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THE MYSTERY OF THE ALL-WAVE 27 EXPLAINED – MAYBE!

I use my holidays to catchup on my hobbies and my research, I’ve done a couple of resent posts here, one on AW 27 ownership showing some of the cabinets and phono options they came with and I also posted an early 1937 Scott AW 23 price list. This early 1937 price list was produced as Scott was changing over their AW 23 production to the production of their all-new Philharmonic. The Philharmonic was a major production change over for Scott as you know because they were switching from the turret system they had been using going back to the original AW 12. A production change over like this require much more tooling, which takes more time. The AW 27 (Baby Quaranta) was produced in this early 1937 production change over period. The final AW 23 price list I posted here earlier may holds some clues to why Scott produce the AW 27 and why so few exist today.

 

What makes the early 1937 AW 23 price list interesting is a few things. First, the cabinet lineup changes from the old standard cabinets that Scott offered with their AW 23 starting in 1935. Cabinets like Imperial Grande, the Nelson, Valencia, Lido and others were dropped from the price list. In 1936, Scott offered a staggering 32 cabinets including some cabinets with size variations to accommodate certain record players. The cabinet lineup in this early 1937 price list show here was cut to only 8 cabinets. The next Scott price list, which came out around April or May of 1937,  would introduce the Philharmonic with the same 8 cabinets that were in the last AW 23 price list plus two more, the all-new Secretaire and they brough back the popular Tasman rounding their cabinet lineup to 10. Scott started to trim the number of cabinets the offered their customers toward the end in 1936.   In the Scott March of 1936 news letter Scott would introduce  their Volume Range Expander used with their AW23.  The company promoted heavy in their 1936 price lists from March on this AW 23  Volume Range Expander. What’s even more interesting is in this early 1937 price list the Volume Range Expander is no longer offered as an option when ordering an AW 23. You can see this transition to the Philharmonic line start at Scott in this short window from the beginning of 1937 to April of 1937 starting with the same cabinet being introduce in the two price lists. Keep in mind, Scott had to start bringing the Philharmonic production online and at the same time continue to the production of their popular AW 23 model. Change overs like this were a challenge for the manufacture and normal production procedures were often modified to accommodate the change-over in models.

One thought that could explain why the Volume Range Expander not offered in the early 1937 AW price list could be that Scott had produced several extra tuners chassis for their top of the line 40 tube Quaranta models. These were produced for a very limited market with their $2,500 price tags. If Scott had several of these Quaranta tuners in their inventories as the Philharmonic came online, they may have been looking for creative ways to use these left over Quaranta chassis. One way the could have moved slow selling or extra inventory like this was  if an AW 23 customer wanted the Volume Range Expander, which was not currently offered in the most current 1937 price list, Scott would switched these customer to the  Quaranta chassis designed to accommodate the Volume Range Expander. Thus the AW 27 (Baby Quaranta) could have been invented out of a process invented to eliminate excess inventory during Scott’s major production switch over to the Philharmonic. It would have been a no brainer to do, especially if you were looking for way not to have produce more AW 23 chassis at the time.

 

I could be totally wrong on this theory but with only one surviving, complete Quaranta found to date a couple of less compete examples out there and only 20 of the AW 27s found to date this would help explain the scarcity of the AW 27s. It would also help explain why these AW 27s are not listed in any of Scott promotional materials. There were a limited number of Quaranta chassis left over and Scott put them to good use up selling their AW 23 customers, telling them for a little more money they could get the same tuner used in their $2,500 Quarantas.

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I also need to add here that Scott dropped the promotion of their Quaranta model from their early 1937 AW 23 price list.

Scott did not do production runs prior to WWII but they would have had stamped chassis in runs hence the raw chassis were available.  Using these chassis when receiving an order including the volume range expander is quite plausible.  I have an October 5, 1936 letter from Scott offering a potential customer an AW-27 described as a "complete combination of a 23-tube Scott Receiver with built in Volume Range Expander" including recording and playback equipment for $997.00 "tax paid".  The receiver described in the letter matches my Rivinia Grande but the customer purchased an AW-23 in Roslyn Grande console.

I have two (almost) complete Quaranta receivers.  The Beardsley Quaranta, originally 50-tubes but being restored as a 48-tube receiver (record scratch suppressor not being included) with an original cost of $3500 and the lesser known Barrett Quaranta with a Capehart record changer, originally 40-tubes, record scratch suppressor added by Scott representative for 42-tubes (being restored as a 40-tube receiver) with an original cost of $3000.  I am in the process of reproducing the power amplifier for this receiver.

Norm ... I understand that Scott was producing they're AW 23 at the time based on orders. If you watch the Scott films of their AW 15 being assembly you see that they are producing a number of ordered radios at the same time. I agree with you Norm that Scott did not do production runs in the since where they inventoried finished, unsold radios. But Scott would have had to re-tool, for the new Philharmonic, ordering chassis and other electronic parts from their suppliers in order to stock pile these parts as the readied to produce a totally new receiver. In the mean time they would continue to fill AW 23 orders coming in. I guess my big point here is that Scott would be looking for resourceful ways to use up their AW 23 and Quaranta parts inventories in order to make room for incoming Philharmonic parts need in their inventories for the new model production. In a since, Scott operated making production runs when they built multiple radios at one time based of pre-sold orders. Taking into consideration that Scott stopped promoting the Volume Range Expander and the Quaranta in their early 1937 price list kind of tells their customer if they want an AW 23 with the Volume Range Expander you need to order the AW 27 version. 

I think I did this exercise once before, here's how that AW 23 would prices out you mention in your letter. 

AW-23:                      $192.50

Expander:                  $  35.00

2-tweeters:               $  16.00

Rivinia Cabinet:         $198.50

RC-1 turntable:         $  97.50

12" Presto record cutter: $400.00 

Total                         $939.50

So, the AW 27 was around the same price as the AW23 price separately.


Norman S Braithwaite said:

Scott did not do production runs prior to WWII but they would have had stamped chassis in runs hence the raw chassis were available.  Using these chassis when receiving an order including the volume range expander is quite plausible.  I have an October 5, 1936 letter from Scott offering a potential customer an AW-27 described as a "complete combination of a 23-tube Scott Receiver with built in Volume Range Expander" including recording and playback equipment for $997.00 "tax paid".  The receiver described in the letter matches my Rivinia Grande but the customer purchased an AW-23 in Roslyn Grande console.

I have two (almost) complete Quaranta receivers.  The Beardsley Quaranta, originally 50-tubes but being restored as a 48-tube receiver (record scratch suppressor not being included) with an original cost of $3500 and the lesser known Barrett Quaranta with a Capehart record changer, originally 40-tubes, record scratch suppressor added by Scott representative for 42-tubes (being restored as a 40-tube receiver) with an original cost of $3000.  I am in the process of reproducing the power amplifier for this receiver.

To add a few more thoughts on production - first, I think we are all generally agreed that Scott didn't build complete sets ahead of orders (pre-war), but they would have had chassis stock available. There are some sets/models that we see with hole caps in certain places, others clearly were drilled or punched with additional holes later in the process - so the "custom" aspect is supported by visible evidence. It may be that an order for a 23 with expander became an AW27 order...the serial numbers for AW27 sets are in just a few prefixes, but the sets are definitely <not> clumped in those prefixes. They are also in the higher prefixes (T and up), which are later built sets. There are a couple in the A prefix, but it has issues all its own that require a longer discussion on serial numbers. Anyway - I can't find much wrong with the logic so far on these. The biggest question though is an owners manual - Scott ALWAYS did manuals and they are detailed to knob functions, tube layout, etc. I'm still surprised there isn't a manual for an "Allwave High Fidelity incorporating the Volume Expander" or something like that.

Is the AW 27 chassis about the same size as the chassis used in the Quaranta? I was unclear on that but if it is indeed the same size that supports the use-them-up theory.

It's the same tuner used in the Quaranta Bruce.

I think the absence of a manual for an AW 27 incorporating the Volume Expander" seems to help support the idea Scott was just trying move the remaining Quaranta tuner chassis in their inventory by up selling customers sets like Norms letter describes. Scott's advertising for their AW 23 started in May of 1935 and and ran with out interruption until October of 1936 according to your research. I never understood why Scott resumed their advertising for their AW 15 set after 17 straight months of AW 23 only ads, running AW 15 ads in a few key publications for just two months, October and November of 1936 is kind of odd. Scott went back to running their AW 23 ads for their final run from December of 1936 to April of 1937 with the Philharmonic ads starting in May of 1937. Why two months of AW 15 ads? It could be that Scott had a few AW 15 chassis in their inventory and they were also trying to move out the final AW 15 chassises and parts. There was a Great Depression going on and manufactures did not waist materials they used them up until they were gone. 

Kent King said:

To add a few more thoughts on production - first, I think we are all generally agreed that Scott didn't build complete sets ahead of orders (pre-war), but they would have had chassis stock available. There are some sets/models that we see with hole caps in certain places, others clearly were drilled or punched with additional holes later in the process - so the "custom" aspect is supported by visible evidence. It may be that an order for a 23 with expander became an AW27 order...the serial numbers for AW27 sets are in just a few prefixes, but the sets are definitely <not> clumped in those prefixes. They are also in the higher prefixes (T and up), which are later built sets. There are a couple in the A prefix, but it has issues all its own that require a longer discussion on serial numbers. Anyway - I can't find much wrong with the logic so far on these. The biggest question though is an owners manual - Scott ALWAYS did manuals and they are detailed to knob functions, tube layout, etc. I'm still surprised there isn't a manual for an "Allwave High Fidelity incorporating the Volume Expander" or something like that.

The most likely reason the ads show an AW15 is just that they reused an older image, probably a rush job to get the ad done. The ad does not mention the AW15 - in fact, it is all about the AW23. Just the picture is wrong. I know they reused images of sets in ads, there are several examples of images outside the timeframe of the set production. I wouldn't read too much into a couple ads (probably submitted at the same time) with the wrong image.


That would explain it. Scott ads look like they were designed and produced by advertising agency or professional design person, which would reduce the chance of a wrong image switch. I've worked in the advertising agency business for over 40 years and I've seen something like this happen, not often though. 

I had an interesting conversation with a friend who's a major player in the jukebox restoration world who owns a Philharmonic and an AW15. We were discussion the AW 27 and the AW 23 and the use of the expander and who started the use of an expander in the radio industry. He mentioned to me that the Mills jukebox company in 1936 and 1937 used a similar expander on their jukeboxes. Mill used the expander to differentiate their jukeboxes from the larger jukebox companies like Wurlitzer, Rockola and Seeburg jukebox by claiming better sound with their expander. My friend suggested that I go back to the online date archives and search the radio publications for stories on the expander and its development. It looks like Scott was the first with the first story on this technology. Since Scott had already produce and sold AW 23's before the expander was introduced it was marketed as an add on up sale to customer going forward after March of 1936. My guess is that Scott made the expander as an add on because, it could be sold as an option to potential new customers and Scott the could also market the expander to past AW 23 customers as well who may want the new technology. Have you seen any evidence of Scott going back and marketing the expander to their past AW 23 customers?  The introduction of the expander and the building and marketing of the Quaranta sets were in this 1936 early 37 time period right when McMurdo Silver had introduce their very hot preforming McMurdo V set. This period was really the hight of the product and marketing war going between the two companies. It was also a very interesting time in radio history, this product/marketing war yelled the advancement of a new kind of listing experience, High Fidelity. 


Kent King said:

The most likely reason the ads show an AW15 is just that they reused an older image, probably a rush job to get the ad done. The ad does not mention the AW15 - in fact, it is all about the AW23. Just the picture is wrong. I know they reused images of sets in ads, there are several examples of images outside the timeframe of the set production. I wouldn't read too much into a couple ads (probably submitted at the same time) with the wrong image.

Physically it is the same.  Electronically it is different.

Norman

David Wilson said:

It's the same tuner used in the Quaranta Bruce.

I doubt that a manual was produced specifically for the AW-27.  Most likely Scott Radio Laboratories produced an addendum similar to that for other low production and early release products.

Norman

So I did some digging - you got me thinking about things I had read...I've located the following:

The first letter I have describing the Volume Range Expander is dated Feb 15, 1936

From "What's the Answer - An Open Letter to McMurdo Silver" dated Oct 7, 1936:


I will take just a few of these so called "New Engineering ideas never before found in any set,"

and call your bluff on them.

"NEW-Built-in Electronic Volume Range Expander for Radio and Phonograph reproduction."

You are just about eight months too late to describe this feature as "New", for volume range expansion operating on both radio and phonograph, was first built into and sold in a Scott Receiver in 1935. The Scott Expander uses a special push pull circuit which was developed in our own research laboratories,
and is not simply a Chinese copy, like yours, of the circuit and tubes used in the R.C.A. D-22, which was brought out many months before the Masterpiece V was announced. I will donate $100.00 to any charity you name if you can prove a Scott did not have built-in volume range expansion for use on both radio and phonograph reproduction in 1935.

and from a letter dated Oct 25, 1937:

The 23 TUBE SCOTT has been designed for those who do not desire the Program Volume Range Expander or the Scratch Suppressor built into the PHILHARMONIC, features that require six extra tubes. It is used by distance fanatics in every part of the world, and I have in my files hundreds of enthusiastic letters telling of the marvelous DX reception it is providing its owners. Being equipped with variable Selectivity and variable Sensitivity controls, it is particularly suitable for those who are interested in DX reception, especially on the broadcast band. The tonal range of the 23 TUBE SCOTT is identical with that of the PHILHARMONIC, being capable of reproducing the complete audible range from 30 to 16,000 cycles, and it has an undistorted
output of 35 watts. This is the receiver for those who are looking for a super-powerful, super-sensitive receiver, but who do not desire the Program Volume Range Expander or Scratch Suppressor features.

The last letter certainly indicates he was selling AW23 sets without the expander at the very end of its life.

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