American, 1883 - 1960
Sparton Corporation, manufacturer (Jackson, Michigan)
Nocturne radio, c. 1937
H. 46 x W. 43 1/4 x D. 12 in.
This striking work was dramatically ahead of its time. Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, it is one of the most distinctive radios ever created and an icon of American modernity. It originally sold for $350 (the price of a new Ford car during the late 1930s) and was made for fashionable hotel foyers. Its velvety sounds, in fact, are far more sumptuous than those emanating from today’s transistor radios. It consists of a 12-tube receiver, a 12-inch electrodynamic speaker, a Viso-Glo tube with a turning eye, a push-pull audio output, IRF and 2RF stages, and an adjustable IF bandwidth control, all installed behind a circular sheath of cobalt-blue mirrored glass. By rejecting a traditional boxy enclosure, the radio was intended to appeal to men, who supposedly would be enthralled by its futuristic form and space-age technology.