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Little Boy Blue: 1941

Little Boy Blue: 1941

August 1941. "Son of Mr. Nichols, defense worker from Cass City, Michigan, now living in a trailer at Edgewater Park near Ypsilanti. Mr. Nichols works in the Ford bomber plant." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Beetle GE General Electric H 500

The Classic Radio Gallery informs us about the plastics used in radio cabinet construction. The GE H 500 radio, also known as the GE "Turbine", has a housing of Beetle plastic, a trade name used by the American Cyanide Cyanamide Co.

["American Cyanide"? Um, no. - Dave]

[Um, I see: do not quote without checking the quote itself, thnx Dave - Alex

That upper radio

Thanks Wiscojim for identifying the radios. You can see a see a nice picture of the GE H-500 here: . As for the Montgomery Ward Airline, that is quite interesting. The Airline was a very long-lived brand - and was quite diverse, as you can see here:

Looking at the dial, the one here seems to be the closest match for the 62-196,

which was a rather handsome tombstone three-band unit before it was dissected.

Two radios doesn't make it stereo.

They built an old Montgomery Ward Airline brand AM & shortwave band radio into the space above, but have a newer General Electric H-500 model AM-only radio on the counter.

Questionable design

What's with the cabinet above the radio and fan? To the left: an instrument that's hard to read with 4 knobs that are hard to reach. To the right: an awkward place to store receipts.

Don't touch that dial!

The interesting thing here is that there is what appears to be another radio (or some other electronic equipment) directly above the while marble radio in the center. I cannot read the make or model for either the upper or lower device. Perhaps someone with expertise in radios of this era can identify them. The upper one looks to have several bands.

It's placed so high that the morose young man certainly cannot touch it, but it's also above what I expect would be the parents' comfortable reach as well. Also intriguing are the paper cards marked "RECEIVED" that are blocking the speaker grille. Does the radio still work?

What is that top dial?

I see the bottom table top radio but what is that top dial about?

The thing above the valance

Many RVs from the 60s on have built-in entertainment systems, but I've never seen a pre-war unit with one. If that's what it is, then the small bakelite radio below is like what I remember from many basements in the 70s: a small TV, set atop a larger wood cabinet TV that had stopped working.

Sit this way

The reason the boy is sad is likely from the task of having to follow the directions of the photographer and his mother. He probably hated the whole ordeal and just couldn’t wait to get back outside and play where there were no adults. Poor lad.

The Shadow knows

that all you need for mystery and suspense is a small breeze and a warm radio.

Below decks

The very best in the design of yacht interiors. Oh, it’s a trailer? Whatever. And such beautiful grain in the plywood. And a cute (albeit sad) kid.

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