Which way do you spell it?
Grilles (or Grills) come in so many shapes and styles. They’re essential to let the sound from the speaker project through the case. Designers figured out how to make them cool. Sometimes they were cut right into the cases, and other times they were added pieces in contrasting colors.
Often on wooden radios, and sometimes on plastic ones, beneath the grill (or grille) was a cloth. It was there to protect the speaker, let the sound pass through, and to add a touch of elegance. For collectors who have to replace old worn and torn grille (or grill) cloths…it seems like there were as many cloth styles as there were radios that used them. That doesn’t make it easy to find replacements!
So…should we spell it grill or grille?
According to one dictionary’s description, the word Grille is defined as the covering of an opening, such as a car grille. The dictionary also defines Grill as a place to eat. Don’t be fooled by places that have a sign saying Bar & Grille…they just thought the “e” made it seem fancier. But like those bar owners, we can spell the word either way.
Whether they’re split or wavy, patriotic or exotic, you can call them grilles or grills…and that’s okay. The classic Catalin book by John Sideli used the grille spelling, but far and away most other radio sources, such as sales on eBay, and descriptions by radio collectors tend to use grill as the spelling.
As long as we all know what we mean, it’s not critical how we spell it.