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Sparton Table Radio

Decorative Arts

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The City and the Rise of the Modern Woman, 1900–1945, 5th Floor
The first radio station, KDKA of Pittsburgh, was established in 1920, and by 1925 there were 571 stations in the United States and more than 2.75 million radios had been sold. This radio exhibits the simple, bold, rounded forms of the streamlined style that characterized much American design of the 1930s and implies the idea of motion and aerodynamics even in stationary objects. Walter Dorwin Teague was originally trained as a graphic designer, but after a successful stint as a freelance designer for Eastman Kodak cameras, he became one of the most renowned industrial, or product, designers in this country.
MEDIUM Glass, metal, wood, rubber
  • Place Manufactured: Jackson, Michigan, United States
  • DATES ca. 1936
    DIMENSIONS 8 3/4 x 17 1/2 x 8 3/8 in. (22.2 x 44.5 x 21.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Paper label applied to tube base / transformer inside radio: "SPARTON / MADE IN U.S.A. / A-C RECEIVER MODEL 557 / TYPE 517 CHASSIS / LICENSED UNDER R.C.A. PATENTS / 115 VOLTS 60 CYCLES 60 WATTS / THE SPARKS-WITHINGTON CO. / JACKSON, MICHIGAN. U.S.A. / A-6"
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by the Walter Foundation
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Sparks-Withington Co.. Sparton Table Radio, ca. 1936. Glass, metal, wood, rubber, 8 3/4 x 17 1/2 x 8 3/8 in. (22.2 x 44.5 x 21.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by the Walter Foundation, 83.158. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 83.158_transp3685.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION "Sparton" table radio in the shape of a rectangular box, covered in blue glass entirely on the top and partially on the front proper right side. Flat, black wood surface with three applied wood bands runs from middle of proper right side to opposite end of underside, raising box and serving as a base. The front with three wooden knobs with inlaid metal rings, a square dial face, five horizontal incisions into glass that continue as applied chromed bands to proper left side of front. The bands curve over the black wood surface that entirely covers the proper left side and terminate at the rear. The rear of the radio entirely open, revealing tubes, speaker, and other electrical parts. CONDITION: Good.
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