Zenith Model 811 Art Deco Tombstone Radio (1935)
Zenith 811 (1935 season)
Zenith 811
The Zenith 811 tombstone radio is an ultra rare and unus-
ual model that is a masterpiece of Art deco design. Accord-
ing to Cones, Bryant and Blankinship, in their book "
Radio The Early Years
", the 811 was possibly styled by
Rosenow & Company of Chicago, responsible for the cont-
emporaneous models
809, 829 and 835, or perhaps by
Robert Budlong, who consulted with Zenith on cabinet des-
ign for many years and later on did the iindustrial design
for such sets as the

The 6-tube model 811 was introduced in the second half of
1934 for the 1935 model year, along with Zenith's other
small white dial sets. The original sales price was $54.95,
placing it on a par price wise with the model
809 (6 tubes)
and between models
808 and 829 (6 and 7 tubes respect-
ively) in Zenith's 1935 line-up of table sets.

Why is this set so rare? One can only conjecture. Perhaps
it's because its bold, radical styling left most prospective
purchasers, while admiring the set, feeling that one of Zen-
ith's more traditional models would be better suited to their
home decor. The fact that the 811 uses an ac/dc chassis
may not have helped matters either, especially given that it
directly competed with Zenith's popular 808 model, an ac
set also using 6 tubes that cost $5 less. Combine these
considerations with a dearth of advertising by Zenith, low
production numbers, and a cabinet of somewhat fragile
constitution and perhaps
some of the elusiveness can be

Technical Details

The Zenith 811 is a 6-tube ac/dc superheterodyne that
tunes the standard broadcast and police/amateur/foreign
frequencies in three bands ranging from 537kcs to 18,200
kcs*. The tube line-up is 6D6 (RF amp), 6A7 (mixer/LO),
6D6 (IF amp), 75 (2nd det/AVC/1st AF), 43 (power amp) &
25Z5 (rectifier). The set uses a resistive line cord. The
schematic may be found
here, courtesy of NostalgiaAir.

*Some Zenith ads claimed 18750 kcs (see below), but this
does not agree with the dial markings.
"Zenith 811 - Triple Filtering. Operates on AC
or DC current. Six-tube. Gets American and
Foreign stations, police, amateur and airplane
conversations. Tunes from 535 - 18,750
kilocycles. 18" High"
Zenith 811 chassis view
Zenith 811 rear view
Zenith 811 chassis tag
Note: The escutcheon is mounted top-down on my set - the
wider half should be at the bottom, as on my
Zenith "small white dial" series
Copyright TubeRadioLand.com
Ad, Dec 1934 Oakland CA
Ad, Nov 1934,
North Adams,
Accurate tone pictures of people who make the world's news...