Thread Number: 78954  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
1959 Zenith HiFi stereo
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Post# 1029192   4/7/2019 at 09:29 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

got this the other day-main console has phono ,AM/FM radio,12"woofer,5"mid,3.5 tweeter.Two satellite speakers containing a 6x9 and a tweeter provide the stereo effect-"Radial sound"emblem on these.All tube with separate amp chassis.Powers up,but no sound-circuit to internal speakers not completed until the(missing) 4-conductor speaker cables are plugged in-will see how it goes once that situation corrected :)Stereo is in very nice condition,so likely will go into regular use once in operation-some wax paper capacitors were noticed,so probably will replace those for best sound and stability :) Piccies could appear if anyone interested.

Post# 1029211 , Reply# 1   4/7/2019 at 12:53 by RP2813 (West Coast)        

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Yes!  Pix please!

Post# 1029218 , Reply# 2   4/7/2019 at 13:45 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

Ok, will try to get some tonight.Date codes I have found in it range around 5910-5920.Only the turntable is stereo-I don't think there was FM stereo broadcasting until ~mid 1960s? Found this at salvation army-satellite speakers were separated from the console and I bought those on sight,then a few min. later found the console marked "not working -project ?"priced at $4.99-same as the speaker pair and this was on half off day, so ~$5.00 total-stupidly good deal! Hopefully i'll have Buddy Holly hicupping out "Peggy Sue" through it soon :)

Post# 1029219 , Reply# 3   4/7/2019 at 14:05 by RP2813 (West Coast)        

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I had a 1940's (post war) Magnavox radio/phono console that included an FM band.  I imagine there wasn't much to listen to on it back then, and it certainly wasn't stereophonic.  All the thing did was hum and I never pursued repair, so finally got rid of it.

Post# 1029229 , Reply# 4   4/7/2019 at 18:46 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Does it have that cool cobra tone arm with the two little eyes?

Post# 1029233 , Reply# 5   4/7/2019 at 20:40 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
yes,eyes are there !

hadn't noticed that until you mentioned it -too cool!

Post# 1029235 , Reply# 6   4/7/2019 at 20:59 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

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Post# 1029242 , Reply# 7   4/7/2019 at 22:11 by RP2813 (West Coast)        

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Nice for the price!


Those look like decent sized speakers too.   Such a simple chassis.   It shouldn't take much to revive it.

Post# 1029244 , Reply# 8   4/7/2019 at 23:24 by TheSpiritOf76 (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and OZ All Together. )        
I would deffeintly say 1958, or 1959.

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Yes, that arm was called the Cobramatic. Introduced in 1946 (at that time their changers were 78 only), it was equipped with a special radionic cartridge. Unlike any of the crystal cartridges of the time, it was routed with its own tube, and some how used radio waves. It was gave a very light touch, and supposedly stopped noise, and other interference. The next generation Cobramatic had two tone arms, for the invention of the 33 L.P. Then there was the last two which are the most common that still used the radionic cartridge. These both were not only multi speed, but were also variable speed too, and could be set in between set speeds.

The changer unit in your set was actually made by VM, The Voice Of Music, and was the last changer to use the cobra arm. Also, by this point in time, the arm just held a magnetic cartridge. The radionic Cobramaitic cartridge was no longer in use. It was only a few short years that Zenith rplaced the Cobramatic with the new, and improved Micro-Touch 2G, that only tracked at 2 grams! Un heard of at the time!

I am also posting a kinda timeline on the Cobramatic for you. Congrats on your new set! Hope you have lots of fun bonding with her, and giving her the restoration she deserves!

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Post# 1029245 , Reply# 9   4/8/2019 at 01:05 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The Zenith radio-phono I have, which my parents purchased new in 1947, had a turntable made by Webster Electric of Chicago. The tonearm was not the Cobramatic design. It had a black Bakelite enclosure for the needle and cartridge, and a gold color tube enclosing the wires. I took this turntable out, and installed the one out of our old record player so I could play other speed records. The old TT sat on the basement shelves for several years, but my dad eventually threw it out.

Post# 1029303 , Reply# 10   4/8/2019 at 18:18 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
missing pic.

A "money shot"showing the turntable and controls had been taken,but missed including it,so will fill that in later when some close up chassis pics are taken.The little amp is rated at "distortionless 10 watts"The amp in my(mono) '54 Zenith HiFi is much beefier,but that one uses a sealed speaker enclosure.

Post# 1029315 , Reply# 11   4/8/2019 at 21:07 by dartman (Portland Oregon)        
1953 Zenith TV

Had a 53? Zenith 23" TV with a AM radio and a slide out cobra Matic turntable given to me when I was a kid. It was ancient even then and picture tube was so weak it was hard to see in the light and very fuzzy, plus the picture was cut off on the bottom and right side but it still worked. The radio worked great and so did the phono and it sounded ok. We watched a lot of late night horror flicks, and listened to the radio a lot. I didn't use the phono much but pretty sure it had 78 and 45 speeds and the snake head arm with eyes like some of the pictures. I kept it a year or so then found a 14" 1959 Zenith portable TV in the dumpster beside our apartment and it worked and still had a bright sharp picture and I used it for years till I saved up enough to buy a used color console Zenith in 74. It was the first color set in the family and I picked berries all summer for it.

Post# 1029379 , Reply# 12   4/9/2019 at 18:32 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
Picking berries for a tv :)

good thing that was a used color console-I recon a new 1974 Zenith console would cost you a couple years of berry picking!It would be a very good TV though-my grandpa was very proud of his Zenith console from around that era.I have several Zenith TVs from 1959-1990,TV in the background of the HiFi pics is a 1982 Zenith-just super TV-great color,sharp pic and rock solid reliability-I have a 1990 console in storage,but a disappointment with that one is "chassis"is just a cheap little PC board in a little plastic frame...

Post# 1029401 , Reply# 13   4/9/2019 at 22:03 by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        
Reply #6

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What a nice catch - especially with the two satellite speakers. I have a Zenith speaker with three controls on the side. It's a floor model, standing nearly as tall as your main unit and nearly as big. One day I might find what it was "married" to.

Also, I love the image posted by TheSpiritof76, thank you.

Best wishes on the restore and enjoy using it.

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Post# 1029410 , Reply# 14   4/9/2019 at 22:51 by dartman (Portland Oregon)        
Picking berries for TV

I picked berries every summer from 6th grade through high school and got pretty fast at it towards the end. We usually made 5 or 6 a day and at the end I could make 20 25 a day. I paid 115 bucks for that Zenith because it was damaged in the cabinet and they took it in trade on a new set. The nice used sets were going for 150 to 200 in 74 when I got it. It was a 69 Chroma color set and I later started rebuilding and selling TVs back when you could still get 150 for a nice set. I don't mind working for whatever I want and berry picking here was a great way to get my own money for things I wanted as a kid without needing a car or help from anyone else as they picked us up in rented school busses every morning and took us home at 1pm.

Post# 1029847 , Reply# 15   4/14/2019 at 12:02 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
'69 Chromacolor-

-that one would be welcome in my living room :)-presuming that was still mostly/all tube? I have a large Sears tv-1975-that is mostly tube still,but I think that sears is one of the last tubies.Newest Zenith console stereo I have seen was from 1984-by this time the best part of the stereo was the standard BSR turntable,the radio chassis and speakers were made in Taiwan...Zenith at least as recent as 1978 were still decent generally.

Post# 1029905 , Reply# 16   4/15/2019 at 00:03 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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My dad always seemed to prefer Zenith. our TV's in the 50's were all Zenith, as well as a monaural portable that could play 33 rpm hifi recordings. It sat at one end of the living room and the big speaker in front gave a great bass response if listened to from the other end of the room. I think it was circa about 1958. All our radios were Zenith, including a small white transistor pocket radio. It was lost years ago, but I found an exact replacement (albeit not working) at an antique show, so I still have another radio just like it. I recall at some point, maybe it was in the 70's, that Zenith was sold off and the new products didn't seem to have the quality of the old American made ones.

Post# 1029911 , Reply# 17   4/15/2019 at 01:28 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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>I recall at some point, maybe it was in the 70's, that Zenith was sold off and the new products didn't seem to have the quality of the old American made ones.

It was sold in the 1990s to LG. I can remember reading the newspaper articles at the time. Sad ending of an era for US electronics companies--by that point, all their American competitors were out of business, or had been sold off. Although I suspect the Zenith quality at that time wasn't what it had been.

Post# 1029946 , Reply# 18   4/15/2019 at 13:23 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
it works,but...

...sound is a little grainy and distorted,especially at low volume,and no sound at all from the phono-a cold,dark tube was found on the chassis,so that likely the cause of no phono sound.Time to get the two chassis out for repair :)

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