The Silvertone model 6110, better known as
the "rocket", is a particularly striking example
of 1930's machine-age design. Introduced by
Sears in 1938, it was claimed to be "designed
for modern people living in a modern world". It
appeared in their 1938 catalog with an initial
selling price of $12.95. It was widely advertised
in the media and could be purchased in Sears'
stores for just a few dollars more than through
their catalog. It continued to be marketed until
late 1939, by which time Sears was claiming
that it was a "sensational best seller".
In spite of this claim, the set is rare today,
possibly because of its highly fragile housing.
As a result the purchase price in today's
collectibles marketplace has "rocketed" to
more than one hundred times what it could be
bought for when new!
The cabinet design was by Clarence Karstadt
(US design patent D113004). It was available
in black bakelite (as here), "mottled walnut"
brown bakelite and ivory plaskon. Although the
"rocket" was initially offered for sale in 1938
without mention of the World's Fair, by 1939 it
was billed by Sears as being "designed to reflect
the architectural splendor of 1939's great World's
Silvertone Model 6110 "Rocket" Table Radio (1938)
Silvertone Rocket ...Zooming to new heights in beauty, performance and value.
...it's the talk of the radio world.
More for your money with Silvertone.
The chassis is a 5-tube TRF design tuning stand-
ard broadcast band from 545-1720kc. Tubes used
are 6K7 (RF 1), 6K7 (RF 2), 6J7 (detector),
25A6G (AF output) and 1V (rectifier). The schem-
atic can be found here, courtesy of NostalgiaAir.
The set is tuned using the large drum situated at
one end (see photo above). The on/off/volume
control is just beneath this and can be seen in the
photo third from bottom right. Six mechanical push-
buttons serve to tune six favorite stations "in a
flash", as Silvertone expressed it.
Some of the early adverts for the Rocket show it
as having a tuning drum with the word "Silvertone"
running counter clockwise. However, all the models
that I've seen have clockwise wording (as in the
photo above), so it appears the early ad- ertising
was incorrect. Note that some of the photos disp-
layed here were taken with the tuning drum mis-
aligned with respect to the white marker on the
body of the rocket.