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ill titleDating Your Radio

How old is this one?

ARTS&P LABELDating a radio is an arcane art. Short of finding some published literature that identifies your particular model you are left to guessing, logical deduction and asking your fellow collectors.

One of the ways you can tell is by the kind of Valves or Tubes your set has. The style and shape of the valve and number of pins changed over the years and can help place your radio into a certain date range.

For Australian radios the Colour or Letter Prefix on the ARTS&P License Transfer is also a good indicator.

The ARTS&P system was a licensing system that was used in Australia and New Zealand between 1934 and the 1960s. The system was introduced to verify that radio manufacturers payed royalties for the items they were using that were covered by Patents. Some radio makers avoided this by selling parts, rather than complete radios, even though the parts could be easily assembled into a radio. Each licensed radio was fitted with a small sticker attached to the back of the chassis.

The colour of the sticker and the prefix letter (if it has one) is a useful way of determining the year of manufacture.

1934
White label serial number prefixed by the letter A

1935-1936
Pale blue label prefix B

1936
Pale blue, prefix C

1937
Pale blue, prefix D

1938
Pale blue, prefix E

1939-1940
Pale blue, prefix F

1940-1941
Pale blue, prefix G

1942-1946
Pale blue, prefix H

1946-1952
Dark Green with red letters, prefix T

1952-1955
Orange with dark green letters, prefix T

1955-1960s
Small pale blue, with dark blue letters, no prefix.

Post WWII however the actual use of letter prefixes had pretty much died out (I've never seen one) so you'll need to look into other methods of identification.

You could also try looking up your radio model in one of the AORSM (Australia's Official Radio Service Manual) books. They came out yearly and listed all the new models of that year.

If it shows up in the 1948 AORSM, you can safely assume it was made in 1948.

If you know a little about the history of your local radio stations you can place your radio into a certain range by noting if certain stations have change their positions on the dial.

A really good article that covers all these techniques in depth can be found at the highly informative Vintage Radio website.

Finally a little advice on translating eBay Auction Descriptions.

"Probably from the 1940s" means "From the 1950s."
"Probably from the 1930s" means... "From the 1950s."