EH Scott Radio Enthusiasts

The Fine Things are Always Hand Made

John J Mitchell buys biggest Scott...1936 40 tubes

Was browsing through the historic Chicago Tribune and ran across a brief article published March 26, 1936 as follows:

"A public demonstration of the biggest radio set was held yesterday in the Scott Radio laboratories at 4450 Ravenswood avenue.  The receiver has five speakers and forty tubes and is tuned silently by means of a cathode tube.  It's a custom built job that runs $2,500 or more.  Several have already been sold, the John J. Mitchells of Santa Barbara, Cal., being among the first buyers."

John J. Mitchell was a Chicagoan before moving to Santa Barbara and was co-founder of United Airlines.

LA Times obituary

Were any of Scott's factory records preserved?


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Mitchell's parents were killed as a result of a road rage incident while traveling back to Chicago from their home in Lake Geneva in 1927.  Always interesting the unexpected things you learn when you least expect it.

John James Mitchell 1853-1927

Wonder what happened to the radio?


This is an excellent write up.  I am most interested in finding out more details as well.  I know several here on the forum will be able to shed light on the subject.  Great research you have already done!!!!!  I have only seen pictures of the Mitchell tuner and amplifiers in a book, no cabinet pictures.  The receiver pictures were black and white, so not current pictures.  Don't know it's location.  Would be great to find out more!


Several collectors have tried to track down the whereabouts of the Mitchell Quaranta with no success. Included among those are Mike Swinney, Roy Burnett, and Russ Mappin. Rumors of its disposition include donation to Boy Scouts and burned in a fire. One wild rumor has it that Mitchell had two Quarantas one being located in Chicago. Mitchell"s Quaranta, by the way, was a 48 tube version. An identical set was sold to his friend, John Arnold at the same time. Neither set has turned up but I have procured two Quaranta power amplifier chassis from the area. One is definately from the Barrett Quaranta (40 or 41 tubes) but the source of the other chassis is unknown. Hence there is a possibility that either the Arnold or the Mitchell Quaranta is still complete and in hiding. It is also possible (probably more likely) that neither have survived if the Mitchell set was in fact burned. Then again if a fourth set had been sold in the area like maybe to Douglas Fairbanks Sr., known to be fond of high end radios and a close friend of Elmer Beardsley, owner of the three console Beardsley Quaranta (Beardsley purchased his waterfall front property from Douglas Fairbanks Sr.) then maybe two are hiding in southern California.


What a find that would be if it were to turn up!  Thank you for sharing Norman.


Has anyone had contact with any of the survivors listed in the obituary?  I'm too far away to do much good although my son lives in San Francisco if he can be of any help.  I researched an old MG I once owned and found the original owner living about 200 miles from me.  One weekend I drove the car up to his house and gave him a ride.  He had kept the original tools and gave them to me.  I also have an old electric lamp made for a bank in Chicago about 1907.  After discovering who made it I found his great granddaughter living about 40 miles from me.  I have found people are usually happy and excited to talk about interesting family members.   

Russ Mappin had contacted John Mitchell himself many years ago.  Others have contacted relatives.


I am curious, what did John Mitchell have to say about his Quaranta when Russ contacted him directly?


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