technology

Radio Gaga

Montgomery Ward radio
Montgomery Ward radio

We’ll talk about radios in future blogs, too, but this entry will concentrate on those with wooden bodies. When it comes to style, wooden radios certainly fall into that “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” category. Wooden radios, especially of the Art Deco period, were beautiful and elegant objects whether they were table radios or floor radios. Like typewriters and cameras, wooden radios were very common for several decades—taking off after World War I and remaining popular until the early 1950s. And as such, most are not worth a ton of money. Even those restored and fully functional are rarely worth more than $500.

That said, a few rare models are worth quite a bit of money. The Zenith Stratosphere is seen by some to be the holy grail of console radios. Only about 350 were made and they went for a whopping $750 when they were manufactured in the mid-1930s. Keep in mind the average home price was $3,450 at that time. A Stratosphere today in good shape could go for upward of $5,000. But that’s certainly the exception rather than the rule for this beautiful vintage form of communication.