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 Post subject: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 7:36 am 
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Joined: Jan Mon 25, 2010 7:51 am
Posts: 2913
Location: Toledo, Ohio
So Monday is my neighborhoods bi-yearly "general pick-up" for garbage collection. That means they take all those large items like sofas, beds, etc that normal is not allowed in our regular garbage collection. It is a pretty nice neighborhood and some of the folks have more money they brains so they throw a lot of items that are still good-useful away. It is a feeding frenzy for scrapers, antiquers, and hoarders of all sorts. I have found a wide array of great stuff over the years and once sold the lot on eBay for about $1800 for one truck load of goodies. I have since slowed down my pace and only occasionally make the round in my truck and cherry pick any goodies. I found a nice vintage rocking chair for the wife, an antique side table and a great steel cabinet for the garage. Oh and the same model vacuum cleaner we own with all the attachments (and it works). As I am getting to the end of the run and it is getting dark I am forcing myself to hit the last couple of roads in the sub division. As I am pulling down this one road I see what looks like a gawdy late 1970s dresser cabinet sitting at the end of this drive-way. I am about to pass it up when I see speaker cloth down at the bottom. Hmmmm probably some odd ball solid state colonial piece of junk. I figure I best stop and see if there could be some records, NOS needles or good parts to yank off the beast. So I get out of the truck and walk around the back of the unit and see two of the BIGGEST old tube amps hanging out the back with really old looking transformers and ST tubes :?: :!: I then notice they are a 46-47-80 hmmm yank them first and then hurriedly get the thing in my truck (other pickers have been known to swoop in muscle stuff away from you).

The sheer weight of this thing STUNNED me. I could barely get it in my truck alone but figured if I left for help it would be gone before I could come back. I got her in finally and took her home and unloaded the unit in the garage. From the looks of the dual amps on something this old I knew it had to be something special. Here are pictures as I opened it for the first time.

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Last edited by bastardbus on Oct Mon 05, 2015 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage! RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 7:49 am 
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Joined: Jan Mon 25, 2010 7:51 am
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
My main interests have been `50s era Hi-Fi units, Record players and any radios that I find interesting for one reason or another. Only recently have I picked up a couple `30 era radios that I have really enjoyed working on. So I do know what to look for out there and when I opened this thing up I knew it was something special. I told my wife to come take a look at this thing...she asked me if I was going to gut it and toss out the rest of that ugly piece of junk in the trash :? I told her this was something REALLY special. It had to be from the late 20's or so and they just did not make stuff like this back then. This was Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief kinda thing here.

She quickly went back into the house to watch her fav "Columbo" and I cleaned a bit and snapped some more pictures as I went along. Here is some more detailed ones for you all.

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage! RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 7:55 am 
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
On to the back....and my 9 year old son for size comparison.

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage! RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 8:04 am 
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
More details, looks to be a remote control unit on a LONG cloth umbilical cord. The record compartment area was full of bits and pieces. I found the back panel to the radio unit, the one or two small pieces of trim that broke during the years (what luck!) and some paper working dating back to 1942.

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage! RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 8:11 am 
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Joined: Jan Mon 25, 2010 7:51 am
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
A Google search gave me the quick hint this unit is (as I thought) something kinda special.

I would like to chat with some folks that know about this unit and see what they have to say about it. I always enjoy reading about interesting finds and great scores people make. Seems we each get our turn every couple of years or so to find something cool....hope this one turns out good.

Look forward to hearing what you guys have to say.
Todd

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 9:14 am 
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Joined: Oct Tue 28, 2008 3:15 pm
Posts: 670
Location: Stephens City, VA
It is a really nice radio/phono but you've got you're work cut out for you. I just finished working on it's little brother, the RAE-68, and am about to start on a second. There are a lot of caps potted in tar and a lot of dogbone resistors to check and change. The phonograph will need to be cleaned, degreased, and the cartridge rebuilt. You have a long way to go before you can plug it in.

Best of luck,
Donald

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7919
Location: Baltimore, MD
Holy crap! What kind of a schmuck would throw that away??? :shock:

I'm surprised it wasn't gutted and "repurposed", which seems to be the in thing now. That was a high end unit in its day.

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
WOW !! Great save! I am envious!

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 1:48 pm 
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Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
I thought those only existed as page fillers in the RCA Red books...

Incredible, and yes the next picker would have re-purposed it...

It would be interesting to know how many other survivors there are...

Chas

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 3:28 pm 
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Another rare RCA automatic record changer saved from the trash! You have a very rare radio/phonograph combo that was made by RCA in 1931. These units sold for over $900 dollars new. That is over several thousand dollars in today's money. Just as you stated it was a rich mans toy back in the day, and that was during the depression! I am glad you saved this unit from the trash. I hope you restore it to originality. As the others stated, you have a large project on your hands. But you will have a one of a kind unit that is never really seen. The automatic changer on that unit is amazing and very rare. RCA experimented with automatic changers during the early 30's. They have several different versions. I'm a sucker for the early automatic electric changers such as yours. If that has twin speakers I would imagine it sounds amazing. Looks like there are four 47 power tubes. That's push pull for each separate chassis, class A audio no doubt.

Here's a video with your same changer in action, amazing!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87P7xygDcs0

The base on your record player is the correct green color by the way.

If you need your horseshoe magnet pickup rebuilt (sometimes they are still good after all these years) try these guys: WestTechServices.com

Congratulations, you are a lucky individual to have that unit.

Jon


Last edited by ketron281989 on Oct Sun 11, 2015 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 3:51 pm 
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Location: Eschew Obfuscation Virginia 23005
You should ping Norman Braithwaite (a member here) for some next steps. he just helped diagnose and repair the smaller version ( RAE-68) - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=285352 - of your rare RAE 79.

Here are some additional pictures of an RAE-79: http://www.myvintagetv.com/rca_rae79.htm

GL and great find...

Terry


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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 4:01 pm 
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516 examples made back then. Amazing find. ^^


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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 5:12 pm 
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Posts: 4334
Location: Kansas
A side note:
Just for fun I looked up Lucy Ann Pierce in the 1930 federal census. Actually she was not a "Miss" but married to one Gar A. Pierce who was a "used car manager and owner." Lucy and he had a daughter named Jettie Lee. By 1940, the Piercce family had moved to the address shown in your letter from RCA, 1290 East 115 Street in Cleveland, and paid $35/month rent. Then Gar was an "auto driver" and Lucy was a "social worker." Their daughter Jettie was 14 years old and apparently an only child. Lucy had 4 years of college by then and apparently that qualified her to be a social worker. She was 34 years old. Her husband was 8 years her senior. His income was $200/month---pretty decent money for 1940; her's was $132/month. He also had "other income."

I also googled that address and found that house today is a 2-story home immediately next to what looks like two empty commercial or industrial buildings with boarded-up front windows.

That kind of information is fascinating to me. Can you imagine that set "rockin" that old house??!! 8) (I hope she returned the manual!)


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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Sounds like it went to a home where the right person will take care of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 8:35 pm 
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AMAZING SCORE Todd!! I am seriously :mrgreen: with envy!!

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 8:47 pm 
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Location: Stephens City, VA
The RAE-68 Norm found is mine.
I love that somebody was able to find a little bit of history on the original owner..

Donald

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 10:10 pm 
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
Yes, I did some minor online research on Miss Pierce, interesting stuff. I wonder how it got to Toledo (Sylvania actually). I am not even sure I could remember the house this was at, it is in a sub division with probably 100 houses built by the same builder that all look the same if not identical. I did not pay much attention to the house at the time. I thought about finding it and knocking on the door to ask about it but they might have thought it as garbage and now to find it was only one of 500 made in 1931? Hmmm might backfire on me.

Still not sure what I am going to do with this beast. It is not the normal thing I am into but it is really cool. I do restore `50s-60-70s era phonographs as a hobby-side business so I do have the skills to do it but wondering if I feel like dealing with all the wiring and add ons in this thing. There is a LOT going on and I see a lot of solenoids and electrical switches that could be a lot more work then I want to invest in something like this. I have about 200 other players here and customers dropping stuff off all the time. Might ne something to pass on to a person who collects this era and has the time and passion to do it right.

I would still like to chat with some folks that have restored the changer, amp and tuner section or similar units to this one. If anybody has, drop me a PM and I can call you on my dime.

Thanks!
T

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 10:56 pm 
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Location: Redding, CA
For starters, the automatic tuning mechanism on these chassis included a pot metal collar that had a habit of swelling and locking or at least adding substantial friction to the unit. Not all units suffered this fate but most did. This problem can be repaired but it requires a bit of machine work. If the manual tuning function (tuner knob) is hard to turn and clicks without movement of the dial, the pot metal has expanded. The automatic tuning mechanism can be disconnected from the manual tuning shaft by removal of a gear, however, so the set can be made to work without the automatic tuning mechanism. But what is the point? This radio is special in great part because of the very early remote tuning capability. Sure it has one of the first automatic record changers and it is one of the first radios to have record cutting capability and it has a killer cabinet (in more ways than one) but being able to operate the radio from across the room is the cats pajamas!

Norman

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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Mon 05, 2015 11:59 pm 
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That resembles the tonearm in my 1930 Philco. But yours looks to have an extra weight at the back end? I sent the magnetic pickup to Westech for overhaul but it still seems to have rather lowish output. Maybe just due to the fact that it is not driving a very high gain triode circuit. I cleaned things up a bit after this photo was taken years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Look what I found in the garbage, RCA Victor RAE 79
PostPosted: Oct Tue 06, 2015 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Southwestern,Ontario Canada
That is a GREAT find ! Sure hope it gets the required restoration. I'd love to see it in action.
He shoots,.....He scores !!
Thanks for posting..good story, hope your back is ok !
Tony


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