Bulova Clock Radios - Simply Fabulous, Darling!
Bulova Watch Co was founded by Bohemian immigrant Joseph Bulova in 1875 in New York City. Bulova was one of the first watch companies to introduce the principles of mass production at their factories in Switzerland in 1912.
Today, Bulova is owned by Citizen, still making watches under the Bulova name. The Bulova building is a fixture in the landscape of East Elmhurst Queens along the Grand Central Parkway by LaGuardia Airport.
Best known for its watches, Bulova had a brief stint manufacturing radios and clock radios in the late 50s to the mid 60s. From its jewelry pedigree, Bulova clock radios are distinguished with narcissistic use of gold trim and and fanciful colors.
Model 100 and Model 120 introduced in 1957 was available in turquoise, green, pink, black, and ivory. The turquoise color among these options is a considerably bright turquoise.
The cabinet is constructed of a urea based plastic which fared well over time due to its density and strength. Many urea based plastics develop heat cracks but these Bulovas strangely did not crack as often. This photo is a Model 120 with faceted gold plastic grill. It conveys a brilliant sparkling effect!
The cabinet design is unique because of its smooth contours were not as susceptible to dirt deposits or cracking. One wipe and you're ready for afternoon martinis! The earlier versions of this cabinet design feature a screen grill as opposed to the molded plastic gold faceted grill.
On these, Bulova affixed a script plastic logo which often went missing over the years. Also unique to Bulova Models 100 to 120 are three little crown shaped knobs which were painted gold. These often went missing over the years because they were held onto the clock mechanism posts by friction only.
For all its quality use of materials, special components, and an easily serviceable chassis with point-to-point wiring, these clock radios typically suffer from filter capacitors of a lower quality. They almost always need to be replaced. Once replaced, however, this circuit design is one of the better ones for reception, sensitivity, and volume.
Bulova was no stranger to the push button craze of 1958-1960 with Model 190. Not to be outdone, this flamboyant cousin of the Model 100 and 120 features urea plastic and glitzy pin cushion style grill with faceted jewel like squares. Available in black, blue, white, and pink.
This model features a fully enclosed plastic back as opposed to the fiber board backing found on Model 100 to 120.
An early 60s variant of Model 190 in pink shows the front grill with split gold weave grill finish.
A rarer Bulova clock radio s Model 170 with frilly edges and generous gold adornment.
Model 170 was also available in bright turquoise. Model 170 did not use the same gold crown clock knobs as Model 100 to 120.
Model 140 with a cyclopic look is an earlier model similar to Model 170 usually found in pink but also available in black and white.
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