This great picture of the Chicago Zenith Radio store or, maybe, more correctly, ‘radio palace’ was brought to my attention via link on the Colorado Radio Club website which in turn comes from the excellent Encyclopedia of Chicago (EOC) website. The picture seems to be a little underexposed probably since the picture was probably shot at dawn or at dusk after a rainstorm. Still, you can a lot of detail. The EOC website has a very nice photo zoom feature that is attached to the photo. I have used that to zoom in on the display windows so you can see what was displayed and have also ‘Photoshopped’ those views to bring out a little more detail. Were I more organized, I’d pull out some reference books (they are somewhere!) and toss out some model numbers but figuring that out should maybe be part of the fun anyway! I was expecting to see a Zenith Stratosphere but this was 1936 and according to David Wilson’s excellent ‘Behind The Dial‘ Zenith Stratosphere site, the ‘Strat’ was only made in 1934 and 1935, so you can scratch that one. Perhaps a 1934 or 1935 picture of this old radio ’shrine’ exists somewhere. One head scratcher is: Why is the ‘ZEN’ in Zenith highlighted?
Here is the info the the EOC site has with this picture: ‘Console radio units are displayed in model living rooms in two illuminated, floor-to-ceiling windows of this Zenith Radio store in Chicago in September 1936. Personal radio purchases increased after the passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936, which coincided with a drop in radio prices and increased sales for the Chicago company.‘
This photo was taken by Philip B. Maher of Hedrich-Blessing. It comes to all of us from the Chicago Historical Society and is their photo number (HB-03549-C).
To see the full sized pictures, just click on the thumbnails above!