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some buttons and knobs were originally made of a substance that looks like Bakelite but doesn’t last the test of time. Instead it crumbles and turns to dust and goo. it might appear green in places. I think it’s Tenite

Is this one of such radios? if so then you may never find good buttons and knobs but you may be able to cast repros using the best button you have and a soft mold making material and then epoxy with a brown tint to replicate the Tenite.

– or if they are Bakelite you are lucky because that will last the test of time.
sometimes people look for knobs that don’t exist because all the ones from that particular model turned green and rotted you’d have a hard time finding any that did not so in that case a replica might be the best option.

what about the knobs? did they stand up or are they non original perhaps?
I have a few Marconi radios that did not display issues with knobs turning to dust. maybe it would be good if we could compile a list of radios that do have this issue. I think i have a deforest ( similar to a deforest crosley) that has non original knobs because of it and I think Ive seen good tenite knobs from a console that was closed up where they were protected . I think it was a Setchell Carlson. both of those would be in the ’36 to 1940 sort of era. I thik Ive got a RCA with a big fancy electric tuner where the escutcheon material is shrinking but intact and I have heard this piece is often found damaged due to similar issues. I’ve seen other little table sets with rotten knobs, maybe rogers. I’e got some knobs that I’m sure are from marconi sets because they used a certain shape in the bakelite but I’m unsure what model they are from.

there is another funny issue that happens to some plastic knobs, they get a whiteish coating. It might be a mold or something but Ive seen some plastic knobs with this white “disease” usually they are a soft plastic. – but thats a different issue.

I don’t know if this particular radio has issues with the knobs breaking down . I just know there are some radios that do so I thought it worth mentioning.

I think its nice to do it this way and offer the price for a part. John seems to be offering a reasonable amount. sometimes people look for parts for others and go to a lot of trouble to assist and then the one needing the special part figures 10 bucks is fair. Its nice to help each other but in reality some may not want to give up several hours for $10 while at the same time others are just more than happy to help someone complete a project in the spirit of the common good. Its nice when people do but the guy that has the parts may not exactly feel that way. for that money someone might choose to make his a parts donor or go a little further out of his way to provide what John asks for. That seems reasonable to me.

on some radios the knobs are such a specific shape that it becomes important to have the right ones. I had a small RCA table radio with tiny catalin knobs and nothing else looked right. Other knobs such as the ones on the bottom of this set are pretty generic looking so if they are incorrect that can go unnoticed but with a lot of the push buttons they are specific. You might find you can swap buttons on some radios but most will be specific. I might have some buttons but these are hard to match up especially without really good pics of all sides with dimensions. usually there is some sort of flat tab of metal that the knob clips to but the size and shape and orientation of this metal piece may vary, as well as the angle and how deep the knob pushes etc. Maybe it’s possible to cast duplicates or to cut a piece of plastic into the square shape and simply heat a piece of metal and stab it in to the knob to get it to fit. with knobs they are most often the 1/4 D shaft when the shaft size is different like with some of the colored plastic radios it’s difficult to find others.. for example knobs for an admiral radio may have an A on them. the knob can be re drilled more easily that the square metal piece fitting a square hole in the push buttons there may be metal clips involved as well. . I think you can get the red philco ones online and some others I.m sure but push buttons are harder to match up. sometimes the knobs match perfectly but even still there can be color differences from age or maybe differences in their manufacturer, like being made in a different run or differences in storage may cause color differences.

I don’t know if the Tenite issue was present in the 1920’s radios. I think Tenite was used about the time of this set as I see the “waterfall” case and that might date 1936 to 1940 or so? maybe they stopped using this kind of plastic on most of the post war sets. Its definitely only seen in some radios and not others of the same era. Could it relate to deficiencies of certain materials in war time? maybe it was just an early plastic that was later outdated.

again I am quite uncertain this particular radio has been affected by this tenite material it just seemed that it could possibly be the case.
if you do need to recreate them another material you might look at trying is the plastic molding materials like “FEMO” you can handle them like plasticene so you can make push molds or form the stuff with your fingers and then you harden it in the oven. I got some in dark brown thinking I’d try to make knobs but didn’t experiment as much as I thought I would.
hopefully a donor set surfaces.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by phil.
  • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by phil.
  • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by phil.
  • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by phil.