Luscious Pink 1954 Madison Model 940AU
New Old Stock Found!
In the collectors world, very few letters get people's attention quicker than NOS - New Old Stock. New old stock radios are practically brand new, never used, usually in original box and packaging and no signs of damages or modifications anywhere.
NOS represents the pinnacle of excellent condition because the product is practically brand new. Not surprisingly, there aren't many NOS radios left. NOS examples are important to preserve for historical purposes because they testify to a manufacturer product's true original characteristics without the years of age, wear and tear, and previous owner's modifications.
New Old Stock means slightly different things to different collectors depending what is collected. Some would consider NOS only mean products that were never sold. Some would consider NOS to be never opened original box never plugged in. Indeed, both of these would be new old stock. We consider this example to be as close to NOS as we have ever seen.
The back is even prettier than the front! For us, this pristine back board speaks volumes.
Pay attention to the crisp edges and clear printing. The color of this cardboard is not yellowed or browned due to exposure. The stiffness is a characteristic of correct storage over the decades. It is not dry and crumbly as if it had been stored in a shed. It is not crispy and brittle like it had been stored in an attic. It is not warped like it had been stored in humid or wet environment. Finally no water stains which means the radio itself was also never exposed to moisture. Kinda important, too. These Madison backing boards tended to break all the way across right about the first bottom heat slat.
Note the serial number stamp. Contrary to what some might think, this serial number is of very little collector interest. Unlike classic car, vintage guitar, and other valuable collectables, radio serial numbers can rarely be used to judge authenticity. There very few records kept and so many different models that authenticating vintage radios with serial numbers would be exhausting. When I see Ebay listings that picture radio serial number, I kinda laugh.
This Madison clock radio and original factory box is impeccable. The box was already opened when we received it. It's a rare manufacturer and model. Datom Industries based out of NYC. Who? There's not much historical info on the company. It's a rare color. The original box still has all the original cardboard protective baffles. Nice clear graphics. No water stains. Correct model number call-outs throughout.
Original factory wrapped cord has never been unwrapped. (Take note how it was done)
This radio was plugged in briefly and hums. That's okay. Probably a filter capacitor needs replacing. No repairs or modifications were made. There are plenty of old radios which can be repaired for listening purposes. We are maintaining this radio its true original as found condition. It's the right thing to do. The clock works.
The plastic type used in this radio is a urea based plastic. Formulation of this plastic involves formaldehyde. The result is a heavier brittler plastic more expensive to produce. Heat resistant. It doesn't melt even under direct contact with a soldering iron! However, it does develop heat cracks over repeated heating cooling cycles. Never fades never yellows. Does not warp easily. Smells like fish or eggs when sanded or atomized.
Madison logo last few letters has a tendency to break off. Note the little paint drip. Isn't it lovely?
See the cardboard hash on the top edge? Likely, this is an evidence of quality controls of the period. Not exactly ISO9000/9001. Is that adorable? Over time, this cardboard hash would have smoothed over time due to use, and dry and moisture cycles. The hash would have feathered away. A lot of these old radios are missing their cardboard backing boards altogether.
All the knobs are original. The Madison logo had white chalky build up which is common among earlier plastics and certain plastics when they're stored over a long period of time.
We did not completely take apart and clean this radio at all. What you see is this radio as we found it!
The little paint splotch is proof the clock numbers were hand painted. There were tiny little black paint drips throughout the radio suggesting a busy production line where quality control practices are not what we've come to expect today! We did not remove any of these paint process imperfections.
So the box is not pristine. We're not collecting boxes, right? The important thing to consider about the box is that, IT JUST IS. The fact there is the box at all. And it matches what should have come in the box. It's the whole package, and it jives.
The piece de resistance - when I went to turn the three bottom screws securing the chassis, I felt a gentle crack as the screw released after 70 years for the first time! Not the kind of crack when something breaks! Screws that have been tightened and loosened over the years develop unequal tightness. No crack or pop. Screws that were tightened down at the factory and left undisturbed for a long period of time will release with a slight imperceptible little 'crack.' Not easily perceived unless you've done this a lot. But, to someone who is very discerning, it's pretty obvious.
The screws themselves are in immaculate condition. These are the 1/4" hex steel machine screws that would have been commonly used during the time. These come is several varieties depending on the manufacturer. All these machine screws and washers are matching as to be expected. The machine screw heads look different than the ones used by Motorola and RCA of the time which had a slight outer flange. The screw heads also can be tightened and loosed with a flathead screw driver. Many manufacturers used machine screws that didn't have the flathead screw driver tightening ability. None of the manufacturers of the time used machine screw heads that had Phillips screw driver heads. If you find one, it is probably a replacement screw from a later time.
Further inspection of the screw holes. Note the white powdery residue from the manufacturing machining process. This is probably drilling or chamfer process particularization that the manufacturer did not bother to clean up. Again, not something you would see in a modern mass manufactured product today. Definitely, signs you would not find in a used or serviced radio.
Absolutely pristine paper cone on that speaker. Never never never replace that with a modern speaker! It's like putting a rear spoiler on a front wheel drive car. We would laugh very hard in your general direction! The cabinet inside is exactly how we found it. Was not cleaned before photos! The backing board screw mounts on the upper corners did not reveal much cross threading.
This clock is a Sessions clock movement. Sessions clock company based out of Bristol CT from early 20th century until about late 50s. Telechron, a division of GE by the 50s, clock movements were much more common back in the day. Sessions features open motor baffle and counterweight. Harder to service if noisy than the Telechron movement with its sealed copper housing. Sometimes bad wiring management will cause the Sessions movement to rub up against the clock wires. This Sessions clock movement was absolutely silent when plugged in.
Continuing the journey inside. It reads like a textbook for someone in the know. Absolutely pristine beyond belief. All the tubes labeled Jewel, and like jewels they seemed! Jewel was a manufacturer of radios too. It is likely Jewel supplied Madison with all their tubes. See how the tubes have black or chrome looking deposits on the inside even when new?
The date stamp says Apr 24, 195--" Last number is cut off. What's your guess?
Look at all the sweet cloth covered point to point wiring! For vintage electronics geeks, this is the prettiest part of the radio!
Variable capacitor original mounting grommets absolutely no stress cracks.
Actually, we have seen a lot of these under the chassis circuits. So, not over-whelming here. The paper and beeswax capacitors are all period correct. Carbon resistors also period correct. The wire management and other components all commonly seen in any radio manufacturer of the period. In other words, nothing seems non-original or out of place. Not many consumers spent a lot time under the chassis so even beat up radios usually still have untouched undersides. Nothing here seems much different in this NOS versus non-NOS. The beeswax capacitors are all newer looking than others I've seen. Less browning no dripping. Can you find something we may have missed?
One last peek. Say good-bye!
Now, questions some of you may have...
Where did we find it?
How much is it?
That is a story for another time....