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 photo of the all-original Catalin Addison:IMG_3430

13 thoughts on “The Case of the Addison Radio”

    1. Can anyone tell me what the model 5a in wood might be worth in very good condition?

      Editor: The one featured in the article sold for $375.

  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

  6. The electronics on my Addison Model 5RA3 wooden cabinet Radio have been completely upgraded and the radio is playing great. This radio is probably one of the last wooden one’s made as the patent date on the chassis went through 1945. Luckily the radio had never been messed with over the years, as even the original Addison tubes were still in the chassis and the original metal name plate still on the backside.

    The cabinet is still being worked on and should be back in shape soon, weather permitting. It needed a good deal of re-gluing, but the overall cabinet was complete with the original finish which needed complete refinishing. The original decal had to go (as most of it was gone anyway) but luckily these are available through Radio Daze.

    There were no decals around the knobs so only the main Addison decal is needed (in the yellow color). I hope it will look like the restoration of the one on this site and as of now it is getting close with the final refinishing work being completed.

  7. This video is of the refurbishment of a wooden “The Courthouse Addison radio probably from around 1946. The radio was literally falling apart at all the seams and still had most of the original Addison labeled tubes in the radio.

  8. I had won the Addison wooden cabinet radio on the Goodwill Auction site. It was not packed well, and that didn’t help the radio any during shipment, but it has been completely taken apart as noted in this video by the man who did the restoration for me. Interestingly, all of the tubes were marked Addison and one was a Rogers (another Canadian tube company of the time). Unfortunately none of the tubes tested out good, but he saved them for me as they have a unique Addison label on each one.

    If anyone wants them for a Catalin radio that uses the same tubes just for the looks, they are welcome to have them. Just let me know. It would make a nice touch for someone wanting the full authentic look if their radio doesn’t work. I haven’t gotten the radio back yet, but he told me he would send the original tubes back with the receiver.

  9. The video above (which is in 2 parts) shows more of how the Addison Model 5 Chassis was designed and even built. As it needed a great deal of repair the undersides are seen by many probably for the first time, as well as the wooden cabinet completely broken down into the parts that the Addison Company used when the radio was first built. The second video shows the chassis all cleaned up and looking like new! By the way, all of the original Addison labeled tubes tested bad, so they all had to be replaced. I kept them anyway, as you just don’t oftentimes see Addison labeled tubes these days!! Hope you enjoy it.

  10. A follow-up to the refurbishment of the wooden Addison 5 Radio. I have received the restored radio and it looks in person much better than in the video, cabinet wise. The chassis looks almost new and in essence it is. The radio reception is very good on both AM and Shortwave for such a small 5 tube radio. I guess this radio could be called the “All Canadian Five”! The Face Dial looks great at night with its’ “red dot” in the center. The cabinet shows it to be the solid wood grain case it was originally with minimal staining and a soft satin gloss, now tightly held together as if new. The radio was literally falling apart. Very pleased with the restoration of a radio that just may have ended up on a roadside or in a garbage dump as sadly has been the case with so many of the older vintage radios.

  11. Very nice looking radios, I have a ivory colored Addison model 52 serial # A2256 and was just wondering if they are more rare than the A2?

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