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Gift Ideas: 1924

Washington circa 1924. "Southern Auto Supply Co." A nice holiday display of A-K radios and B&D power tools. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

Washington circa 1924. "Southern Auto Supply Co." A nice holiday display of A-K radios and B&D power tools. National Photo glass negative. View full size.


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Television sets

In 1954 when our family purchased our first TV set, a Stromberg-Carlson 24-inch console model, Dad bought it at the local International Harvester dealer, Orscheln Brothers, as there were apparently no TV specialty dealers in the small Missouri town where we lived.

Atwater Kent Breadboard Radio

I've bought and sold a few of those Atwater Kent Breadboards.

That's a few thou sitting in that window, and much more if someone matched up the display upon which it sits. The console and table radio, not really that collectible. But that Breadboard is drool time.

Quotation marks for emphasis

What intrigues me is the reflection in the window of a store across the street with "SANITARY" Something-or-other. Sanitary by association? By our standards? By comparison?

[Washington was home to both Sanitary Grocery and Sanitary Lunch. "Sanitary" being a popular appellation for such establishments (barbershops, too) back when people were first becoming germ-aware. To our eyes the punctuation certainly has the look of irony quotes. Which I find kind of amusing. The Reliable Laundry vs. The "Reliable" Laundry. - Dave]

Another "Mystery" Photo

Dave, do you have any idea why this photograph was taken?

[The storefront photos generally seem to have been commissioned by the owners or their landlords, sometimes by their competitors. - Dave]

Fancy digs

Quite a fancy edifice for an auto parts store. Lots of neat stuff there, like a really nice bench grinder (I need one of those), and an ad for Perfect Circle rings (they were bought out by Dana).

Radios were expensive

I used to collect radios a few years ago. Some of the original prices for these things would have put them out of reach for the average consumer. I remember a 1930s Zenith console that retailed for $750 back then. I ended up buying a 1936 RCK K-10 console for only $75. The cabinet was in sad shape but the chassis was good.

This site has some of the old radios and their original sale values. You could probably still find some of the old 1920s TRFs (tuned radio frequency) for a decent price but the cost to replace the old triode tubes would be more than what you paid for the radio set.


The equivalent today for this $58 drill set would be $731.27.

Speaker Horns

I wonder what that state-of-the-art sound system was going for.

Southern Wholesalers

Located at 1519 L street N.W., the company reorganized and changed its name to Southern Wholesalers circa 1927, likely as a response to a growing line or non-automotive inventory including refrigerators and other home appliances. The company was founded by William E. Conner and passed to the control of William E. Conner, Jr., after his father died in 1953. They remained in business at least till the mid 1960s, becoming the primary wholesale distributor for RCA in the Washington area.

Best gift

These warm holiday store windows of yore are a lot of fun, but the best gift we "picture peepers" have had this season is Shorpy. Your site is simply grand!

Expensive Drill!

WOW, $58 for a drill in 1924! What is that in today's dollars?

Really, Dave ....

You call that a "holiday" display?

[Yes I do. Spark plugs as stocking-stuffers. Can you get any more Christmasy than that? - Dave]

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