A Stromberg-Carlson A.C. Dual-Wave Radio Model 635 from Yallourn – by Ken Tate
In 1936 my grandfather, Sid Tate, bought a new Stromberg-Carlson A.C. Dual-Wave Radio Model 635 from the local radio repair man in Yallourn (a nearby neighbour), with the money he earned from working overtime at the Yallourn Power Station. This provided news and entertainment for the family and was very useful during the War listening to the BBC on the short wave band as they had family in England. When the radio repair man retired, he let my father Ray who was experimenting with radio, to help himself to anything he wanted from under the house in the way of valves, components, etc.
My grandfather was a welder by trade but experimented in making his own pickup cartridges to enable him to play records through the PU input of the radio, however the radio audio amplifier did not have enough gain to be successful and would have required a preamp. Eventually he converted the Stromberg into a radiogram by splitting the cabinet and widening it to add a turntable.
The now Stromberg radiogram was eventually handed down to my father and when a new Precedent Radiogram was purchased the Stromberg was retired to the back shed. This is about the time I remember the Stromberg Carlson shortly before the radio chassis was extracted and kept whilst the remainder went to the tip, as we were shifting house.
I set up the Stromberg chassis in my bedroom as a teenager in the late 1960’s, as I was dabbling in electronics which had rubbed off from my father after he made me a two transistor bedroom radio in my younger years. We used a 15W globe in place of the power supply filter choke on the Stromberg as I only had a permanent magnet speaker at the time. I managed to get an electric shock from the exposed terminals on the tuning signal strength meter, which dad promptly removed.
In 1975 we shifted house again and the Stromberg ended up in the garden shed at the new house for many years. In the early 1990’s I placed a wanted advertisement in the HRSA newsletter for a cabinet or photos and dimensions so I could have a replica cabinet built for the Stromberg Carlson but no one come forward.
I also remembered Arthur Hamilton from Yallourn used to have a Stromberg Carlson hanging up on the wall of his open fronted garage which had severe weather damage down one side, this was around 1971 as I used to be friends with his sons. However the SECV town of Yallourn was demolished for the brown coal under it to supply the Yallourn Power Stations and all the residents had to move out. I tracked down Arthur’s youngest son and asked him about the radio, he did not remember it but said his father moved to Bendigo and would most likely still have it. I contacted Arthur and he agreed to sell me the Stromberg Carlson for $75 and even delivered it as he was coming down my way in the near future. I don’t know how I knew or remembered from 20 years earlier that Arthurs Stromberg Carlson was the same model as my grandfathers but it was… maybe the dial, tuning indicator and knob layout was the clue burnt into my brain.
I then had a friend who was handy with timber refurbish the cabinet, most of the veneer was missing on the weathered side plus other damage and it was missing one leg. Then when my parents went on their annual Queensland holiday I secretly removed our original Stromberg Carlson chassis from their garden shed. I replaced the necessary caps and the detector/1st audio valve (75) as it was missing its top cap and then fitted our original chassis to its new cabinet.
Then on my father’s 65th birthday I presented it to him gift wrapped which was quite a surprise and it now resides in his study and the chassis from Arthur's set is safely stored in a cupboard in my shed.