The Case of the Addison Radio

Addison Addition

It started as just a case on eBay:s1-l1600

Years ago, I had a wooden Addison 5 “Courthouse”, but for some reason sold it when I got a Catalin version.  Later, I regretted selling it, because it’s truly a uniquely designed wooden radio.  So, when the above case was reasonably priced on eBay, I bought it.  Unfortunately, the refinish on it was awfully dark, and looked more like paint than wood stain.  Fortunately, expert Gary Marvin could bring out the beautiful wood.

While he was working on the case, I found a chassis, restrung the dial, replaced the missing dial pointer, replaced a tube, remounted the loose dial, and did a cleaning…all stuff that doesn’t take any real talent.

Here’s the finished radio:

Here’s the wooden Addison next to the Catalin version:IMG_5674

There are some differences.  The Catalin radio has a flat front, while on the wooden one, the front juts out a little.  Although both versions use the same model chassis, the wooden Addison is slightly larger, because the wood is thicker than the Catalin.

Bonus photos of the all-original Catalin Addison:IMG_3430IMG_3433

If you want to see more of Gary’s restoration work, please check out his impressive collection in the post below.

6 thoughts on “The Case of the Addison Radio”

  1. I have noticed that on sites selling radios, Canadian radios always rank high in their electronic quality. Some seller’s actually esteem the quality in Canadian made radios. The main reason seeming to be simply that the demand for radios in Canada at the time was less and more time was spent by the employees in putting out a quality product as opposed to the more mass produced radios made in the States. Not that the American counterparts were bad or in many cases just as good, but simply that the chances of a better constructed radio might be the case if it was made in Canada.

  2. Where does the wooden counterpart sister radio of the Addison Model 5RA3 “The Courthouse” Radios rank in comparison to their more famous Catalin sister radios. I assume the electronics are the same?

    Editor: You are correct. The chassis is the same for both radios. They really are cool! Of course the Catalin version is many times more valuable.

  3. I notice that the first Addison Model 5AR3 Radio came out in 1940 and had a green face. I assume the first one was a wooden cabinet and the Catalin one’s came later. The radio museum site indicates the same model was brought out again after the War in 1945. Where do these radios fall into when they were built? Was the wooden one the first to be built and the Catalin one’s came out later? I just got a wooden one and the label indicates a patent date of 1940-1945. It has the darker Face Dial and should turn out nicely once restored. Thanks for the clarification on the History of this unique Canadian radio. Richard

    Editor: The information I have shows both the wooden and Catalin Addison 5’s came out in 1940 and halted production in 1947. Good luck with your restoration!

  4. Thanks, The radio is in tact and appears to have been sitting in a dry area for many years with spider webs to prove it. Perhaps a dry garage as there are no signs of rust. But the shipping could have been better as the wooden cabinet is becoming unglued, not damaged but obviously took some rough knocks during the shipment.

    All the parts are there and the original knobs, even the original Addison marked tubes not broken! So those are good signs and bad signs, and the glass Dial Face made it through fine. The gluing and refinishing of the wood would have been needed anyway. Just hope the finish comes out as nicely as your wooden cabinet!

  5. As my Addison radio is in an unrestored condition needing a lot or re-glueing and sanding to get back to the original finish, as you have done this work on your darker cabinet, are there any recommendations you may have for me in the finishing toners to be used for my radio as the work has not started as of yet. Luckily the seams that have parted are due to the glue having dried out and can be repaired with hopefully no prior damage noticed.

    Thanks for any suggestions. Richard

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