The Fine Things are Always Hand Made
First of all, I want to thank you all for your contributions here on this blog in the way of comments and content listed in the Scott Info. Archive. I have always been interested in the history of the things I collect. Scott radios are not new to my radio collecting. I purchased a Philharmonic Beam of Light console in the Warrington cabinet over 15 years ago and I acquired an AW 15 in an Acousticraft cabinet a couple years ago. I’m a member of the Radio Collectors of New Mexico and we have some members with some serious Scott collections so I’ve had the good fortune to be able to spend some time listening and comparing the may of the Scott model with the McMurdos and event the Zenith Stratosphere models. My professional background is Advertising and Public Relations so, I have also have real interest in marketing behind these great chrome chassis radios.
The reason for my post today is to see if the members can help understand more about Scott’s obscure AW 27. I’ve learned from all the great information posted hear that there are around 20 of these radios found at this time. There is no known AW 27 Scott promotion ads, brochures featuring the radio, no owners manual or factory schematics known to exist as well. I have also learned the following here from reading through the Scott Archive newsletters and reviewing a newsletter article on the production of the Zenith Stratosphere on another site here over the weekend:
There are several events that seem to happen that leading up to the AW 27 coming on to the scene in 1936. In 1935 E.H. Scott steps up his marketing efforts with the company’s introduction of the AW 23 receiver and their Quaranta hi-fi system, shown to the public for the first time a the grand opening of Scott’s listening solon in Rockefeller Center at the end of 1935.
It is worth noting here that in 1935 Scott only real competition in the custom built radio market came from the company’s established revel McMurdo and their McMurdo IV introduce about the same time as the AW 23. 1935 was also the Zenith Radio Corporation’s first full year of marketing their new entry into the custom built chrome chassis market with their 25-tube, 1000 Z Stratosphere radio receiver. Zenith did not get they’re less expensive 16-A-61 and 16-A-63, 16-tube Stratosphere radios to market until the fall of 1935. We learn from Martin Blankenships fascinating story published on the Zenith Stratosphere in 2007 issue of the HILARA newsletter that it was Scott’s success with their AW 12 in April of 1933, as Scott went into full promotion mode during the 1933-34 Chicago Worlds Fair, that sent the President of Zenith, Commander McDonald into motion to direct his company to develop custom built radios to compete in the custom built radio segment of the radio market. McDonald was tiring of attending social functions in Chicago and Scott being the talked up as the world finest radio. Approximately 20 months later Zenith would ship their first 1000 Z for sale on December 15, 1934, totally missing any opportunity real of capitalizing on the Christmas selling season, at time when radio sales were at its highest.
All this above sets the stage for some interesting observations from what I’ve learned from reading the newsletters here on this site. A year after the introduction of the Zenith Stratosphere in December of 1935 Scott would their New York, City listing solon in Rockefeller Center, where their was as captive population of 100,000 people, may with well paying jobs in a Depression . The solon was set up demonstrate the AW 23 in the many different cabinet styles. Also, Scott had on display their Quaranta speaker console and chassis consoles at the opening of the solon. Once again, like in 1933, Scott has a big marketing push going on to promote their newest Allwave receiver. The Quaranta on display made for good publicity setting Scott in a league far above its competitors.
In April of 1936, Scott would introduce their Allwave 27 at about the same time they opened their Los Angeles listening Studio/Solon and service laboratory. During this opening a California customer’s 40-tube Scott Quaranta is on display, like at the New York solon opening. At this opening AW 23 models were on display and most likely the AW 27 because they were introduced in April of 1936 according to the Clark, King and Poland’s “E.H. Scott Collectors Guide. Scott had his third Quaranta being assembled in his LA studios lab, which he shows his visiting guests according to their May 1936 Newletter. The new Studio/Solon was strategically located near the upscale West Hollywood, Beverly Hills districts. According to the newsletter the Scott grand opening was well attended by Hollywood directors, producers and actors. These Hollywood elites were part of Scott’s target audience and the company’s highly focused marketing strategy to sell their newly expanded higher-end custom built hi-fi radio systems, that went beyond marketing their regular Scott Allwave 23 radio sets. Interestingly enough an AW 27 shows up in Scotts January 1937 Scott Newsletter on a page titled “IN THE FINER HOMES YOU WILL FIND SCOTT.” On that page is an AW 27 in a Ravinia Grande cabinet shown to be in the home of Hollywood actress Winnie Lightner.
With all of this said, my questions to members here on this blog are as follows: Are their any other images or mentions of the AW 27 in Scott Newsletters like the Winnie Lightner AW 27? It looks like AW 27 was created by Scott as and up sell in 1936 that Scott used in their newly created Scott listening solons on the east and west costs. This could explain why there is no Scott promotional material on the AW 27 in existence at this time. If there were material they were not wildly circulated like on the AW 23. Scott may have only sent letters to solon customers leads. This may have been a way to something put more custom touch in these wealthier clients Scott was trying to target with their solons. Zenith had a very high-end brochure produced for it’s 1000 Z Stratosphere, whit tissue overlays, a glued in real color photograph printed on paper stock that would rival the most expensive wedding invitation. The only 1000 Z brochure I’ve ever seen is the one I own. Zenith sent out letter with photos to like Scott did. Maybe Scott did the same for their AW 27.
Do any members here on this site have any Scott correspondence in their collections that mentions the AW 27 that could help shed any light on the subject on how this AW 27 were promoted to customers? Also, what is the source for the April 1936 introduction date for the AW 27 published in the E.H. Scott Radio Collectors Guide?
Sorry for the length of this post in order to get to these questions, I though the members here would be interest this subject since so little is know known about these great radios.
Thanks for your help!
Having just re-read this, I note that it says this special amplifier and speaker are "in addition to" the regular tuner, amp and speaker. So this is like a complete "2nd channel" of audio for an AW23. I've got to take a photo of something else to add to this discussion tonight....
David Wilson said:
This 1936 Scott Service Bulletin is great stuff! I have recently acquired an AW-27 in the Rivinia Grande cabinet with a RC-turntable. The first owner of this radio was a church in 1936 located in St. Louis area. Your bulletin’s description sure sounds similar to the history on my radio.
Thanks for sharing this!
Kent: Yes, a second AW-27 type amplifier that may have been paired with a standard AW-23 or an AW-27. It is likely that the special bass amplifier was inserted between the tuner chassis and the standard amplifier chassis and it is possible that the special bass amplifier included a cross-over network and a different input transformer.
A quick update on the AW 27 I acquired in August. I picked the radio up in the backwoods of Missouri over the Labor Day weekend. It was located in a remote area of Missouri near the French Canadian Colony of Bonnots Mill. The previous owner of the AW 27, Eric who is a member here, was our host for an amazing afternoon where we got to see his great collection and home workshop. Eric is retired from teaching and now does radio repair and restorations for others. One of the fascinating things we learned from Eric is that his father was an electronic radio technician who worked for Zenith in the Chicago factory in the mid 1930’s when the Zenith was expanding their production and producing their Stratosphere models. We learned that his father later worked on Commander McDonald’s personal radios. McDonald ran Zeinth for many years. Later, Eric's dad moved to Missouri and operated a radio repair business successfully for many years. It was Eric’s father’s radio repair building that the AW 27 was stored in. What real pleasure to me Eric and take a tour of his collection and his father’s amazing workshop full of old radios and parts! It was one of those great moments in my radio collecting life.
As for the AW 27, the Ravinia Grande cabinet has most of it’s original finish and I’m in the process of preserving that great original finish. The chrome on the AW 27 tuner turns out to be a 9 out of 10 but the amp chassis is the complete opposite story, it was corroded from rat or mice piss and had to be taken apart and is now at the chrome plating shop.
Fortunately, all the original speakers are all in great shape. The 15” Magnavox speaker had a small repair in the original felt cone. I will next treat the cone with Lanoline oil because it is pretty dried out. The felt is made of wool fiber and Lanoline should help preserve the cone.
The Garrard RC 1 has no pot metal issues and has now been cleaned and lubricated. The turntable cycles and even drops records correctly. It needs some work on the switches to get the changer to cycle and shut off correctly. The rubber idler wheel will be replaced if I can figure out how to get the patter off the changer. If there is anyone here that has taken a RC 1 apart before and knows how to get the record platter off, please let me know how that can be done. This would be greatly appreciated!
There is no idler wheel in the Garrard RC-1. The platter sits on a tapered collar but is often rusted in place. Try penetrating oil with lots of patience.
I really appreciate your help on this!!
I disassembled the RC 1 levers in the top of the mechanism, clean and lubricating them all this morning. The RC 1 now correctly cycles, dropping multiple records and playing all records them trough and then shuts off. This is a very smooth running automatic record changer. I’m thinking of having the original crystal cartage, currently in the changer, rebuilt. The other option I’m considering is to put an early GE VR mono 78 rpm cartridge in it with the a GE preamp.
Norman, what cartridge are you using in your RC 1? I would be interested in hearing from other RC 1 owners and with they are using for a cartridge too.
I finished my AW 27 restoration and put everything back in the cabinet late yesterday. Today was the first full day of listening to the radio. It's absolute the best radio I have ever heard and owned. The bass-boost on this radio is off the chart.
I had to re-cone the Magnavox 15” speaker. In order to make the speak play looser I use glycerin to loosen up the surround on the new cone. This is an old trick I learned when I re-coned my AW 15. Once this was done the speaker really performs well and sounded less stiff.
I got to thinking about the history of my AW 27 where the owner was a church in the St. Louis area when some Christmas songs with heavy organ music started playing on one of our local radio stations this morning. It reminded me of the comments made on the 1936 Scott service bulletin you posted a while back that described what Scott called a “Special Bass Amplifier” with two additional 6C6 tubes for additional bass to drive with the described in the service bulleting as an additional Jensen 18” speaker. The bulletin also talks about Scott developing the "Special Bass Amplifier" for the reproduction of the unusual amount of bass amplification need for recordings of organ music. I have to tell you when you hear heavy organ music play on the AW 27 it gets your attention!
To me your Scott bulletin is written as if Scott created the AW 27 like amp to go with Scott’s “ FULL RANGE HI FIDELTY” receiver (AW 23) for the special purpose of using in Mortuaries and possibility churches too. In my mind One of the things that makes the AW 27 unique sounding is the way Scott designed the bass boost circuit in the receiver to work with the expander and the amp with the additional 6C6’s. Maybe the AW 27 ended up being a spinoff idea from what your 1936 Scott service bulletin was describing as a “Special Bass Amplifier” with an extra 18" speaker.
A nice thread from 2017 about the AW-27 history. I plan to start listening to my set this weekend and wondered if there has been any new findings in the past 4 years on the AW-27's ?
I think it's been pretty quiet on the AW 27 front here since you found yours Bruce. I did have an email discussion with Kent a while back about maybe putting out a call here for AW 27 owners to give us their cabinet type that their 27 is installed in. Also, if they have a record player set up, which record player do they have installed in their 27 cabinet or if they have a record cutter set up, like Norms 27s has in it. I think it would be interest to see how these AW 27s were ordered from Scott. Let's see if our members here with AW 27's will do that for us here in this post.
Your AW 27 is a great choice for listening to the old Christmas music! You have inspired me to fire up my 27 and do the same! Happy Holidays All!