Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Neat Stuff: FADA 970 AM/FM Radio

While I was up at Dad’s this past weekend, he gave me a radio he’d been holding on to for me for awhile. It was purchased for Nanny and Papa by a lady in Manteo when Dad was a kid.  Being me, I brought it home, broke out the cleaners, scrubbers, 409, polish, and about everything else I could find to bring this thing back to life. A few minutes of Cat5 wiring had me a new FM antenna to test out on it.  As expected, it works just fine!

If you look at the top of the radio dial, you can make out that this was made before they called it AM, and FM. FM was still short for Frequency Modulation, being the newer of the two wavelenghts. However, the AM designation hadn’t been applied yet. It was still called “Standard Broadcast.”

Curious to find out a little bit about it, I did some googling. Check it out. This is a 1949 FADA AM/FM 1 watt radio.


Here is the history, according to an antique radio collector I found online:

History of FADA

A classic of Art Deco industrial design, FADA radios were the creation of Frank A. D'Andrea who began the company in 1920 in Long Island City, New York. Originally known by the makers name as the F. A. Andrea Co. and then the initials of the founder, FADA at first made only a variety of radio components such as coils, condensers, etc.which were in great demand as the radio boom of the twenties began. Moving beyond component manufacturing, FADA began assembling complete radios in 1923 to designs done by Mr. D'Andrea, utilizing modern plastics such as bakelite and catalin in a streamlined, Art Deco design. FADA designs were extremely popular as an attractive Art Deco everyday object affordable by the masses. Frank D'Andrea was more of an inventor than a businessman, and he experienced a great deal of labor strife with both his employees, totaling about 600 at the peak, and his fellow executives.
FADA was sold to a group of Boston investors in 1932, and when demand and production continued to stagnate, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1934 following the difficult years after the Great Depression. Frank D'Andrea left the company and founded the Andrea Radio Corporation which manufactured inexpensive radios both under its own name and private labeling radios for others. A group of New York investors brought FADA out of bankruptcy and operated it until the 1940s, suspending production during World War II in order to make electronic components for the U.S. military. After the war, they continued to produce the original designs in the modern plastics and the distinctive metal decoration before permanently suspending operations in the 1950s. FADA radios were of moderate quality and price but carried the distinctive design in the use of industrial plastics in the Art Deco style-- the reason they are so highly collected today.

So, now you know. Neat huh?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Another day...

Well, today has been... eventful. I got up this morning and went down to Uhaul to get the trailer for Tex and Janet so we could load up their stuff when they get here. I'd already parked mine farther up the hill and I was wondering where in the world I was going to park another dual axle 12' trailer and how I was going to get it up this hill. I'm in the Georgia mountains, at Dad's house, and the driveway is a 30 degree incline of red Georgia clay, laced with gravel for traction.

I got to Uhaul and picked up the trailer, only to find it was the wrong size. After switching it out for the right size trailer I got back to the house and decided to try to back it up the hill where I needed it to be. I knew there was no way to pull it up and then turn it around. It too wide, too long, and there's just not the room at the top of the hill to maneuver it. So, I got it turned around and started up the hill. It wasn't 10 feet before I'm free-wheeling through the mud, smoking tires, and jackknifing my rear-end. I pulled it down, got a little of a running start in reverse, and got her a little farther before I hit the same issue. The mountain and I played this game a few more times, before the mountain hit me below the belt. I backed up the hill, started to slide down and then she dug in a little bit, so I hit the gas and pushed her on up the hill. Right as I did that I spun across a sharp rock and blew the driver side rear tire.

photo (1)

I pulled her on down the hill, told my little sister to run up to the house and get me a cup of coffee, and just settled in to change the tire in the mud. I hunt around for a brace for my jack, finally get one, and get the old tire off. As I get the new tire on and start to let the truck down on it, I see a little give in the tire. Guess what? My full size spare is flat... It's been sitting in the wheel well for about a year and I guess the air just bled out over time.

Thankfully I was here at the house instead of out on the road somewhere. I got the air compressor out of the barn, pumped the new tire back up, and she's been good to go ever since. I took old girl out for a spin to check the pressure and she seems to be holding tight.

Old Memories

Antique Tools
These are my grandfather's and great-grandfather's tools, now passed down to me and my generation. There is an assortment of old handsaws, bracing bits, draw saws, hand drills, and hundreds of other tools used by three previous generations of Jordan men throughout their lives. These tools you see here have built hundreds of houses, boats, furniture, cabinets, and have more other memories than I can ever imagine. If they could talk, I'd happily sit for days and hear their stories. These tools saw the invention of the automobile, electricity, power tools, and hundreds of other advances through time. They've sat side by side on the tool benches of my families men, alongside power drills, electric radial arm saws, drill presses, and pneumatic innovations. There's just something I find comfortable about going back to these tools though... my father has stripped them down, cleaned them, and used them through the years. Before him my grandfather used them, cleaned them, and put them back away safely until they were needed again. Even before him, his father, whom I've never known and only ever even seen one picture of, used these to build houses and other crafts from his day. Over a hundred years of men have used these tools and put them to work. My brother and I will carry on with their use so the skill won't be lost. One day I'll teach my kids how to use them and pass some of them down the line to them too.

I'll share more pictures and stories once we get the tools back home and get them organized and laid out.

Antique Toys  
If you ever wonder why I grew up to be big and strong, this picture should say it all. Those are my original Tonka toys, bought almost 30 years ago when I was a boy. I bet that bulldozer has driven hundreds of miles through dirt hills with me on my knees pushing it. The dump truck has probably moved actual tons of dirt over the ages. I got these from Dad today, where they've been kept safe over the years. I think I'm going to see if I can get in touch with Tonka and find the original paint and stickers for them.... strip 'em down and prepare them for another set of hands to use in the field, for another boy to gleefully chase behind, all the while making diesel sounds as they roar up and down hills made of black dirt and loose sand. That 25-pound bulldozer will once again pave roads through sand hills, while the front end loader loads ton after imaginary ton of sand into the dump truck, who then will drive it off to some other destination, where only a young boy imaginary construction crew can properly put it to good use, most likely against the better judgement of adults who are incapable of understanding why the garden soil would better be utilized in the driveway...

Well, that's my day so far. I'm going to upload this while I go back up the mountain to help an old indian guy named Jack connect his new TV set so he can watch his games. I'll write more later.