Adams-Morgan Paragon RA-10 ca 1920
© Copyright Alexander D. Schapira, 2015 All rights reserved

When a radio that was manufactured in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1920 appeared on an auction site, I inquired of the Montclair Historical Society whether they would be interested in trying to acquire it. A price limit was agreed and I placed the winning bid. I offered to restore it gratis. The pictures below document the restoration.

The Adams-Morgan Company occupied buildings on Alvin Place in Upper Montclair, NJ, during the 1920's. In addition to building radios for early adopters of the newly emerging radio technology, The Adams-Morgan company also manufactured and sold radio parts for other companies and individuals who endeavored to build their own sets.

Pictures before restoration

This is what started it all.
The front panel shows its 95 years of grime and fading. The legend engraving fill has largely disappeared.
A questionable finish flaking off.
But it had a relatively solid back.
And top.
Not too bad inside. Just dirt and a couple of broken solder joints.
They don't build 'em like this anymore.
Termite damage to the bottom.
They didn't eat all the way through.
(The four small circles are recesses for original screw access holes.)
The RA-10 is a tuner. It has no active components (tubes). It has only resonant circuits (coils and capacitors) that select the frequency of the station to be received. It is intended as a front-end to be connected to a DA-2 Detector-Amplifier unit. That's what the terminals on the front panel are for.
This construction technique is called a breadboard. Components are fastened to a wooden board with brackets and screws and wired together with heavy wire.
The wires are soldered to the component terminals and provide electrical connections as well as (some) mechanical stability. Flexible spirals of stranded wire connect to the movable coils so that they can be rotated by the front panel knobs.
The rotary switches that select taps on the coils are integral with the front panel. They cannot be removed from the front panel as a unit without unsoldering each connection and disassembling the switch contacts. To attempt this just to ease the cleaning of the front panel might have done more harm than good.
A small fixed coil is wound on a wooden spool.
The front panel is some kind of early composite material. Not quite Bakelite, not quite hard rubber. Fading and discoloration are evident. For some reason, the center tuning shaft had been cut short.
The knobs are Bakelite, engraved for fiducial marks, but the filler is flaking out. The large dials have fine adjustment knobs below, but their friction wheel O-rings have hardened and cracked.
The cabinet top, back and sides are a unit. The inside of the cabinet was pretty clean.
The front panel of the set attaches to the cabinet box with small wood screws along the top and sides.
The base attaches to the cabinet box with flathead wood screws from below along the sides and back.

Pictures during restoration

Front panel after cleanup and polishing, with newly filled-in engravings and a couple of coats of poly.
Knobs with the old engraving cleaned out.
Knobs with the engraving filled in.
Bottom with wood filler in termite damage.
Bottom after some sanding. (The four small circles are cork plugs covering the original screw access holes.)
Bottom, stained. I was not happy with this.
The left side of the outer box was split.
As was the right side.
There was a crack along the back bottom where a screw entered.
I glued and clamped the sides.
And the back.
I refinished the bottom over the termite damage. A little better, now.
I cleaned up the brass brackets on the breadboard (even though they will not be seen) and replaced four rubber feet on the bottom.
The refinished back and top.

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Page last modified 10/24/2015