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?