Masthead

Aetna 502
Aetna Dial Face

My Charlie-Brown-Christmas-Tree radio. Found it sitting forlorn in the back of a Deseret thrift shop. Normally the oldest thing you see in these places is from the mid-1960s, unless it's a Kodak camera.

But as I got a look at it I could see why nobody had already bought it. The glue in the joints of the cabinet was almost gone and it was coming apart no matter how gingerly you handled it. The glass shell on the 76 tube was rotating freely on the base. Something had punched through the grill cloth and the speaker cone. The cabinet laminate was missing or peeling away. It's hard to see from this flat angle, but even the cabinet wood base is buckling in the front.

On the plus side, the dial, the bezel and escucheon all looked good. It had three of four knobs. The chassis hardware (the tuner, IF can, etc.) looked decent. It didn't look like it was burned or submerged in a flood. For the $10 asking price, I figured I could take a chance.

Aetna 502 tombstone radio (poor cabinet)

 

Tube Compliment

6A7 - Converter
6D6 - IF
76 - 2nd Detector
42 - Audio out
80 - Rectifier

Aetna 502 tombstone radio (chassis top)Aetna was the house brand for Walgreen, the drug-store chain. Like all retailers, they bought their radios from another manufacturer. I haven't been able to determine who made this one. Possible suspects (according to posts on Antique Radio Forum) include Belmont, Detrola, and Warwick.

I picked it up while visiting the Old Man so we both looked it over. The tear in the speaker cone was clean so we were able to glue it back down and it seems to hold pretty well. The voice coil is iffy. He gave me his tube tester so we couldn't test them there, but we pulled the chassis and looked underneath. The line cord had been cut (probably just as well). Someone had already replaced one of the 8uF filter caps, but two were floating free. Most of the rest of the components look original. The wiring is brittle and disintegrating. There's a fair layer of crud all over it.

It survived the ride back home, through the cabinet continues to lose another piece very time I touch it. The Old Man had drizzled a little super glue on the envelope of the broken 76 tube on the off-chance that it was just loose, but it failed the shorts test on my Hickok, and the 6A7 converter tested weak. The others tested okay. All except the 80 were Aristocrat brand, which I'd not seen before. The 80 was a Tung-sol and tested strong; I assume it probably replaced the original Aristocrat 80.

Aetna 502 tombstone radio (chassis below)My shopping list so far:

Current status: needs damn near everything.