Sparton (Sparks-Withington) Model 509 or 608-V
Polo-Club Tube Radio in Ivory Plaskon (1937/1938)
Sparton Polo Club oblique view
Sparton Polo Club oblique view
Sparton Polo Club rear View
Polo Club Front View
Close-up of Sparton Polo Club Embossing
Tone as clear as the bells of a Carillon
Smallest Sparton models built with the same care and precision as the largest console.
Built for tomorrow as well as today.
Character - every Sparton model has character - ready to respond to every demand at any
time, under all conditions.
Sparton Polo Club Top view
Sparton Polo Original Packing Carton
What appears to be the original
carton for my Canadian Polo Club
can be seen to the right. The seller
informed me that the radio turned up
at a flea market, packed in this  box
and found beneath a table.
The Sparton "Polo Club", introduced in
June of 1937, was Sparks-Withington's
entry level radio for the 1938 model year.
It was also their smallest. It heralded their
use of plastic as a principal cabinet mat-
erial and was offered in a choice of brown
or black bakelite (models 608-W or -K) or
ivory, red or green plaskon (608-V, -R or
-G). The -W initially listed for $24.95. It
appears it was offered for sale through at
least the end of 1938, by which time it
was being heavily discounted.

The set was available in the US as series
608 and in Canada as series 509. The
608's chassis was also offered in a small
wooden cabinet, known in the US simply
as model 608. The sets are rare today, a
state of affairs exacerbated for the plastic
models, no doubt, by their extreme fragil-
ity. Very few of the surviving examples
are perfect, the filamentous grille bars in
particular often being damaged.

The radio ostensibly derives its
polo club
name from the polo action scene emboss-
ed upon its upper surface (click the thum-
bnail below). Sparton advertising used
this name right from the outset. However,
the beautifully streamlined appearance of
the radio proclaims "machine age" in a
manner which at first seems incongruous
to its officially designated sporting theme.

In fact, the origin of the radio's theme
poses somewhat of an enigma, for surely
the subject must have been invoked to
commemorate some associated special
event or notable occasion? Otherwise,
why would a company interested in maxi-
mizing its sales not have adopted a more
populist theme for their radio, based upon
one of the more mainstream American

One personal conjecture is that the theme
derives simply from the resemblance of
the radio to the head of a horse, amongst
the most streamlined and graceful of
creatures. Perhaps because of this some-
one at Sparks-Withington decided to att-
ribute to it an equestrian theme. For sure,
company president Captain W. Sparks,
one of the company's founders, together
with his son Clifford, at the time a director,
both shared strong military and sporting

I purchased this radio, complete with orig-
inal box, in late 2010 from a seller in
Quebec. Other than some minor fractures
around the perimeter of the dial (typical of
plaskon), the case is perfect. Rather than
risking having such a rare and delicate
radio shipped, a family member and I
drove up from the Boston area to collect
it. The winter weather, with heavy precip-
itation on and off in the forecast, skirted
between snow and rain, but we fortunat-
ely seemed to just miss the worst of the
snow and the trip was uneventful.

The US model 608 is a 6-tube super-het-
erodyne receiver covering the standard
broadcast band. The tube complement is
6A8G (mixer/LO), 6K7G (IF amp), 6Q7G
(2nd det/AVC/1st-audio), 25L6G (Power
Amp), 25Z6G (rectifier) and BK498 (ball-
ast tube). The schematic for model 608
may be found
here. My set, originating
in Canada, is probably actually a model
509, evident from the markings on what
by all appearances is its original ship-
ping carton. There is no model number
on the radio itself, though there is a
sticker on the base showing it to have a
serial number commencing with 509.
Radio Retailing, June 1937, pg. 32