Zenith Model 6-S-222 (6S222) "Cube" Table Radio (1937/38)
The 6-S-222 features a bronze colored bezel surrounding the dial. When
cleaning this bezel bear in mind that this bronze colored patina is what was
intended by Zenith. Over enthusiastic polishing will remove this patina, deg-
rading the originality of the set. Beware!
Zenith's 6-tube model 6-S-222 (6S222) compact table
radio was introduced in June of 1937, listed at $39.95.
It followed a trend pursued by several manufacturers
at the time of producing radios housed in cube-like en-
closures, usually, as in this model, with upwards facing
loudspeakers. Another example from this era is my
Sparton 517B. Zenith alone produced several such
models during the relatively short period of this fad.
Cube sets may have seemed novel and interesting in
their day, but overtime they proved prone to dust build-
up in the loudspeaker and grille area, often leading to
deterioration in the grillework, cloth and loudspeaker.
The 6-S-222 is a 3-band radio with 6-tubes (6F6G,
5Y4G, 6F5G, 6K7G, 6A8G, 6H6G) and a 6" upwards
facing loudspeaker. The schematic may be found
here, courtesy of NostalgiaAir.
It is of note that although this is a 6-tube set, it basic-
ally provides the same performance as many 5-tube
receivers of the time. Manufacturers often felt comp-
elled to play a game of "tube wars" by inflating tube
count, pandering to the radio-buying public's general
perception that "the more tubes a radio used the bett-
er". The reality of the matter is that this was often not
the case. In its 2nd-det/AVC/1st-AF stage, Zenith's
6-S-222 uses two tubes, a 6H6G double-diode and a
6F5G triode, doing basically the same job as the sin-
gle 6Q7G tube used in some other sets, such as their
two-band 5-tube 5-S-228. Whereas there might poss-
ibly have been logistical reasons for this strategy,
such as perhaps a shortage of 6Q7G tubes or a need
to use up 6H6G/6F5G inventory, one suspects that
Zenith's true motivation was that it sounded more imp-
ressive in marketing circles referring to a "three-band
6-tube 6-S-222" rather than a "three-band 5-tube 5-S-
222"*, especially when promoting upgrades from the
likes of the "two-band 5-tube 5-S-228". That this same
paradigm was adopted across the entire Zenith line
only goes to reinforce this suspicion.
The most remarkable radio of the year is the new 1938 Zenith...
* Since the first digit in Zenith's model number indicates
the number of tubes, a 5 tube incarnation of the
6-S-222 would have been called a 5-S-xxx. A 5-S-222
late Nov 1937
approx dim 11" (H) * 14' (W) * 91/2" (D)