Masthead

Magnavox Speaker Table

Majestic logoMagnavox speaker tableMagnavox began life in 1910 as a maker of telephone speakers, though that didn't pan out well. Things picked up in the 1920s when they began making speakers for radio sets. After awhile they began making the radios themselves, though that didn't go so well. As Alan Douglas notes in his book Radio Manufacturers of the 1920s, Magnavox had an on-again off-again relationship with radio set manufacture.

But speakers were their bread and butter regardless of how things were for other segments of the market.

This is a speaker table with a Maganvox speaker installed. I don't know whether Magnavox purchased the table and sold it under their name, or if another company bought the table, bought the speaker, and married the two on their own. There are no surviving manufacturer's marks or labels other than the one on the speaker. I just go with what I know.

Speaker tables had a heyday in the mid- to late-20s, when most radio sets were tabletop models that ran off batteries and didn't have enough power to drive a speaker (you used headphones instead). So you could buy this, plunk your radio on top of it, hook it up and now you had a radio with a powered speaker (which ran off house current). By the late 20s you could start getting console radios with built-in speakers where everything ran off household AC, but it wouldn't be until well into the 30s before affordable tabletop radios had their own speakers.

Magnavox speaker table (inside)This is my first old Magnavox anything. I like the brand—growing up we had a nice Magnavox color TV and I believe we had could of nice radios, but those were 1960s vintage. And I'm old enough to remember when Magnavox was early in the video game revolution. There was a Magnavox dealer at the local shopping mall and they demonstrated TV Tennis (aka Pong) on their sets. It was amazing.

I bought this and overpaid because it's the first one I've seen (thought I haven't killed myself looking). I've got a couple of big TRFs that would benefit from this table, and one of them is going to go on it (I haven't decided which yet). When I got home I realized it was in rougher shape than when I was looking at it in a parking lot, but I may be able to at least keep it from getting worse.

I also haven't hooked it up or tested it yet.

Current status: needs cabinet refinish/restoration; needs electro-mechanical evaluation.