Masthead

Masthead

Majestic logoAccording to Radio Manufacturers of the 1920s Volume 2, Majestic was the tradename for the Grigsby-Grunow company, which operated from approximately 1927 to 1934—another victim of the Depression. A few years later the trade-name was purchased and used by another, unrelated company, before it disappeared again a decade later. In both cases, it was a high-end, quality brand, and primarily sold as floor cabinet models.

Majestic Model 71 cabinetThis Model 71 is from the first company. According to a list of "standard radio receiver models" appearing in Radio magazine, March 1929, this was the least expensive of Majestic's three models, priced at $138 (the others are the Model 72, $168; and the Model 81, $265. The 81 wasn't a better radio, it's a radio/phono combination).

A picture of it (albiet not a good one in my pdf copy) appears in Radio Broadcast magazine, March 1929, p. 332. They call the cabinet design post-colonial.

There's some confusion over the model number. The cabinet label says it's a 71. The chassis doesn't have a label (not that I've yet found); but the battery eliminator says it's for a 70-B. So I assume they had different model names for chassis and cabinet, and could pair them up in certain combinations. I'm not well-enough versed in Majestic lore to know what else the 70-B might have been installed into.

Model 71 cabinet - rearThe cabinet is rough, but complete and the wood isn't too far gone. I think some sanding and refinishing will bring it back to life. There are only a few chips and gouches. The knobs are gone but the escutcheon remains. It'll need a new grill cloth and the speaker either reconed or, if I'm lucky, patched. The wood filigree over the speaker is intact—a lot of times these are broken out. So all-in-all, this is a great restoration project for someone like me who doesn't have great skills.

I have the chassis out but have not gone any further with it. Three tubes are exposed but everything else is sheilded, including the bottom of the chassis. I'll provide more photos when I open it up.

As always, you can click on any photo to see a larger version.

Majestic 70-B Chassis - side Majestic 70-B Chassis - front

This model came out around 1928, when battery elminators were becoming very popular. The Grigsby-Grunow-Hind company had actually begun as a maker of battery eliminators: an accessory that plugged into the wall or lamp socket, rectified the AC into DC and split the voltages to run a radio receiver that had been engineered to run on batteries. Battery elminators had a heyday in the late 20s and early 30s, but everyone knew it was going to be a short-lived product line; the manufacturers were introducing new radios that ran directly off AC power. So Grigsby-Grunow bought a dying company with an RCA license and began making radios.

This model is a hybrid—a chassis that was designed to run on batteries with a separate battery elminator hard-wired into it. As with the chassis, I haven't opened this one up yet; I'll provide more photos when I do.

Majestic battery eliminator label Majestic Battery Elminator - profile Majestic battery eliminator - top

Nostalgaair has the schematics, which come from the Rider's Perpetual Troubleshooter's manual, Volumes 1 and 2. Another schematic with the receiver and power supply directly joined is printed in Radio Broadcast magazine, March 1929, p. 327.

The receiver set uses the new (at that time) AC-compatible tubes. It's got the standard 3-stage RF amplifier using type 26 triodes; the detector is an indirectly-heated type 27, probably to reduce hum, then another 26 that drives a pair of 71 triodes which act as a push-pull for the speaker.

The power supply is pretty simple. The transformer has two primaries. One primary has four secondaries that split the voltages to provide the filament power to the tube set on the receiver. The second transformer runs through our old friend the 80 rectifier, through an pi network for filtering, and then splits to provide B+ to the receiver and power to the speaker field.

Also from Radio magazine (April 1929), there was an article called "What Radio Set Should I Buy?" The article suggests getting one that runs of AC power (unless you must use batteries), and has a dynamic speaker built-in (many radios at this time still needed separate, plug-in speakers). Right after that, it says:

This fact was demonstrated last year by the phenomenal sales of Majestic sets. To Majestic is due most of the credit for killing the old bugaboo of a summer slump in radio. Majestic is also responsible for the decreased sales of custom-built sets, for this was the first factory-built set to incorporate the advanced ideas that were formerly obtainable only from the professional set builder.

I thought that was interesting.

I found two PDFs online of service manuals for this unit; both are direct links from AntiqueRadios.com

- this is from the Radio & Television Institute

- this is from the Nationa Radio Institute

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

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.