Emerson AU-190 Catalin Tombstone Radio (1938)
This highly collectible 5-tube
mini-tombstone radio from
Emerson has to be one of their
most well-known and sought-after
models. It came in a variety of
colors, some of which are very
rare. This one was originally ivory
colored but over time, through
exposure to Ultra-Violet light, has
turned to the orange/yellow color
seen. The original color could be
restored through polishing but I've
chosen to leave the appearance
as found. This is the most
commonly seen color for this
The dial cover has become
clouded over time, a condition
which could not be improved by
cleaning and polishing it. However,
reproductions are available.
Front controls are volume/on/off,
tuning and tone.
When I tried to remove the chassis
from the case I found it was bound
in place as a result of shrinkage of
the cabinet over time. Inspection
revealed that it was held at two
points (i) the output transformer was
pressed against the top of the case
and (ii) the "curtain burner" line cord
was jammed between the side of the
chassis and case. With some care I
managed to extricate the chassis
without damaging the plastic case.
One winding on the oscillator coil
was open and had to be rewound,
but other than a basic re-cap this
radio was soon operational, even
using the original line cord. The
cord contains a third conductor
used as a resistive voltage dropper
to supply the tube filaments. The
cord heats up in use and has come
to be known as a "curtain burner"
as a result of the numerous fires
that resulted from its use over the
The tube line-up for this radio is
6A7 (LO/mixer), 6D6 (IF), 6Q7
(detector/agc/1st af), 25L6G
(output) and 25Z5 (rectifier).
Frequency coverage is from
540-1580kc (standard broadcast)
and 1.58-4.2mc (old police band).
Waveband selection is by means
of the rear switch.
Emerson Radio & Phonograph Corporation, 111 Eighth Ave., New York City