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High Fidelity: 1941

High Fidelity: 1941

June 1941. "Tuning in radio in trailer at FSA camp. Erie, Pennsylvania." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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High Frequency

My grandparents' AM radio had a dial that went all the way up to 1,700 kilocycles, which was also labeled "Police".

The station

I would guess that she is tuning in what is now WPSE, 1450 in Erie. I can’t find when it first went on the air but all the other stations in the area around that part of the dial did not go on until after the war.

That does not preclude that another station changed frequency.

Interesting dial

What is so interesting about that radio is that the dial goes from 550 kHz up to 1700kHz. The broadcast band was expanded from 1600 kHz to 1700 kHz, but that only took place in 1990. Most radios from that time had dials marked only to 160 (I own one that goes to 154), but it seems that GE did make a few that marked the dial out to 1700 kHz, for example this one.

I wonder why they did that.

[In the ad below the dial goes up to 1900. - Dave]

GE Model L-500

Ad from the Feb. 10, 1941, issue of Life magazine. Click to enlarge.

The Radio

looks very much alike the Canadian General Electric C-47B Radio, be it with a slightly different ruler. But that one was a battery-operated model produced in 1946-1947. Could not find the AC operated model it could be based upon. Maybe some vintage radio lovers around can point out the exact model?

The Shadow Knows

Which AM station she is tuning to in 1941.

All-American Five

The radio is a GE, which you can just make out embossed below the dial if you squint. It appears to be a J-500 or similar, an early example of a true all-American five set.

Looking for XERA

Kinda RCA Victor-looking tabletop model, just right for tuning in to Sister Rose Dawn and her Mayan Order. Just one dollar, cash or stamps, and you will receive our book, The Revelation Secrets of the Mayans of Del Rio, Texas!

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