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?


  1. I recently got my grandparents Fada Radio they had when I was a child. It is in very poor condition but it has the sweat and tears of my grandfather listening to the 1952 election. Im not sure I want to restore it. It has three buttons rather than 4 and ran of a dry cell. Far as I know itr had am only. How can I forget it telling me hank Williams had died when i was 9 yrs old.

  2. I know the feeling. I did't have a lot of choice in my situation. My father has had the radio for as long as I can remember, but it sat high on a bureau, unused for decades. Years of household dust and cigarette stained air made it such that I was scared to turn it on without a thorough cleaning. There was so much dust on the old transistors that when they got hot they could have easily caught fire... So I cleaned it.

    Other things though, such as my grandfather's handsaws, that have years of his sweat ingrained in the grips of the wood, won't ever be restored. Every time I touch them its like reaching out and touching his hand...

  3. I love Fada radio's. In fact I collect and restore them. I think I have about 30 Fada radio's and two Fada tv's. I find that the wood cased radio's provide such satisfaction and enjoyment when they are restored and in operation. Every night I watch my 1947 Fada tv for about an hour or so, and it's funny that those 30 tubes actually warms up my room! If you would like to see some of my Fada's, go to YouTube and search: fadatuberadioman Enjoy!


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