Zenith Model 288 Tombstone Radio (1934)
The large art-deco model 288 tombstone radio was one of
Zenith's first all-wave receivers. It was introduced in the
summer of 1933 at a sales price of $69.95. The model
shown features the 8-tube 2056 chassis, having 5 freque-
ncy bands, a three-gang tuning condenser, an RF stage,
2 IF stages, phono input and a total of 6 control knobs!
The radio is sometimes referred to as the model 288 Cha-
llenger Tombstone, presumably because in 1933 Zenith
had issued the following challenge to both the radio buying
public and to their competitors:-
"We challenge anyone to name a single demonstrable
improvement in radio not found in the 1933 Zenith line;
and we further challenge anyone to name another radio
line which contains all the improvements found in the new
1933 Zenith line"
Cones and Bryant, in their book "Zenith Radio - The Early
Years 1919 - 1935" state that the styling of this and similar
contemporary cabinets by Zenith marked "the first incurs-
ion of modern industrial design into the Zenith line".
The tube line-up is 58 (RF amp), 58 (mixer), 56 (LO), 58
(1st IF), 58 (2nd IF), 2A6 (detector/AVC/1st AF), 59 (pow-
wer amp) & 80 rectifier. Frequency coverage is in 5 bands
from 540-1560kc, 1.45 -3.4mc, 3.2-6.9mc, 6-12.6mc and
1.5-25mc. The 6 knobs perform the functions of, from left
to right, tone control, volume/on/off, tuning (upper center),
sensitivity/phono-jack-switch (lower center), band switch &
short wave antenna trimmer.
Model 288 also allegedly came as a 5-knob set based on
chassis type 2051, included in the Riders catalogs for this
model. The 6-knob 2056 schematic is however NOT inclu-
ded under model 288 in Riders, but appears instead on
Riders page 4.15 without any model # affiliation.
I've never seen a photograph of the 5-knob 288. That
said, all the ads I've come across for the 288 illustrate it
with 5-knobs. For example, the ad lower right is for the 6-
knob set, as it mentions the antenna trimmer knob offered
only on the 2056 chassis, but the photo shows 5 knobs!
My suspicion is that chassis 2051 was earlier* than 2056 &
that Zenith perhaps planned to use it for model 288 & may
even have offered a few sets for sale using it during the
radio low-season. If they switched later in the year, ahead
of peak sales, then this may explain the comparative rarity
of the 5-knob 288 (*see March 1933 date on schematic).
The center ad below, dated Sept 8th 1933 from Kingston
Jamaica, illustrates the beautiful model 476 Modernistic
radio-phonograph alongside the 288! The model 288 has
a robust multi-tapped power transformer so, though Jam-
aica has a 110V 50Hz supply, the set was obviously inten-
ded for domestic and overseas markets.
..a standard and shortwave model with an 8-tube superheterodyne chassis
|"Zenith All-Wave Model 288 is a standard and
shortwave radio with an 8-tube superheterodyne
chassis - a full size dynamic speaker -
automatic-volume-control - waveband selector (5
wavebands) - tone control - sensitivity control -
antenna trimmer that makes shortwave tuning
easier - rotating mask dial - 530-25,000
kilocycles (565 to 12 meters). A handsome table
|"...housed in a European-style modernistic
cabinet of butt walnut with black lacquer trim"
Aug 1933, Radio
Retailing pg 28.
Sep 8th, '33
June 7th, 1934, Ind