EH Scott Radio Enthusiasts

The Fine Things are Always Hand Made

As most of you know, I've been gathering and analyzing Scott serial numbers for over 20 years. I have a couple requests....first, if you haven't sent me your serial numbers, please do. Also...if any of you have a confirmed date for a set/serial number, please send me that. There is a warranty tag on ebay at the moment, these are great, since they have the date and serial number on them. A letter with a date is also good confirmation. I would greatly appreciate any info you fellows can provide. I'll post more about serial numbers here in the future.


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I appreciate your comments here. I did go back and look at the E. H. Scott Collector’s Guide tonight when I got home from work and I answered my question to Kent about his source. His source was Scott News October 1930 for the introduction of the AW 12. Sorry, I should have look this up before asking Kent here.

I agree with you that Scott was probably testing their AW 12 in the 8 months leading up to Scott’s advertising campaign launch to support their new radio. 

Being in the advertising agency business for over 36 years I have a different view though concerning Scotts advertising and Radio News. I have managed several national accounts for U.S. product manufactures and have a good understand of media buying that goes into these kinds of campaigns. I enjoy collecting old magazines, studying the advertising and advertising strategies used in some of these old advertising campaigns. So collecting old and then getting to study the marketing and advertising behind the radio companies like Scott, McMurdo and Zenith are kind of a bonus for me.

 Norm, yes there were other magazines Scott advertised in, two of which were Fortune and Nation Geographic. I own a complete set of National Geographic magazines, bound by each year going all the way through the 1930’s and Scott did very limited ads in that publication due to the cost it looks like. I also own a large collection of Fortune Magazines with most of the issues from the 1930’s, which Scott ran a couple ads in and Zenith also ran a couple full page ads for their 1000 Z Stratosphere at the about the same time as Scott. These magazines had large circulation for the time and a small radio manufacturing company like Scott, who was only making only 3,000 to 5,000 radios a year, could not sustain a regular advertising schedule in them due to the cost. My research indicates that Scott most likely tested magazines like Fortune and National Geographic on a very limited basis because one reach the industry leaders who made the kind of money it took in a depression to by a $300 radio and the other reached the wealthier world travelers. Scott would have had to run 6 ads a year minimum in each publication to achieve an effective reach and frequency. I think they found they were not getting results and it just was not sustainable.

 Scott and other small direct to consumers radio manufactures focused their media buys in publications where serious radio listening aficionados were subscribing and they could afford to run the ads in almost every issue, achieving an effective maxim reach and frequency to get their message noticed. Radio News was the first and only big magazine category from 1919 to 1929. Radio Craft Magazine became their direct competition in 1929.  Direct to consumers radio sellers like Scott did not advertising in large radio industry publications like Radio Retailing and Radio Today because these magazine target audience were radio distributor or resellers who they did not use.  So, if you look at Radio News it was the primary magazine that the direct to consumer radio manufactures like Scott, Midwest and Silver Marshall and later McMurdo Silver competed in almost every issue with large ads for radio sales. Many of these companies advertised in Radio News consistently for a good part of the 1930’s.  These companies were consistent advertisers in the magazine and because of this make the magazine is good indicator of where these companies were spending there adverting money behind each radio model they sold and when their models changed.

As far as your theory of switching from one magazine to the other, that is not how print media is usually bought in my industry. Successful campaign run ads constantly in publications with the correct target audience and where the manufacture is gets the best return on their advertising investment.

 So let’s look at what the research Radio News research shows us. In Radio News Magazine in 1930 no editorial or ads ran on the Scott’s AW 12 and no editorial or ads ran on the Scott AW 12 from January 1931 to May 1931 ether. Keep in mind, Radio Craft Magazine, Radio’s News’s new competition started publishing in July of 1929 and was just starting to build its circulation and had much less advertisers because of their low number subscribers  at the time. More on Radio News can be found here:

This is what ran from June 1931 to June 1932 in terms radio

ads in Radio News Magazine:

E.H. Scott: (17) full-page ads*

Lincoln Radio:  (7) full-page ads

Silver Marshall: (12 full-page ads

Midwest: (10) full page-ads*

* More than one full-page ads per issue.


What does this tell us, it tells us that Radio News was effective for all these companies because they kept advertising in the publication. This research tells us Scott out spent there nearest competition, Silver Marshall by 30% in Radio News in their first full year of selling the AW 12.  It tells us that Scott started their marketing for their dual dial, AW 12 in June of 1931 and they switch advertising in June of 1932 to focus selling their new single dial AW 12. So I think, in Scott’s case, Radio News it’s a good indication when radio sales start for a model and when there is a model changed and who had the strongest advertising voice in their marketing efforts.

I will keep you posted here on what I learn and will continue to collect Scott serial numbers form collectors I know and submit them here.



Norman S Braithwaite said:

David: Scott advertised in several periodicals switching from one to another on occasion. One must research all popular periodicals at the time to get the full story. Scott also tended to introduce new models based on prototypes and mock ups before the model sold to the public was available. I assessed the introduction date of the Allwave Superhetrodyne ( 2-dial) as January 1931 based on the first advertisement showing the model as it was received by the customer. Kent may have have assessed the introduction date based on an ad showing a prototype.


David -

I already have an extensive inventory of Scott advertising and articles. I started on this many years ago, it includes a master index and copies of every ad fills two large binders. For the AW12-2...Scott did show a prototype set in the Scott News, the actual shipping of AW12-2 sets to consumers probably didn't begin until 1931. Scott often "teased" new sets in the Scott News prior to print advertising. Setting a start or end date for any set is, at best, an educated guess. 


David:  In addition to Radio News and Radio Craft plus the very limited general public outreach in National Geographic and Fortune, Scott also advertised in Radio Age, Radio Broadcast, Citizens Radio Call Book, Short Wave Craft, and Short Wave Radio and Television, not all at the same time and not any at all times.  Relying on only one or two of these sources will fail to recognize the full picture.



I totally get it now, Kent and I had an email exchange on the subect this morning and he had dialed it in for me. The AW 12 advertising did start closer to the radio's intorduction in Ocotber 1930 issue of the Scott News. It looks like to me Scott was using all these smaller radio magazines to grow it's advertising reach (total persons who viewed their ads) which was need to be more effective in marketing to a very small group of people, during an economic depression, that were interested or could afford a high end radio like a Scott. 

This process of media buying also helped Scott to evoalve a successful maketing approach by using the smaller magazines to test selling their radios. The company understood who their market was, how to reach this niche market, which led to the selling of 1,000's of expensive radios a year. Scott was better in the area marketing high end radios than a company like Zenith, a leader in world radio sales, and sold tens of thousands of radios a year. It took Zenith all of 1935 though 1938 to sell 350 of their high end radios 1000Z Stratosphere radios and 1936 through 1938 to sell 475 Zenith A-16-61 and 63 Stratophere radios. The reason Scott was so sucessfull in this area of the market an Zenith was not is Scott consistanly marketed in magazines like Radio News and got editoral reviews on their radios and Zenith did not. If Zenith had studied Scott's marketing approach and competed in the same areas as Scott they would sold their out their Stratosphere line in a year. The high end market for radios that Scott competed for was not of real intest to Zenith and they did not go after it agressively. The Stratophere line was produced so Commander McDonald, the president of Zenith at the time,  could sell his rich friends a highend radio that had the Zenith name on it and he could claim in a room of rich people that Stratosphere radios were the finest in the world at the time.

Thanks for you feedback Norm!


Norman S Braithwaite said:

David:  In addition to Radio News and Radio Craft plus the very limited general public outreach in National Geographic and Fortune, Scott also advertised in Radio Age, Radio Broadcast, Citizens Radio Call Book, Short Wave Craft, and Short Wave Radio and Television, not all at the same time and not any at all times.  Relying on only one or two of these sources will fail to recognize the full picture.


Mr. King,

There is an AW23 for sale on Facebook which is located in Alexandria Egypt.  The serial number is V-594.


David Willenborg

Dave - Thanks, that is a new number, as I'd expect. It's been an interesting week, I've had several new numbers, including two that are "significant", expanding ranges in some way. I haven't had this much new data in months...


Did Scott or other radio makers of this era use "markers" in their ads to measure ad efficiency and effectiveness?  Several years ago I studied several Midwestern lighting manufactures from around 1900 and as my clipping files accumulated I noticed a correlation between different dept #'s that could be tracked to specific magazine issues for use in measuring ad effectiveness.  One company in particular owned warehouse space occupying a city block and chose different street address numbers for use in tracking ad effectiveness.  In the early days of postal delivery about all that was needed was the company name and city for the parcel or correspondence to reach its destination.


The serial number of my Scott 23 Tube All-wave (7-knob version) is U591.  Do you have any information on who the original owners were based on the serial numbers?  My grandfather found this one in a second hand store in Cleveland, Ohio around 1958.

Eric - There is no owner information surviving from Scott Radio. All the company records were destroyed following their final bankruptcy in the 1950s. It is only years of research on over 1600 known serial numbers that has given me the ability to estimate production dates. U-591 was probably built in the first quarter of 1937, being a higher serial number and based on one other date in the "U" prefix. 

Hi Kent,

Your comment on Eric's post here esitmates his AW 23 serial # U-591 was made in first quarter of 1937. My AW 27 is serial # Z-588, just three serial numbers from his. I remember you posting here on the subject of AW 23s and 27s being produced in the same production line.  Could these two radios have been produced in the same production line at the same time in the first quarter of 1937?

Also on another note, we have my AW 27 amp on the workbench and it looks like it has Z-305 marked in black grease pencil on the bottom inside, side of the amp's chassis.  Any thoughts on this?



Re: the U-591 serial number of my AW 23, it is my understanding that the U identifies the person who assembled the set and the 591 is the number of sets that particular person had assembled.  (It was done this way so that a particular set could be traced back to a particular assembler and so that the assembler's productivity could be tracked.

The idea that the alpha prefix  identified a particular craftsman builder was deemed plausible several years ago, but that theory has now fallen by the wayside.

Kent may elaborate.

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