Grigsby-Grunow introduced their 7-tube Majestic Model 174
"smart-set" tombstone radio in late-1933/early-1934. It embodies
an innovative 'tune-o-stat' feature that turns the radio on and off
at chosen times during the day, automatically tuning the radio to
the station carrying a desired broadcast at the programed time.
Other than that, its chassis is run-of-the-mill, being basically the
same as the 6-tube chassis used for several of the other models
in the smart-set line (the 174's 7th tube serves the tune-o-stat).
Priced at $79.50 in the Western USA and slightly less in the
East, the model 174 was pricey for a 1934 7-tube single-band
table set, even factoring in the dubious merits of its tune-o-stat.
For a similar price one could have purchased the company's
Ritz console. By comparison, in Eastern regions Philco's 11-tube
5-band model 16B was $75, Atwater Kent's 7-tube 4-band 447
(introduced a few months later) $72.50 and Zenith's 10-tube
5-band 835 $89.50, to name a few. Moreover, the 174 was one
of the last sets to issue from the Grigsby-Grunow stable before
its doors were closed for the last time following bankruptcy.
Aggregating these factors, it's clear why precious few model 174
radios were sold, making this another of the smart-set line that is
rare and difficult to find today.
The original coloring of the metallic grille, escutcheon and name-
plate on this radio is today sometimes a matter of conjecture. The
grille in particular is not chromed but brushed aluminum, like that
used on many of the other smart-sets. However, my guess is that
the grille and escutcheon never originally had the shiny aluminum
appearance of some restored versions of this set seen today, but
rather were finished in golden hues. Certainly, the escutcheon
and nameplate on my set both clearly show this color (albeit a
little tarnished) and the grille exhibits residuals of this coloring too.
I've seen this same effect on other as-found examples of this and
other models that have turned up from time-to-time also. One fin-
al note, the tune-o-stat escutcheon on the right side sports gold
coloring. Would Grigsby-Grunow not have color coordinated the
metal trim on this model, as they typically did on their other sets?
Majestic (Grigsby-Grunow) 174 Tombstone Radio (1933/1934)
Revolutionary Majestic Radio equipped with Tune-O-Stat...
....Let the radio do the work for you.
|"Just press the buttons after indicating what station and what
time you want the program. You may forget, but the
Tune-O-Stat won't. Will handle ten stations at designated
times during the day"
Grigsby-Grunow's tune-o-stat consists of a selector mechanism
mounted to the side of the cabinet, based on a 12hr synchronous
clock, and a motorized tuning assembly, attached to the tuning
gang at the rear of the chassis. Tuning is accomplished either
manually, using the traditional front-panel tuning knob, or auto-
matically by the tune-o-stat. Selection between the two methods
is by means of the lower center front-panel switch.
The selector panel (right) provides 4 concentric colored bands
used as station alignment markers when setting program "start"
time and duration, one color for each of four stations, plus an
inner band for the "off" position. There are 48 radial slots for
selecting program start time and duration. The clock is 12hr
only, so presumably stations are activated twice per day!
The mechanism is programed by sliding the appropriate needles
(depending on a desired program's start time and duration) out
to the desired station's colored band location. When the clock
reaches the preset time, the radio turns on and the motorized
tuning is activated to tune in and play the desired station. Four
stations are selectable from the side-panel. However, these four
can be chosen from ten presets by patching "flying leads" into
the appropriate receptacles spaced around the semi-circular
motor housing at the rear of the chassis (photo lower near right).
The location of each receptacle is adjustable to facilitate tuning
of the associated station.
The schematic for the model 174 can be found at NostalgiaAir
under Grigsby-Grunow model 570 in Riders Volume 5 (late 1933
through late 1934). Except for the addition of the tune-o-stat, the
circuitry is basically the same as chassis 460, used for models
463, 776, etc. I have not found a likeness of the Majestic model
570 so am not sure whether this sister model to the 174, which
must also have contained a tune-o-stat, actually came into being.
Model 174 is a standard-broadcast receiver having tube line-up:-
G58S (RF amp), G2A7S (mixer/LO), G58S (IF amp), G55S (2nd
detector/AVC/1st AF amp), G2A5 (AF power amp), G55S (tune-
o-stat) and G80 (rectifier). The G prefixing these tube-types
identifies a tube of Grigsby-Grunow origin and the S designates
their spray-shielding. Otherwise the tubes are as for types 58,
2A7, 55, 2A5 and 80.
The 4 station tabs on this tune-o-stat are seen to be KWK, KSD, KMOX and WIL.
These are/were in the St. Louis Missouri area, revealing where this radio once lived.