EH Scott Radio Enthusiasts

The Fine Things are Always Hand Made

Is there room in a cabinet originally made for a Metropolitan 16A to install an 800B chassis set and have the slide out feature, or would it have to be stationary without the slide brackets? Or would it fit at all?

I saw this one on eBay and contacted the seller to get a picture straight on of the radio-tuner chassis area: Item # 272578888450

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Yesterday I took delivery of the cabinet from the Metropolitan 16A in Frisco, TX. After I arrived home with it I immediately began to remove some panels to inspect the inside of it. One thing I noticed is that the cabinet is not made from plywood. It apparently is made of solid wood that has been put together, likely with biscuits to help join them and then veneer applied over the surface. The bookmarked veneer on the front of the cabinet is stunning when seen in good light.

There is a label inside the cabinet that says "MET-8", with the letter T written in by hand. The speaker compartment has a built-in AM loop antenna in it. The dividing wall between the radio tuner chassis area and the speaker compartment area is solid joined wood as mentioned before of about 3/4 inch thickness. That is seen throughout the cabinet. The back cover over the speaker compartment is thin wood only about 1/4 inch thick and appears to be plywood of a fine grade. The inside of the record changer compartment has acoustic tile of the type with holes in it often seen in older public buildings back in the 1940s and 1950s. This material was said to act as a sound deadener. However, I noticed that it had an overspray of the stain that was used to stain the outside of the cabinet plus some of the lacquer that was used on the outside of the cabinet. This acoustical tile may be original or it could have been added later. It would seem somewhat counterproductive to put lacquer or varnish on the surface of any sound deadening material. There is one corner reinforcement wood brace along the bottom that has broken loose from the side of the cabinet. There appears to be a wood screw missing there. I hope to cure that with a new screw and renewing of glue in that area.

The record changer is a Webster Chicago unit, model 56-13, a 78rpm only type. Near the model number is another numeric sequence, 375-628. It was equipped with a GE cartridge, which I believe is a magnetic type. The element inside the cartridge measures about 265 ohms. It has an outer stamped metal cover and has two mounting screws on 1/2 inch centers it appears. The screws are captive to the cartridge. They do not come out. I was able to remove the cartridge and take pictures of it.

Can someone confirm that this is a GE VR cartridge?

One thing that stood out when inspecting the inside of the cabinet is that I see no screw holes that would indicate where the radio tuner chassis or the power supply were fastened down. I do see a slight cleaner surface in the bottom of the cabinet below the shelf that held the radio tuner chassis. I assume that is where the power supply chassis was mounted. Does anyone know what methods were used to secure the two chassis in a Metropolitan 16A?

Joe



Joseph W Strickland said:

Yesterday I took delivery of the cabinet from the Metropolitan 16A in Frisco, TX. After I arrived home with it I immediately began to remove some panels to inspect the inside of it. One thing I noticed is that the cabinet is not made from plywood. It apparently is made of solid wood that has been put together, likely with biscuits to help join them and then veneer applied over the surface. The bookmarked veneer on the front of the cabinet is stunning when seen in good light.

There is a label inside the cabinet that says "MET-8", with the letter T written in by hand. The speaker compartment has a built-in AM loop antenna in it. The dividing wall between the radio tuner chassis area and the speaker compartment area is solid joined wood as mentioned before of about 3/4 inch thickness. That is seen throughout the cabinet. The back cover over the speaker compartment is thin wood only about 1/4 inch thick and appears to be plywood of a fine grade. The inside of the record changer compartment has acoustic tile of the type with holes in it often seen in older public buildings back in the 1940s and 1950s. This material was said to act as a sound deadener. However, I noticed that it had an overspray of the stain that was used to stain the outside of the cabinet plus some of the lacquer that was used on the outside of the cabinet. This acoustical tile may be original or it could have been added later. It would seem somewhat counterproductive to put lacquer or varnish on the surface of any sound deadening material. There is one corner reinforcement wood brace along the bottom that has broken loose from the side of the cabinet. There appears to be a wood screw missing there. I hope to cure that with a new screw and renewing of glue in that area.

The record changer is a Webster Chicago unit, model 56-13, a 78rpm only type. Near the model number is another numeric sequence, 375-628. It was equipped with a GE cartridge, which I believe is a magnetic type. The element inside the cartridge measures about 265 ohms. It has an outer stamped metal cover and has two mounting screws on 1/2 inch centers it appears. The screws are captive to the cartridge. They do not come out. I was able to remove the cartridge and take pictures of it.

Can someone confirm that this is a GE VR cartridge?

One thing that stood out when inspecting the inside of the cabinet is that I see no screw holes that would indicate where the radio tuner chassis or the power supply were fastened down. I do see a slight cleaner surface in the bottom of the cabinet below the shelf that held the radio tuner chassis. I assume that is where the power supply chassis was mounted. Does anyone know what methods were used to secure the two chassis in a Metropolitan 16A?

Joe

Joe:

The numbers 375-628 are the manufacturers EIA and date code.  375 is Webcor (Webster Chicago) and 628 is the 28th week of 1946.  The date code indicates that the record changer was manufactured a year before the first Metropolitan 16As came off the line.  This fact coupled with the GE logo on the tonearm and the fact that Scott did not use the model 56 changer supports a conclusion that the changer was not original and was installed in the cabinet at a later date (probably much later by a collector).  The cartridge is an early version of the well known GE variable reluctance cartridge.  It makes sense that GE would have made this cartridge available in their own products before it was available in the products of other manufacturers.  The numbers 56-13 are the model number for the record changer and the client/contract suffix.  The suffix indicated the use of the GE labeled cartridge shell, installed GE variable reluctance cartridge, and other minor deviations from the standard model 56 as requested by the client. 

Norman


Joseph W Strickland said:

The record changer is a Webster Chicago unit, model 56-13, a 78rpm only type. Near the model number is another numeric sequence, 375-628. It was equipped with a GE cartridge, which I believe is a magnetic type. The element inside the cartridge measures about 265 ohms. It has an outer stamped metal cover and has two mounting screws on 1/2 inch centers it appears. The screws are captive to the cartridge. They do not come out. I was able to remove the cartridge and take pictures of it.

Joe

Norman;

Thanks for that additional information on the changer and its cartridge. I have been in contact with a GE collector and he had already said that it looked just like a GE changer in his 1946-47 GE radio-phonograph console, so this confirms it as being a change-out that was made by the owner. I was told that this particular unit had belonged to a radio personality in the Los Angeles area. I think I will see if the person who sold it can tell me who it was.

On closer inspection of the inside of the cabinet, I do see a horizontal wooden rails or cleats that could support the radio tuner chassis in the upper compartment. There are some smaller wooden blocks above the wooden rail that would serve to keep a chassis flange in position vertically so it could not bounce up and down. I have not looked closely at a Metropolitan 16A radio tuner chassis, but it may have a bottom chassis cover that had a flange that would slide right into the slot provided by those wooden rails and blocks.

The partition between the speaker compartment and the right side, where I believe both the radio tuner chassis and the power supply chassis of the 16A were placed, can be removed. There are two wooden cleats that run the depth front to back of that partition along its top and bottom edges. There are some wood screws that can be removed and I believe the partition can be taken out. That would then allow the speaker mounting board to be removed if the speaker grill cloth had to be changed or cleaned and reinstalled. There is also a metal grill with diamond shaped cut-outs in front of the cloth.

There are some minor scratches here and there on the cabinet, mostly along the bottom foot rail. With the application of some Go-Jo waterless hand cleaner to remove dirt and dust, most of those scratches have changed to the same color as the rest of the finish and are hardly visible. I am in the process of cleaning the hardware before I reinstall them.

The record changer compartment slides straight forward on steel rails with ball bearings. The board the changer rests on is a simple drop-fit into the top of a wooden box attached to the slide rails. It merely is placed into position and is supported by wooden cleats around the inside of the wooden box made to receive the changer. To get access to the front Chippendale handle, that board just lifts out and then access to the mounting screws for the handle is gained.

Typical of most of the older record changers that I have acquired, someone removed the turntable retaining clip and if the changer is turned upside down the turntable falls off the spindle. I wish people would not be so lazy as to leave off parts when they put things back together!

In looking closely at the front trim panel of the cabinet, I do not see any screws to permit easy removal of that panel. I will most likely have to use a metal spatula to separate it from the wood cleats that support it from behind in the cabinet. I need to look closer in better light to see if there are any small nails or tacks between the trim panel and the wood cleats. I will have to make a custom trim panel to use this cabinet with the 800B radio tuner chassis since the 800B has its pushbuttons and dial tilted back about 10-15 degrees. The cover in front of the radio tuner trim panel tilts forward and then slides part way back under the radio tuner chassis in the cabinet.

I can see some scratch marks in the bottom of the cabinet where the power supply of the 16A was likely positioned. It appears that it was simply resting on its bottom plate in the bottom of the cabinet and was never fastened down in any way. I believe the two chassis were shipped separately in their own boxes and placed into the cabinet in the customer's home. That would explain the absence of hardware for securing the two chassis in the cabinet. There are no screw holes in the bottom of the cabinet anywhere around where the power supply chassis would have been placed.

The speaker compartment, which contains the AM loop antenna, has no screw holes anywhere along its bottom where the power supply would likely have been mounted. The back of that compartment was closed off anyway and there would have been no air circulation to cool the power supply in that location. The back of the area where the radio tuner chassis and power supply were to be located has no back cover. The changer area has its own back cover separate from the speaker compartment. There is no provision in this cabinet for record storage.

I will take some pictures to show details when I can and share those here.

Joe

Joe:

I have a version of the Webcor that was given to me by an older brother sometime in the 1950's.It is identical except for the tone arm.  I also had what I think I remember as a Philco radio that the changer plugged into. I also still have the 78 rpm children's records that came with it. The changer needs a replacement idler wheel. I also had a 3 speed version when I was in college in the 60's. It was my first "stereo' setup with a home brew amp.

Thom

Here are some pictures of the inside of the Metropolitan 16A cabinet.

Here you can see the long wood rails I believe the tuner chassis slides in on, with small wooden cleats directly above them to keep the chassis level as it is pushed in from behind.

Here is the rear view of the changer compartment with rear panel removed. You can see the acoustic perfboard on each side and the top.

This is the inside of the changer compartment back board.

Here is the changer base board that simply drops into the sliding box attached to the front drawer pull. Notice that the changer's springs did not fit the existing spots that were drilled into the board. This is another indication that the changer is not original to this set. The cut-out and spring locations do not appear to match a Garrard RC-70 or RC-80, so perhaps it was for a Thorens? Maybe someone recognizes this board type.

Here is a view of the Power Supply compartment. Note there are no holes in the bottom to secure a chassis. There are two parallel scratches on either side where perhaps screws or some metal edge of the power supply chassis rubbed against the walls as it was inserted or removed.

Here is the speaker compartment along with the AM Loop Antenna inside. The vertical partition at left has part of the antenna stapled to it and at its top and bottom it has wood strips with screws to hold in in position in the cabinet. If the screws are removed that fasten it to the bottom and to the shelf above, the partition can be removed to get at the speaker baffle board.

Currently I have the front knobs and pulls in a vinegar bath to remove considerable corrosion. Once that is done I will clean them and add some new lacquer to keep down corrosion and reinstall them.

Joe

Joe:

You have a bit of a mystery there.  The phono board is not cut for a Garrard RC-60 (or later Garrard), Thorens CD-40, or a Webster Chicago 70.  And clearly not for a Webster Chicago 56.  I don't believe it is cut out for a Webster Chicago 256 (2-speed) or 356 (3-speed) either.  This introduces the possibility that the original owner had the original 78-rpm changer replaced with a three speed changer of unknown pedigree early on with a change in the phono board and more recently a collector tried to make the set more original by replacing the replacement changer with one similar to the original but without replacing the phono board.

Norman

Norman;

Wow! It seems to be a Duke's Mixture. There is no telling what kind of changer was in there before the Webster Chicago. At least the cabinet is in pretty decent shape. It must have been in California in a dry area all its life based on the overall condition of the wood and finish. I saw a partial picture of the 16A power supply in one picture on the eBay site. It looked to have a pretty good chrome finish.

I have my work cut out for me to get all this together now.

Thanks to everyone for help along the way!

Joe

Here is a second try to post a picture of rear covers on the Metropolitan 16A cabinet. There is one that covers the back side of the record changer compartment. The other one covers the speaker compartment. I have a suspicion that this cover may have been added after a customer took delivery of the unit. There are new brass wood screws holding it in place and along the top edge right under the changer compartment there are drilled holes that have no wood behind them to put screws into. There would have to be a wood cleat added under the changer compartment for screws to bite into. There is no evidence that such a cleat was ever in that position. That is why I suspect this cover was not original.

Can anyone verify this lower cover is not original?

Joe

April 10th was spent removing the 16A trim panel from the cabinet. I had to use a hacksaw blade to saw through some finishing nails that secured it to the side of the cabinet and to the center partition board. In order to do so I had to drive some small screw drivers between the side of the trim panel and the side or partition to force enough space to use the hacksaw blade. There were three finishing nails on each side. Once that was done I was able to remove the trim panel. I held it up; against the 800B OEM trim panel and was able to see how much material needed to be removed from each side of the 800B trim panel. I used a 4 inch wide stationary belt sander to sand down each side a small amount at a time until I managed to get it the same width as the 16A trim panel.

Today I tried the fit of the 800B trim panel in the cabinet and learned that it needed to be reduced in size from front to back so that it would fit just behind the closed door. I used the original trim panel and marked off the depth of it against the sides of the trim panel from the 800B. Then judicious use of my saber saw just short of the actual dimension was trimmed from the back edge of the trim panel toward the front. I finished the trimming with the belt sander again. I checked the fit again this afternoon and am confident now that the tuner chassis will fit in without additional problems.

I may need to strip the existing finish and change the color a bit to match the front of this cabinet. I also need to sand the inside of the right side wall of the cabinet and the left side of the center partition because the tilt of the 800B trim panel exposed some wood that has not been stained or finished before. I don't think this will be too difficult to do. I placed the revised trim panel in position and took this picture. I will need to add some small horizontal trim along the top edge of the 800B trim panel to cover about a 3/8 inch gap at the top. I can use some of the wood that came off of the top of the 800B trim panel for that.

The 800B trim panel is just a little darker than the 16A cabinet finish. By the time I strip its finish and use a tinted lacquer over it I think I can come pretty close to the 16A finish.

Joe

Can anyone verify this lower cover is not original?

As it turns out, the Installation Manual does say that there is a cover over the speaker compartment, so I will assume that it is an original cover, but there need to be a wood cleat added along the top to secure that part of the cover where screw holes exist with not wood to receive screws.

Joe

Today I identified a stainless steel plate in McMaster-Carr's website that I can use to make a support for the radio tuner chassis in the Metropolitan cabinet. This is their 8983K196 304 Stainless Steel Sheet 18" x 18", 0.075" thick which is the same thickness as the 800B chassis metal. It could be polished to come close to the chrome plating of the chassis. I will make or find some small right angle brackets to fasten the tuner chassis to the plate to secure them together. Locations of holes on the bottom plate to be determined based on best fit.

The Garrard RC-88/4 changer I am installing in the changer compartment came with a mounting board from a prior installation. I trimmed it to size and it fits into the changer box in the cabinet very well. There was a 3 1/2 inch gap at the back. I bought a 24" X 3.5" X 3/4" piece of furniture grade Poplar at Lowe's to make a piece to fill the gap at the back of the mounting board. I am going to look for some Luan Mahogany veneer to cover both after I join the Poplar piece to the mounting board and then stain it to match the color of the cabinet, followed by application of some lacquer.

I am trying to decide on a preamp to use with it. I am leaning toward using a Fisher PR-6 preamp, but am undecided at this point.

Joe

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