Zenith 5-A-127 Tomnstone Radio (1937)
Zenith Model 5-A-127 (5A127) Tombstone Radio (1937)
This Zenith model 5-A-127 (5A127) is an export version of the pop-
ular and relatively common 5-S-127 tombstone radio. The export set
offers an extra band, marked D on the dial, covering long wave freq-
uencies, and uses an alternate 5-tube chassis. Other than the dial
markings, the appearance of the two sets when viewed from the front
is the same. The 5-S-127 was introduced in June of 1936 as part of
Zenith's line-up for 1937. Its introductory list price was $39.95. I'm not
sure of the corresponding date and price for the 5-A-127, but they
were likely very similar.

My set has chassis serial number N692098, which according to the
database volume of "
Zenith, the Glory Years 1936-1945" by Cones,
Bryant and Blankinship, corresponds to chassis type 5517 (700
made), as opposed to the slightly less rare 5517A type (2800 made)
normally used for the export versions of radios based on this cabinet.

An interesting feature of my set is its
dial. It is marked in kc and mc,
unlike the #5517A dial which Zenith 5-A-127 documentation refers to
as being marked in meters. Moreover, my set's
dial labels the long-
wave frequencies as mc but displays their numbering as 15-40, corr-
esponding to 150-400kcs! A dial artwork error therefore existed on at
least part of the run of 700 type #5517 chassis!

I posed a
query concerning this model on the Antique Radio Forum
in 2008 and a suggestion made by Martin Blankinship was that it is
perhaps a rare domestic version of the 5-A-127 export model, having
dial markings in kc & mc rather than meters. It was possibly produced
to accommodate North American buyers desiring long wave
coverage, which was not offered on the standard 5-S-127.

Another oddity concerns the A,B,C band markings on the cabinet.
They do not show up in the photograph here but are faintly visible in
person. Even though the 5-A-127 is a four band radio, the cabinet is
marked only with A,B, C - there is no decal for band D. This is appar-
ently correct for this model, as it came from the factory (see
The 5-A-127 (#5517) has tube complement 6A8/6A8G (mixer/LO),
6K7/6K7G (IF), 6Q7/6Q7G (2nd det/AVC/1st AF), 6F6/6F6G (AF)
and 5W4/5Y3G (rectifier). Band coverage is 500-1800kc (Band A,
standard broadcast), 1.8-6mc (Band B, shortwave 1), 5.6-19.5mc
(Band C, shortwave 2), and 150kc-400kc (Band D, longwave). The
ranges were obtained from dial markings and are approximate. Note
however that these coverages are nevertheless slightly different to
those published in Riders for the
5517A chassis.
#5517 chassis, showing phono input, AC voltage taps & oversize power transformer.
Illuminated 5-A-127 dial
Beautiful table model in figured
matched butt walnut. 5 meta-glas
tubes. Tunes American and
foreign stations, aviation, police,
amateur, ships at sea. Big Black
Dial with "Tell-tale Controls".
Copyright TubeRadioLand.com
Aug 2nd '36
Aug 30th 1936, Texas
Oct 13th 1936, Reno
Dec 16th '36,
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