About The Collection: 

A valued Radio Club member, Mr. Wayne Scites, recently donated a collection of twenty radios to the Museum Of Information Explosion for visitors to enjoy. Most of them are Zenith brand and include some floor models and chairside models. The collection also includes four “Farm Radios”, which are a design that require a battery because AC power wasn’t readily available in many rural areas in the early years. The donation includes several other interesting radio artifacts. 

Why These Models Are Valuable:

In the 1920’s, Zenith was known for high-quality radios and electronics, and they introduced the first portable radio in 1924. The collection of Zenith radios MIE is presenting are diverse – including both the Floor and Chairside models. Museum visitors can get a glimpse into how these radios became a crucial part of public communication growth. The decade of the 1920’s began with only five radio stations and quickly grew to 606! 

How The Donation Process Works:

When people want to donate radios or other equipment, the museum staff will first ensure that the artifacts fit the mission of the museum. Additional considerations include any unique technical and social value of the artifact, whether it is rare or extraordinarily expensive, whether other similar exhibit items are already in the collection, and the condition of the unit. The original owner must provide MIE with certification that they are the rightful owner of the artifact, and provide MIE with the right to use the equipment as the organization feels is in the general best interest of the Museum mission. Sometimes, that may mean the unit will be salvaged for specific pieces and parts. In other instances, the entire unit may be fully restored. 

For accepted equipment, the next step is the restoration process. Some artifacts are much easier to clean and restore than others. Often, this may require taking the radio components apart, refinishing the cabinets, and replacing the chords, tubes, etc.  Finally, the radio can be tested to ensure it endured the cleaning and repair process. The new piece is then ready for display so members can get a glimpse of just how unique and fascinating these vintage radios are!

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