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....Was, as has been pointed out, extremely heavy, but there was a secret, one I know because my dad worked for RCA.

The Berkshire Breakfront broke down for shipping; there was a bulletin on how to assemble it in situ. I never saw the procedure take place (by the time I came along, all Berkshire Breakfronts were several years old), but I should think at least two moving men and a service tech would have been needed.

Yessir, in those days, you got a little service for your money!

Speaking of service, in the early '50s, when the Berkshire series was no longer made, RCA was still serving the customers who had purchased the units with a new attachment - a 45-rpm changer. The 45 was RCA's answer to CBS's 33-1/3 rpm LP record. The changer for the Berkshire Breakfront was styled to resemble a mahogany tea caddy, and its case was made (by whom I do not know) to the same standards as the rest of the unit. A photo is below. This unit was intended to sit on one of the shelves behind the glass doors of the bookcase.

What company today would go back and produce an attachment for something it made four or five years ago - no matter how expensive the original item was?

None, that's who.

This post was last edited 07/07/2013 at 06:03
Post# 687831 , Reply# 26   7/7/2013 at 14:42 (3,884 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
Will (classiccaprice)...

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Get yourself a good Craigslist search engine and just keep looking for that elusive Concert Grand. The trick is finding one in good shape that the owner doesn't want an arm and a leg for. I looked for about 3 years and stumbled on one in Oregon for $40.00 even after I told the lady it was worth more, especially since it looked like it just came out of the box. It cost me $300 to ship but was worth it. You're still a young kid and have plenty of time to hunt.

2 Concert Grands, the more common 40 vacuum tube model like I have and the last solid state model from the 1970's (courtesy of my friend Michael)

Post# 687891 , Reply# 27   7/7/2013 at 23:46 (3,883 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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Will / Joe (Twintubdexter): right, and they're out there, but timing is so critical. These get snatched up quickly.

You really caught a great one, Joe - only $40? (sigh)

I found a Magnavox Concert Grand, but I'd be surprised if it was still available. Link is here:

I'm with Will, but less time on my side. :-)

Post# 687892 , Reply# 28   7/7/2013 at 23:46 (3,883 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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Will / Joe (Twintubdexter): right, and they're out there, but timing is so critical. These get snatched up quickly.

You really caught a great one, Joe - only $40? (sigh)

I found a Magnavox Concert Grand, but I'd be surprised if it was still available. Link is here:

I'm with Will, but less time on my side. :-)

Post# 688092 , Reply# 29   7/8/2013 at 20:25 (3,883 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        
One of these days...

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That said, I have a really nice micromatic. I'll have to post some pictures soon. :)

Post# 688159 , Reply# 30   7/9/2013 at 06:29 (3,882 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Good to hear that non working RCA Berkshires weren't broken up--just "repurposed"Hope the components found "other" homes.The chrome chassis of the equipment-not the usual RCA components.Guess they are still surviving Berkshires around-and liked the RCA idea of making an add on 45RPM TT in the wood chest.And it was neat that the Berkshire systems came as peices-to be assembled on the customers site.I have had transmitters come that way-you assemble the tubes,vacuum caps,and large transformers into the cabinets.Tubes and vac caps are shipped in their orig manufactuers boxes.I am wondering if the Berkshires were broken down that far for shipping and delivory-the components that go inside that nice cabinet were shipped in seperate boxes to be installed in the cabinets.Would make sense and assure safe delivory.Then a delivory team brings the unit to the customers house ands sets it up.Would be nice to find one of those-would be glad to make room for it.And did RCA make provisions to convert the Berkshire to stereo?Another way to assure they would survive.Would hate to see a beautiful Hi-Fi like that succumb to obselencence becuase it couldn't be converted to stereo-and bet the Berkshire cabinets were used to hold other components if it couldn't be converted thru RCA.

Post# 688222 , Reply# 31   7/9/2013 at 13:32 (3,882 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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You have to understand, the Berkshire Breakfront predated hi-fi, let alone stereo. It came new with a 78 rpm changer, an AM-FM radio and the projection TV. Large CRTs, remote controls, LP records, 45 rpm records, hi-fi and stereo were all in the future - some in a nearer future than others, it is true.

What RCA was selling was the finest quality it could supply at the time, plus that magnificent cabinetry.

As with most console entertainment centers, updates would not have been possible without major alterations; the mounting and surrounds for each component would have had to be replaced along with the equipment. Considering that those pieces were solid Honduras mahogany of a grade acceptable to the Baker Furniture people, the material and woodworking expense that would have been needed for upgrades would have been considerable.

If I understand correctly, most components in a Berkshire Breakfront were already mounted when the unit was delivered. The exception was the TV unit, which had moving components to make its screen rise up out of the bottom unit into the top unit. The bottom and top sections were delivered as separate pieces, then joined together, then the TV unit's moving components could go into place. I'm told that the last step in delivery was the careful polishing-away of every last finger mark.

As awesomely beautiful as Berkshire Breakfronts were, and as wonderfully as they represented the state-of-the-art in 1948, they were, frankly, a bad investment. The state-of-the-art advanced so rapidly in the early '50s that these gorgeous units were technologically obsolete within four years, when large-size CRTs became practical, and dinosaurs by the time they were six years old, when color TV and hi-fi were introduced.

Post# 688390 , Reply# 32   7/10/2013 at 06:21 (3,881 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Thats too bad the RCA Berkshires only had a 78RPM TT and an older TV set.The 45RPM player might give better fidelety-but don't count on it.Its iffy with 45's-often they were injection molded rather than pressed as LP's were.The 45 RPM can give excellent fidelity if properly pressed and made.Most were made for "AM" broadcast airplay and jukeboxes in their prime years.I was thinking that when stereo and HI-Fi came about the Berkshire cabinet could be used and "repurposed" to hold later components after the RCA ones were removed.Sounds like an expensive unit for just a AM-FM tuner,TV,and 78RPM TT.As was said most of the cost went into the beautiful cabinet-made of real wood rather than particleboard,plastic or cheap plywood.-and that hideous vinyl "wood" laminate.So today the Berkshire cabinet would esp be valueable among fine furniture fans.In 1948 or so the mono 33rpm LP records were just starting to be introduced.Beleive it was from both RCA and CBS.Maybe RCA should have made a 33/78RPM TT to replace the 78 RPM one.That would make Berkshire owners feel a little better.I am wondering what kind of speakers the Berkshires had.

Post# 688465 , Reply# 33   7/10/2013 at 13:41 (3,881 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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Right you are about the quality of 45's when you compare early ones with the cheaper "new" versions. At one time I had 3 or 4 of those little RCA 45 changers. The older records were no problem but newer or cheap re-pressings were a problem. Sometimes the hole had to be sandpapered in order for it to fit over the spindle. In addition, those little changers used the record thickness to accurately drop each disc. Some newer 45's wouldn't drop at all. The sound quality wasn't that great either, even when played on a quality component stereo turntable.

Is anyone old enough (like me, sigh) to remember those 12" LP-sized 45 rpm records from the disco era? Those things sounded just great!

Post# 688598 , Reply# 34   7/11/2013 at 00:35 (3,880 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        
Disco 45

Yes,remember those and have a couple somewhere in my records.Got'em from the radio station I used to work for-and "Audiophile" record companies were experimenting with the 12" 45's because they claimed the quality was better than 33.Haven't tried them-the 45 RPM audiophile records are now very rare.
I have a portable 45RPM RCA record player that has the 45 changer in it-found at a yard sale-just haven't played around with it-would be good for those 45's I got from various radio stations.The station records are not too bad.Many 45's made for them have the same song on both sides of the record-one side stereo for FM,other mono for AM.Course with most station equipment -didn't matter.Broadcast equipment dealers stopped providing mono station equipment even back in the early 70's.Mixer consoles used by stations by that time had a stereo line out for the FM,and mono for AM.And of course mono pads were common-convert stereo to mono for the AM.
Oh yes,disco "DJ's" of the 70's era liked the 45 RPM records.Just easier for them and longer playing time than the 7" 45 "donut" records.And home changer users could use them on their changers WITHOUT the 45 adaptor!

Post# 688707 , Reply# 35   7/11/2013 at 09:58 (3,880 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
those wonderful Berkshires

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didn't exactly pre-date Hi-Fi... Avery Fisher had begun turning out his early products around 1938, James B. Lansing formerly of Western Electric All Technical Services (later Altec/JBL) introduced his Iconic speaker, later known as the Voice of the Theater, around 1940, Paul Klipsch was producing his earliest Klipschorns in a glorified shed in Arkansas around 1946, HH Scott was producing his earliest amplifiers by '48, and Brook in NY (Paul Klipsch's favorite, and used in his dealer and show demos) introduced their wonderful model 10 and 12 2A3 and 300b based Triode amplifiers around 1947... and there are other examples. These units could be considered some of the earliest true High Fidelity products. As beautiful, rare and expensive as the RCA was, it would not compete soundwise with a true HiFi component system that was possible to assemble by 1948/9, particularly in speaker technology vis a vis Altec, Klipsch etc. Frank McIntosh with his first 50w2 2 chassis amp was in Silver Spring MD in 1949, moved to Binghamton NY in 1952, and Saul Marantz in NY introduced his Model 2. The HiFi race was on.

We had Fisher Futura and President systems around 12-15 yrs ago when they were easier to find, subsuquently broken up, unfortunately, as we were space-challenged not console-enlightened, at the time.

Post# 688762 , Reply# 36   7/11/2013 at 14:49 (3,880 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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You obviously have a depth of knowledge about early Hi-Fi that I don't have. I knew there was an "early adopter" movement in the '40s, but as a layperson, I think of Hi-Fi as really beginning around '54 or '55, when high fidelity began being marketed to the mainstream consumer.

I really appreciate all this info - is there a Website somewhere with more info?

P.S.: You coulda gone all day without telling me you scrapped a Fisher console! ;-)

Post# 688899 , Reply# 37   7/12/2013 at 08:28 (3,879 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
Early adopters

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of HiFi back then were generally engineers and that sort, kind of of analogous to computer nerds of the '70s and their early Altairs, and similar to the types who have to buy the latest smart phones every 6 months these days...

We do have a little knowledge of eary audio, as former Writer/Editor of a tube audio magazine for a number of years, it's really our main thing, but do have appreciation for all older and better made cars, appliances, etc. and still have a small vintage audio collection, the residual of a room full of the stuff we used to have, but now hugely downsized to a very few pieces really and truly loved (and used!)

Feel guilty to this day about scrapping those consoles, probably 10 or more over period 10 to 25 years ago, but least their guts have gone on to new homes and continue to make music... not many folks then, or now, have the room to collect consoles, many of which we got for free, and when trying to sell them intact we rarely had interest at any price, a true shame. One of the sets of our console innards went to Bob Carver, a great guy, and the guts of our President went to Al Pugliese "The Fisher Doc" in NYC, a friend of Avery Fisher and probably the world's leading authority on Fisher. A very good home indeed.

RCA made some excellent commercial/theater/movie type audio products from the '30s to '50s, but not much great stuff for strictly domestic use, however of all the home console radio/Hi-Fi we've ever seen (and we've seen more than a few going back to TOL McMurdo Silvers, Zenith Stratospheres, E.H. Scotts and the like of the '30s), the RCA Berkshire takes the cake for sheer magnificence, never seen cabinetry of that quality on any audio product... c'est formidable!

Post# 688904 , Reply# 38   7/12/2013 at 09:13 (3,879 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
vintage HiFi websites:

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Sandy one good one for delving into audio history and James B. Lansing and Altec Lansing's contributions in particular is:

I have some print articles from our former magazine (Vacuum Tube Valley) that give the best overview of the History of High Fidelity that I've ever seen, written by Scott Frankland, a major audio industry player. Be happy to send them to you, if you'd like to read them I can't PM here but you can contact me via eMail, Robert(Unimatic) has it, I'd prefer not to post it in public forum for obvious reasons!

Post# 688953 , Reply# 39   7/12/2013 at 13:26 (3,879 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
third time on ebay, no takers

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This interesting vintage RCA @$200 in Chicago just won't sell. I've seen a couple of "distressed" ones sell on CList for more.

Post# 688955 , Reply# 40   7/12/2013 at 13:36 (3,879 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
and this rare Clairtone...

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...just sold on ebay for $8,100.00! What would someone do to damage those speaker spheres like that?

Post# 688959 , Reply# 41   7/12/2013 at 14:02 (3,879 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
just tossing this in here...

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Newly listed on ebay, this Wurlitzer 950, or what there is left of it, already has a bid of $9,500.00! Maybe they meant $9.50.

This post was last edited 07/12/2013 at 14:59
Post# 689139 , Reply# 42   7/13/2013 at 09:03 (3,878 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
RCA console with the top mounted speakers...

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had 2 of these, paid 100 and 35 for them. The electronics are good, decent 6BQ5 PP amp section, but sound is only so-so due to the 3 way speakers which had smallish magnets and all mounted in one large unsealed cabinet with no baffles, so it was neither acoustic suspension or ported, kind of like a '40s console radio. Most of the $ was in the cabinet.

Post# 689179 , Reply# 43   7/13/2013 at 17:55 (3,878 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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Those RCA "highboy" consoles were a major lust of mine when they were new. They were expensive, though. My dad worked for RCA, and when I mentioned that I thought we should get one (hey, I was 10 - I thought we should get everything), he quickly let me know that those were for rich people.

Post# 690010 , Reply# 44   7/17/2013 at 09:40 (3,874 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
Love the look of those RCA highboys

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aka known as the 3VF61 "Mark Series" and they came in 3 versions: French Provincial/Traditional, Early American and Danish Modern. We had the first 2 of those, and still have the 6 speakers and their mounting board from one suspended from the ceiling over the electronics test bench with leads hanging down to use in checking out amps and receivers brought up on the Gen Rad Variac. As a unit it was somewhat lacking in sound quality as mentioned but fine for the 95% out there who were mainly casual listeners. Still have the factory paperwork for anyone that needs a copy. They were pricey units in their day and would consider one for the den if we could find one with the cabinet close to mint condition, which was not the case with the 2 we had, which were not really restorable, hence their demise as complete console units. The guts, however, do live on.

Post# 690011 , Reply# 45   7/17/2013 at 09:48 (3,874 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
BTW that vertical element

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on the right side of the control panel next to the knobs of that RCA is the "Tuning Eye" aka EM-84 tube, which, for the youngun's too recently born to have been there back then, had a aqua colored band with a dark area in the middle that narrowed in when the station was tuned in to it's stongest point of reception by the RF detector. One of the fun and funky features long gone by in the world of electronics.

Post# 690096 , Reply# 46   7/17/2013 at 17:59 (3,874 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
yet another tall Victor console...

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...$450 on the LA Craigslist.

Post# 690097 , Reply# 47   7/17/2013 at 18:15 (3,874 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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I like that cabinet!

Post# 690101 , Reply# 48   7/17/2013 at 18:56 (3,874 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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That's the exact RCA Mark I lusted after all those years ago. Compared to anything we had or our neighbors or family had, that thing was straight out of The Jetsons.

By the way, note that this stereo console, with a four-speed changer and FM Multiplex available, came only fourteen years after the technologically much more primitive Berkshire Breakfront.

The future used to get here in a hurry. Don't know what happened.

Post# 690221 , Reply# 49   7/18/2013 at 10:01 (3,873 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
RCA highboy in LA

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yep that't the Danish Modern version, there was also one on CL in Ohio not long ago, the prettiest of the 3 versions imho. We also still have the changer from one of ours on a shelf in the basement, works fine. BTW the preamp/amp section is excellent and can sound great when teamed up with better speakers that could be installed inside in place of the factory jobs.

Post# 690236 , Reply# 50   7/18/2013 at 11:11 (3,873 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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Firedome:, did you add better speakers? I saw that CL version in Ohio and thought it was unusual. I always wonder if the amps or pre-amps are modded today, as a standard course of improvement. I think there's always room to improve these old consoles.

Are the speaker compartments lined with anything to damper reflections or ? other audio distortion or were they just bare wood?


Post# 690272 , Reply# 51   7/18/2013 at 14:25 (3,873 days old) by 112561 (River Park, in Port St. Lucie, Florida)        
Fisher console

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A friend of mines father had a 1960 Fisher console with a slide out Garrard and something like a Fisher Coronet receiver over it. I would love one of those, it was delightful. I have a Fisher 500 receiver from 1957, in monaural, paired with a Stromberg-Carlson Labyrinth corner speaker. Also one Fisher tube stereo receiver. Correct me if I'm wrong, but many Fisher consoles had less than adequate speakers. That was tossed around on one of the other collector sites.

Here's what's sitting in my living room, my Christmas 2010 present. It was the most expensive set in the standard line. Magnavox made the Imperial, in solid wood cabinets constructed by Hammond organ to Magnavox specs. They had their TOL receiver, a reel to reel stereo recorder, and a four pole Micromatic changer. They made my set look and sound sad. :( Those higher end units are sought after by collectors now.

Post# 690299 , Reply# 52   7/18/2013 at 16:59 (3,873 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
My eyes aren't that sharp...

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...but this looks like Fisher to me. $100 in Long Beach/on CL. I never cared for that bunched fabric for speaker cloth. It always reminds me of drapes in a funeral parlor.

Post# 690348 , Reply# 53   7/18/2013 at 22:06 (3,872 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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112561 (Alan): nice gift..unusual, never saw (model #??) one like that before..does it have a reel-to-reel?'s not self-evident.

We were talking about the Imperial in another thread, as one was spotted on Craigslist. Like so many other TOL stereo consoles, they're being parted out and sold on

Post# 690393 , Reply# 54   7/19/2013 at 06:40 (3,872 days old) by 112561 (River Park, in Port St. Lucie, Florida)        

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Yes, the French Provincial armoire was my Christmas gift to me! :P My set has jacks for tape, but tape wasn't included in my model. The Imperial armoire is a different animal, with a premium receiver, reel to reel deck, and four pole Micromatic, in a solid wood construction cabinet made by Hammond Organ to Magnavox specs. Makes the color tv stereo theatres look sad. Here's a link to an album with pics of the "Ramona" Imperial Armoire. I can't for the life of me cut and paste pics on my Google Chrome like I used to.


Post# 690695 , Reply# 55   7/20/2013 at 10:14 (3,871 days old) by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

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It definitely is a fine looking piece. I can see why you gifted yourself with it!
Gotta weigh a ton. :-)

Post# 691850 , Reply# 56   7/25/2013 at 09:00 (3,866 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        

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I never subbed better speakers in the RCA Mark console, though I did a test listen with some ADS speakers I had that would have fit in the cabinet, and it sounded great. In fact I'm saving those small ADS jobs for just that purpose should the right console come along. The 6BQ5 (EL-84) output tube is one of the sweetest, the open frame trannies are fairly decent sized (one shorthand way to judge quality of an amplifier) and the RCA's amp/preamp/tuner section is quite decent overall imho. Due to significant damage the cabinet wasn't good enough to pass the "spouse filter", however, so it went away and the electronics were spared.

112561/Alan: you're correct, the Fisher consoles rarely had speakers that lived up to the excellence of the electronics, even the President we had had less than top notch drivers and crossovers, Jensen derived iirc, as the bean counters dictated cost savings there, and in general the really serious listeners didn't buy consoles but instead sought out components that they could tailor to their own specific tastes and idea of good sound so while you didn't get the pretty cabinet you got more flexibility in placement, and the same money went to where it really counted.

The RCA Mark had all it's speakers in one untuned, unbaffeled and unlined compartment, making for a less than thrilling sound, but it was more than adequate for the bulk of casual listeners who mostly used them for enjoying Liberace, Johhny Mathis or Mantovani (all of whom I love, btw) while dining.

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