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 Post subject: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:57 am 
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Joined: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:07 am
Posts: 13
Location: Yukon, OK
Hello. Google led me to your forum. I’m in the process of moving my mother to a retirement community and we’ve been going through the house trying to decide what will move with her and what will stay behind. We’ve had an old Zenith console sitting in the entry hall since we moved to this house in 1977. She told me last night it was in the master closet in the house we moved from and she’d had it for many years. It belonged to her dad, who bought it second-hand. I’m not sure when he bought it, but she can remember listening to the news reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor on this radio.

Just to have a nostalgic look at the dial, I opened the front. Someone had written a note with “Zenith model # 16-A-63” and it had been placed behind the doors. It isn’t my mom or dad’s handwriting, and she thought maybe someone at the local Zenith dealer (we were customers for many years) had written it.

I thought I’d see what Google knew about it, and ended up here. Until two nights ago we had no idea at all that it was something so desirable and rare.

I’m a camera guy, not a radio guy, but I understand the love of collectibles, and appreciate uncommon gems and know how important they are. I want this radio to go to a good home, because it deserves that. It’s important to me from a sentimental basis, it’s important to me for my mother’s continued financial well-being, and it’s important because I know now that it’s a special piece.

I’ll list it for sale in the appropriate section in the next couple of weeks, but before I do, I need some antique radio education.

Aside from the obvious general physical condition and detailed photos all around the unit, what information should I provide? Dad and I plugged it in many years ago and I remember the amplifier came to life, but I don’t remember if we were able to get reception. If I plug it in, what should I look for? Should I have any concerns or worries about plugging it in? It’s been house-kept, so no worries of rat’s or bird’s nests.

Are there serial numbers I can easily identify and note? Is there anything else I should consider?

My thanks in advance. It’s pretty amazing that my grandfather had something this special.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 18, 2010 2:13 am
Posts: 17043
Location: Dayton Ohio
Hello and welcome to the Antique Radio Forums! :D

Well, I would have to say your grandfather had good taste! The 16-A-63 "Stratosphere" is one of Zenith's most beautiful and worthy radio!

I would recommend not plugging it in at all! There is much work needed on these old radios before they can be safely powered up. It won't matter to a prospective buyer whether it works or not.
The important part is condition, originality and completeness.

Take many photos inside and out to show condition. This would be the best thing to do.

Best of luck! I personally would love to own a 16-A-63 to go with my 1000Z, but I'm not in a financial position to do so at this time.

-Steve

_________________
Radio Interests
-Zenith
-Sparton
-Pre-War FM
Consoles and floor models, the bigger, the better!


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 478
Location: Lafayette ,IN
Just a heads up you will probably not be able to post pictures right away, I cant remember what the rules are for new members, but you can send them to another member for posting. Yes take a picture of the serial number, there should be a small placard somewhere on the main chassis, there are people who document all known examples of these who would be interested in that. And as said before no need to plug this in, any serioys buyer is will want to have it professionally restored anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 2:15 pm 
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Posts: 17043
Location: Dayton Ohio
Yes, I forgot to mention, there will be a serial number on the upper radio chassis as well as the lower amplifier chassis.
It will be helpful to know these two numbers or photograph of the tags.

-Steve

_________________
Radio Interests
-Zenith
-Sparton
-Pre-War FM
Consoles and floor models, the bigger, the better!


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 478
Location: Lafayette ,IN
Also, let us know where you and the radio are located. I find it interesting that your relative picked this up in a second hand store early enough to listen to the pearl harbor atrack in '41, this radio was likely sold around '36, such a short time to have before pawning it, any more details surrounding the history would be great.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:07 am
Posts: 13
Location: Yukon, OK
Thank you for your replies. I'm glad to know I don't need to plug it in or check functionality. I know how temperamental old electonics can be, and I was concerned about causing unnecessary damage.

I should have taken a couple of photos when I was at her house, but had so much going on I just didn't get to it. I'll shoot a couple this week and see what I can do about posting. I'll take proper photos before I post it for sale.

The console is in north central Oklahoma now, and I'll move it to my house in the OKC metro for safekeeping when we move her down here. I'll provide the proper specific location per the classified rules when I post it for sale. I'm not crazy about moving it myself, but between me and two other men, with careful wrapping in furniture pads, we should be fine. Please, if you care to provide any sage advice and moving tips, I'd love to hear them.

I talked to Mom a few minutes ago to get some more details. As I expected, when she said "second-hand," she meant my grandfather purchased it from some individual, not a shop. My grandfather worked for Magnolia Petroleum Company (later to become Mobile), and they moved to the Davenport, OK area in 1936. She doesn't remember when he purchased the radio, but she knows it was sometime after that, which would be obvious given the production date. I'd have no guess where the original purchaser bought it. If it came from around the area, Tulsa would be the nearest town of any size, but back in the 1930s in Oklahoma, oil towns that are barely more than ghost towns today were fairly large. It's possible even that someone bought this somewhere else and then moved to the area. That's all probably lost to time.

My mom and dad moved from that area to northwestern Oklahoma in 1950 and my grandfather sold them his furniture, including the radio. Mom thinks they paid him $50 for all of it. She says he had it in his living room until that. They moved from northwestern Oklahoma to north central Oklahoma later the same year. A few years later, they moved to another house, then in 1977 to the house where she currently lives. Until we moved there, it stayed in closets.

The funniest part of this story? My mom is an avid collector of certain things, and has a pretty broad knowledge of collectibles beyond her specific interests. She loves shows like Antiques Roadshow and My Strange Inheritance. But yet, the most interesting rare-bird she's ever come across has been right under her nose since she was a small child, and something she's walked past many times every day long before she started collecting anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Nov Fri 10, 2017 4:42 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Western, Kentucky
It is good to know another one of these survived the years. Highly sought after piece of radio history.

You definitely came to the right place by seeking advice from the good folks here. Looking forward to seeing the photos.


Kidd


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sat 06, 2010 3:37 am
Posts: 1045
Location: Broadview Hts. / NE Ohio
Cool story.

Can't wait to see the pictures!

Lenny


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Jun Wed 14, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 7047
Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
As to moving the Zenith. Do not attempt to move it and haul it all in one piece. The Amplifier Power supply in the bottom of the cabinet can be unplugged from the radio chassis and the speakers. 4 bolts hold it into the base of the cabinet so yes you have to reach under to remove those bolts. That removes a bunch of the weight and will help in moving the rest of the it. Now for the radio chassis. The tuner is rubber mounted to the radio chassis. The problem here is that the 80 year old rubber bushings are probably totally gone which allows the tuner to wobble about quite a bit. The problem that creates is the shafts that hold the dial pointers go through a hole in the dial glass. Many times these have had the dial glass broken by this flopping about tuner. Best again here would be to remove the radio chassis from the cabinet. Again 4 bolts in from the bottom and remove the knobs. A couple of those knobs will have slotted set screws you need to loosen. Small flat screwdriver required. And either chassis removed or not removed it is best to stabilize the tuner from rocking about. Some pieces of styrofoam that can be pushed under the sides of the tuner will work well or even to tape over the tuner to the chassis or coil covers that are close. Anything to keep it from rocking about will solve that problem. The speakers can be left in the cabinet and the cabinet can be laid safely on its back. Just do not drag it back out of the vehicle for fear of the veneer on the top from being ripped as it may catch in the carpeting. I normally put a blanket into the vehicle and lay these cabinets flat on their backside. Then to remove them pull the blanket and the cabinet will follow rather than pulling the cabinet and possible damage to the top veneer.

And yes I do have a Zenith 16A61 which is the same radio in a different cabinet.

A bit of history on the Junior Stratosphere Zenith radios for you. Zenith built 575 of this radio. 75 of them were "Export" versions. Meaning that the power transformers in them were switchable for EU voltages or US voltages anything from 100 volts to 240 volts. The other 500 were US 115 volt only. Zenith didn't keep track of how many cabinets were built. So we have no records on how many of these chassis went into the two cabinet designs 16A63 and 16A61. the 16A63 cabinet is a more elaborate design and therefore was also more expensive to purchase then new so yes there are considerably more of the 16A61 radios than the 16A63 ones. Please post the serial numbers of the radio and amplifier chassis as there are those of us who keep track of the serial numbers of these radios that have been "Found".
Looking forward to pictures when get them.

There are pictures of my Zenith 16A61 and I also have the 1000Z 25 tube Strat on my website.
16A61 http://johnjeanantiqueradio.com/strat1.htm
1000Z http://johnjeanantiqueradio.com/strat-restore.htm
John k9uwa

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http://www.JohnJeanAntiqueRadio.com


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:07 am
Posts: 13
Location: Yukon, OK
k9uwa wrote:
As to moving the Zenith...


That was a wealth of valuable knowledge. Thank you very much. I will follow these instructions to the letter.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sat 01, 2011 9:10 pm
Posts: 282
Location: Temple, GA
Also please write up this history and include any pictures the family might have with the radio in the background to give to the buyer. This is the kind of provenance that is often lost to time but most of us would love to know the history of our radios. Especially one this rare.

Can’t wait to see the pictures!

Barry


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 478
Location: Lafayette ,IN
Very cool, thank you cameraguy for sharing as much as you can find out about this radio and its history. As you can imagine the provenance of radios is usually lost by this many years, and you have a direct account of where and when and how it came into your posession. Of course it could have been moved to OK from somewhere else, but its highly unlikely in my opinion, most likely was bought in OK and has stayed there since, some forum members are quite sleuthy and might even come up with likely stores where it would hace been bought from. Thanks to John for his write up on how to disassemble and transfer if need be, many a radio has been damaged by not following his suggestions, I have first hand experience myself unfortunately.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Wed 28, 2018 2:52 am 
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Joined: Feb Sat 24, 2018 4:07 am
Posts: 13
Location: Yukon, OK
I'm back at the house with the radio. I won't bring my good camera and lighting gear until later this week, but in the meantime, here are the details and a few iPhone photos. They're not perfect, but they get the point across.

The serial number on the amplifier is N100585 and the serial number on the chassis is N99984. Some has scratched some info on the cover at the back of the tuner. I'd imagine it was a repairman. It says #706 JCC (looks like) and is dated 9-11-45.

It looks like the dust in the back of this will outweigh the actual components. The amplifier is missing a few tubes, and the Shadowgraph window seems to be missing (maybe down inside somewhere and I'll find it when I pull the chassis), but aside from that, it all looks pretty good in the back. The speaker cones look solid as well.

Images are attached. I'll be carefully disassembling it and transporting it this weekend. John and I have PM'd a few times and I'm comfortable taking it apart for transport. When I was in the back shooting photos I tried to see if the tuner had any play in it, and it doesn't seem to, but I'll still be pulling the chassis to be safe.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Wed 28, 2018 3:29 am 
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Joined: Nov Fri 10, 2017 4:42 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Western, Kentucky
Amazing condition for its age. Never have seen one in person.



Kidd


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Wed 28, 2018 3:48 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 01, 2012 9:55 pm
Posts: 9245
Location: Seattle, WA
Wow, fantastic!

Be careful with the grill cloth. It's unique and nothing even remotely close is available today. It is literally unobtainium at any price, and adds greatly to the value of the set. Don't accidentally stick a screwdriver through it or let the cat scratch at it!


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Wed 28, 2018 3:52 am 
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Joined: Jul Tue 18, 2006 5:23 am
Posts: 11374
Location: Roseville,Ca
Lucky dog!
Don't let anyone con you out of it! :wink:
Phil

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I've been doing so much for so long with so little I can now do anything with nothing!


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Feb Wed 28, 2018 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Apr Fri 30, 2010 9:04 pm
Posts: 1328
Location: New York 12986
Amazing Zenith, Thanks for posting some pictures.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About a Zenith 16-A-63
PostPosted: Apr Sun 01, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Joined: May Fri 10, 2013 4:09 am
Posts: 1294
Location: Dallas Tx
Hello cameraguy, if you decide on keeping your 16a63 and what it restored I'm not that far away from you, I had just restored a zenith 16a63 for a fellow in Tennessee. I can do a professnal refinish job on your rare zenith. Here are a few pictures of the one I had done last summer.


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