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Zenith 8-S-154H (8S154H) Console Radio with Rare Maple
Finish (1937)
Zenith 8-S-154H (1937)
Zenith introduced the 8-S-154 (8S154) console radio in June
of 1936 as part of their 42 model line-up for 1937. It had an
introductory list price in Eastern states of $89.95 (in walnut).
One big talking point at the time of its introduction was the
"Squared Circle" edition of the Big Black Dial and its "tell tale"
controls. The innovations incorporated into the 1937 line, in
words borrowed from Zenith's advertising, include:-

  • Acoustic Adapter - the only device now made that  
  • adjusts for perfect performance in any sized room
  • Split-Second Relocator - only means yet devised to
  • relocate short wave foreign and domestic stations
  • Big Black Improved Dial - with the "squared circle"
  • and "tell tale" controls. Zenith's most imitated feature again
  • Lightning Station Finder - twirl the control and the
  • pointer speeds to the station. No more slow, laborious
  • knob twisting.
  • Voice-Music-High-Fidelity Control - voice control
  • adjusts for natural speaking voice...High Fidelity for startling
    realism. Three additional important adjustments.

Certain of the 1937 models were offered from the factory
with a choice of ebony, bone white or maple finish as an
alternative to the standard walnut. The 8-S-154 was one
such model and during the summer of 2007. I was fortunate
enough to acquire the set featured here - sporting the rare
Honey-Maple finish. This was promoted by Zenith as..

a pleasant, cheerful and carefree finish with a glint of
golden sunshine in it. For those who prefer a touch of the

By comparison with the standard
walnut version, it is inter-
esting to note that even the knobs are in a matching maple
color. Furthermore, the two vertical stripes of veneer at
either side of the instrument panel exhibit a quite different
grain orientation to the diagonal pattern found on the stan-
dard version.

Curiously, the model number stamped on the cabinet rear
reads simply 8S154 and not 8S154H, Zenith's official desig-
nation for the Honey-Maple version. This is perhaps the
reason why the collector who sold it to me did not realize
it was maple at the time he bought it, some years earlier. He
had in fact initially thought that the entire cabinet was faded
as a result of sun exposure and only upon embarking upon
a course of restoration did he discover its true nature!

This beautiful radio retains its original finish, grille cloth,
knobs and other appointments and was restored electrically
by its former owner.

Technical Details

The 8-S-154 is an ac-powered, 8-tube superheterodyne
receiver tuning from 538 to 19,250 kcs in three wavebands.
The tube line-up is 6K7/6K7G (RF amp), 6A8/6A8G(mixer/
LO), 6K7/6K7G (IF amp), 6H6/6H6G (2nd detector/AVC),
6F5/6F5G (1st AF), 6F6/6F6G (AF power), 5Y3/5W4
(rectifier) and 6C5/6C5G (shadow meter tube). Like other
Zeniths for the 1937 season, this one was designed to work
with either Octal-based metal or metaglas tubes.
Zenith 8-S-154H Dial Face
"A most unusual design, of great simplicity, yet
containing a wealth of the finest decorative effects of
which the cabinet maker's art is capable"
"8 tubes. Tunes American and foreign stations, police,
amateur, aviation, ships at sea. Auditorium 12-inch
Electro-Dynamic speaker. Voice-Music-High Fidelity
Control, Sensitivity Control, Lightning Station Finder,
Target Tuning, Split-Second Re-locator. Overtone
Amplifier. Acoustic Adapter. 41 inches high"
Rear View
ZENITH ... America's most copied Radio. Again a year ahead.
Sept 24th 1936, Syracuse
Aug 14th 1936, Oakland