Princess Sings Again!

1959 Princess Pink General Electric 913D Beauty Queen!


The late 50's General Electric 900 & C-400 series are some of Retro Radio Farm's best sellers. It's no wonder. This design checks all the boxes of great 50's style; bright colors, angular shape, lots of mechanical buttons and switches. This model was produced from 1957 through early 60s.

The earliest versions feature a black clock face and gold capped plastic knobs. Clock function switches are either three-in-a-row clear plastic barrel style knobs or two side clear plastic flap knobs. Colors available: pink, beige, ocean turquoise, seafoam green, ivory, mahogany swirl.

Later versions are same as earlier versions except feature silver or gold metallic clock faces and cast metal knobs. Some late models feature clock dial light which uses an orange gas neon bulb. Colors available: powder blue, walnut, beige pink, and ivory.

All models feature steel chassis with printed circuit board design. Five tube circuit. Clock movement was Telechron sealed mechanism. 4" speaker. Some have phono RCA port in back. Some feature snooze button top.

This model was very popular in its day. Most surviving examples are highly collectible. Common issues with this design; the filter capacitor almost always is a hummer. The two intermediate frequency transformers almost always need to be rebuilt. Otherwise, the rest of the radio is pretty well built and a solid performer.

Surviving examples frequently have these other issues; missing clock function knobs, especially three-in-a-row barrel style design. For some reason, the clock design requires you pull the alarm set knob outward then turn to adjust the alarm time. Well, if you pull outward with enough force, the knob comes off with it! Why design it this way?

The front clock face tends to develop hairline cracks and micro-inclusions around 12 o'clock because people tend to pick the radio up by pinching the front clock face and back of the top protruding clock section.

Other issues, the snooze button lever if equipped with one sometimes breaks off its internal plastic post. Many of these surviving example have broken internal screw posts from over tightening sheet metal screws during servicing.

The GE 913D featured here is a late 50's version Retro Radio Farm calls this color "Princess Pink." A color name we coined. GE factory label simply calls it "Pink." Make no mistake.

This particular radio came from rural Pennsylvania, the land where it seems vintage radios are a-plenty.

However, it looks like this one spent a good deal of its life underwater. It doesn't look like it was actually outside exposed to the elements because there is no evidence of outside dirt inside.

The plastic cabinet was deceptively in good condition with no cracks or chips. There were some cigarette burns on the front edge and top. There was a rust stain on the right side.

Internally, the metal chassis looked heavily rusted, like it was submerged for a long time underwater. The tuning capacitor was practically frozen solid with rust and corrosion. I mean, do you know how long it takes for steel to rust like this?




Looks like this old gal was stored in a wet basement or garage for many years.

We like a challenge when it comes to bringing these old relics back to life. We get bored with just replacing filter capacitors, rebuilding transformers. Bo-oring!

When it comes to a challenge, this radio is it. Look at this yucky mica sheet inside the transformers. Can you say snap, crackle, pop? Actually, I was expecting much worse. I've seen sheets come out all black. Notice I missed my appointment with my manicurist before taking this photo.






Here's the transformers right before rebuild. Good thing these GE transformers are relatively easy to rebuild:



See how rusted these knobs are?


 Now back from the cleaners, this radio is ready to sparkle!





General Electric design for manufacturing and cost efficiency is evident throughout this model. There's much here to credit GE. It shows their experience in mass production that is not as evident when taking apart radios from other manufacturers.

Like, the heat shield metal screen that attaches to the underside of the back panel prevents the heat vanes from melting.

And, the way the tuning dial lamp tracks to the movement of the tuning knob by way of the dial string, that can be removed as a complete assembly from the back after you detach the harness clip, is ingenious.

Topic for another day.

The finished product, what a beauty!




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