Stromberg-Carlson 130-U


Stromberg-Carlson, like a lot of companies, made a huge number of radios and their 1936 catalog makes a great example. They took a couple of chassis, made small changes between them, made a variety of different cabinet styles, then mixed-and-matched them to provide a lot of choices for customers. A listing in Radio Today magazine (Sept 1936) has 16 different radios, a mix of consoles, vertical-tabletops, horizontal tabletops, and radio/phono combinations, and I think the listing is incomplete.

The 130-series chassis appear in five of those, and I now have two of them: this 130-U and the 130-J. As you can see, the difference is entirely in the cabinets: the -J is horizontal; the -U is vertical.

Stromberg Carlson 130-J Stromberg Carlson 130-U

For technical information and all that, please see the 130-J page, as I'm not going to duplicate it here.

I purchased this because the 130-J's cabinet is rough—it's beyond my skill level and I don't want to use it as an early learning project, and its knobs are in pieces. So it's been sitting in storage while I do nothing about it. I figure that some time I'll find a local guy (this is one reason I belong to a local radio club) who can refurb the cabinet, but I keep finding other things to do and spend money on instead.

Meanwhile, this 130-U became available and I jumped on it. I believe it's the most expensive radio I've purchased so far, but the cabinet is was in good condition, the knobs look good, and the chassis is complete. I was hoping this would assuage my guilt a bit, and remind me to get the other one done before something else happens to it.

Trivia: according to Radio Today magazine, December 1936, p. 21, this model was available in different finishes. "Eleven new colored models have been added to Stromberg's 1937 line. Chassis are same as corresponding models of standard finish. 130-H, 130-U, 130-L and 140-K are models available in colors. Finishes used are antique ivory with ebony trim, custard, ebony or green with chromium trim."

The Cabinet

I finally got around to taking photos. It took a long time because looking at it depressed me too much. Remember the film The Godfather where Don Corleone brings Sonny to the funeral parlor and says, "look how they massacred my boy." That's how I felt.

The photograph at the top of this page is from the seller, prior to shipment.

Photos can be made larger by clicking them.

Cabinet bottom with chassis attachedcabinet frontcabinet front - insidecabinet front with bottom panel test-fitted'

cabinet front with bottom panel and corner test-fitted

The photo on the far right is actually three pieces test-fitted together. This is going to be a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

The chassis, on the other hand, made it through pretty well. It's filthy and there's a chip off the dial glass, but not deep enough to show when it's in the cabinet. I believe I can easily remove the clamps and take the glass off to clean it. Everything else appears to be intact. Also, one of the things I like about this is that S-C bothered to label the IF frequency on the cans. It would be in the service docs, but it's still a nice touch. Stromberg-Carlson made quality radios.

Chassis front with dialchassis rearchassis topchassis bottom

Haven't done any electrical work on it yet. Right now I'm sticking to the cabinet.

More to come.

Current status: this radio is no longer in my collection. This page will be removed in late 2024.