Emerson Model 520 Catalin Table Radio (1946)
I believe the Emerson model 520 was a Raymond Loewy design that was the last
catalin radio produced by the company. In spite of sometimes being called the Edsel
of catalin radios, the 520 is today one of the more common catalins and as a result
can be purchased by collectors for a reasonable price. The unit photographed is in
brown catalin with orange marbling. There are rarer variants made of marbled black
catalin as well as others having grilles with round slots and alternate dial designs. The
original list priceback in 1946 when the set was introduced was $37.85.
The receiver is a typical All-American-Five (AA5) design covering the broadcast band
from 540-1620kc and having tube line-up: 12SA7 (mixer/LO), 12SK7 (IF amp), 12SQ7
(2nd det/AGC/1st AF), 50L6GT (power amp), 35Z5GT (rectifier). The numbering on
the Riders schematic diagram at Nostalgia Air shows a full complement of GT type
tubes, though the tube listing beneath the schematic contradicts this and calls out
12SA7, 12SK7 and 12SQ7 for the first three (i.e. metal types). This matches my
model as well as most others I have seen the chassis for, though in practice either
type will work just fine.
The radio features a moulded back as shown below. More often than not, this back
shows cracks and breakage around the screw holes as a result of the stress induced
by the shrinkage of the catalin casing over time. Mine is unfortunately no exception.
I found this radio at an early morning outdoor flea-market over the summer of 2004. It
caught my eye because in the bright morning sunshine the radio appeared as a
highly spectacular fiery blaze of orange, white and brown.
...a modern classic in plastic..with miracle tone.