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Radio Dials

A unique element in Australian radios.

Most vintage Australian and New Zealand radios have their dials littered with Station Call Signs rather than a scale of kilohertz as is found in most other countries.

This "Stationising" never really took off anywhere outside of Australia and N.Z. although a few rare American ones can be found with stations on their dials.

The popular trend in the U.S.A. was to preset stations that could be tuned to via a row of pushbuttons, similar to older car radios.

I have never seen an Australian radio with pushbuttons. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

 
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ill titleAristone Restoration

Aristone / Elizabeth. Model Unknown

Aristone / ElizabethThis is the first Vintage Radio I ever bought.

"Aristone" was the store brand for Myers stores here in Australia, much like the Airline and Silvertone Department Store brands from the U.S.A.

Found in an Antiques and Collectibles store between Montville and Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, it was already electrically restored when I purchased it but the owner or the store proprietor had displayed it where it caught a lot of direct sunlight resulting in a very degraded dial glass with most of the paint and stations flaking away.

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This is the original dial glass once removed.

After a little research I tracked down a bloke named Steve Savell who runs Australian Vintage Wireless. He immediately was able to tell me that 4 different brands had used this particular case for their radios (Badge Engineering was commonplace in the radio industry even in the 40s and 50s.) and recited the names, Airzone, Aristone, Midlands and Elizabeth.

He had two matching dial glasses in stock and the Elizabeth was an identical design with only the brand name and colour different.

Next came the Knobs.

For a while I wondered if the white knobs were not original on this otherwise conventional brown bakelite radio.

After a bit of discussion online I found two other Aristone owners who also had knobs coloured differently to the case. So it seems that this was part of the design with knobs of a contrasting hue to the case.

The neat little white knobs has rather badly tarnished brass or bronze inserts. Lot of green from the copper oxide on them.
I bought some "Brasso" with the hope that I could get them cleaned up a little and back to a coppery brown colour.

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What a surprise when with just a little rubbing they came out shining like gold! WOW!

So to finish this fairly easy first restoration, I repainted the backing behind the glass, and put some new rubber grommets in to hold the dial glass in place. (50 year old rubber kept inside a warm valve radio turns pretty much to rock.)

Then after polishing the case down with good old Turtle Wax I put the new dial glass in and the "Aristone" is now an "Elizabeth" and sits in spot number 1 on my top shelf.

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She's played every day as this is in my office and right behind me at my desk.