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 in good condition, the knobs look good, and the chassis is complete. I'm hoping this will assuage my guilt a bit, and remind me to get the other one done before something else happens to it.

It arrived — broken. Not just a little broken, but really broken. I keep telling myself I'll take pictures but I haven't gotten the wind to do it yet. Right now it's about half a cabinet that's kind of intact and a pile of pieces. I've got a clock cabinet I'm working on, and when that's done, this is next, because the techniques are going to be similar. Luckily, the clock was only in three pieces and they were all big and easy to refit.

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."

Current status: cabinet severely broken in shipment.