I still regret destroying one of these when I was about eighteen. I tried to "hot it up" putting in modern novel tubes, adding a VR tube and a VFO. I never could get it stable and eventually took it apart, keeping only the coil assembly, the dial and the gang. I still have them somewhere I guess. Seen them about five years ago in the shed.
After deciding restoration of the chassis was going to be easy I then tuned my attention to the cabinet, one of two wide wood mantle designs that was used for many of these radios. After cleaning off the many years of grime with strong detergent I soon realised the wood grain finish was fake. It was done with paints and stains. I am sure this is original by the nice layer of cellulose lacquer that had protected the finish for many years. As there were scratches in this coating and patches of it had flaked off, it had to go. Out with the paint stripper and I soon had the rest of the lacquer off and was starting to lift off the wood grain finish. To my horror, the wood work was very poor and had been puttied up with a filler putty and then an undercoat.
Now this was a very expensive radio and all the other examples I have seen have had magnificent wood cabinets except for one a fellow local HRSA member has. That one is covered with leather. By now I was starting to formulate a scenario. Looking at what was left of the ARTS&P sticker it must have been built just after the war and we know there was a shortage of all materials, wood included, and of tradesmen to do craftsmanship work. Looks like at this time they were making the cabinets out of packing crate timber and when they were too rough to finish with stain they either covered them with leather or a fake wood grain finish. The actual wood work is good and has stood up well over the years, it is just the quality of the timber, it is rough and splintery.
What do I do now, learn how to put the fake finish back on, find someone who can do it for me or have it covered with leather ?
This set is one where the dial assembly is attached to the cabinet and the dial chords, one for the station/frequency pointer and one for the band indicator, have to be disconnected before the chassis can be removed. This is a pain, why did AWA do his in some models ?.
I mentioned above two wide wood mantle cabinet designs. These have the dial scale on the right side and the speaker on the left. This one has a sloping front, friends have another version that is about the same size but the front is vertical. There is also another design that has the dial scale on the top of the cabinet rather than in the front. The model life of this set was about ten years and so many versions were built, even vibrator and battery models, Console and Radio Grams, all using the same basic circuit configuration.
Articles on these radios were published in Radio Waves, January 1995, all six pages of information, and in the October 1996 edition on the 805G radiogram. Rodney Champness wrote about these radios on no less than three occasions in the Vintage Radio column of Silicon Chip magazine. May 2001, March 2002 and April 2002. There is also an article on the restoration/reproduction of a Seven Bander in the July 2010 Radio Waves magazine.
Oh and by the way, my guess is the M in Model 617TM means it has a Magic Eye tuning indicator, the T indicates a table top model and the C in 719C indicates a Console !
How was the External Speaker Socket meant to be used ?. It has a 0.1uF coupling capacitor from the Anode of the 6V6 output valve and so it has to operate into a high impedance load. I suppose the idea was a speaker with an output transformer included would be used. The coupling capacitor would have meant the bass response would have been quite poor.
It had a note on it saying it was in good working order and it even had an Appliance Electrical test tag on the power cord. As I have found all too often with radios in stores like this, it was far from safe and the "Licensed Electrician" should have known better than to Tag this item with the two wire power cord that was inadequately anchored.