Post war design had its fair share of ups and downs. With recession and rations still rife, people were probably more concerned about food and clothing rather than the latest hi-tech gadgets (my how things have changed!). However, there were a few classic designs aside from the odd attractive Cadillac or Buick and none more so than the strange new devices that were designed to bring a new form of entertainment wirelessly into the home.
These devices were of course radios. They were a far cry from today’s plastic boom boxes though; instead, wood was a popular material and the designs still look great today with sweeping curves that emanated compactness and quality while adhering to the aviation inspired Streamline Moderne design which had recently replaced Art Deco. It’s from these early radios, specifically a Stromberg-Carlson model from the mid 1940s that Jeffrey Stephenson (aka slipperyskip) has taken inspiration for what is sure to be a classic scratch build. Over to Jeffrey.
I’m always looking for inspiration from the radio and clock designers of the Thirties and Forties. One of the most prolific brands of that era was the Ingraham Cabinet Company of Bristol, Connecticut. Ingraham contracted out to such companies as General Electric, Emerson, and Stromberg-Carlson to design and manufacture their radio enclosures. My favourite Ingraham design, and the inspiration for this case mod, is the 1946 Stromberg-Carlson Model 1110H.
Above on the left is Jeffrey's creation, on the right, the Stromberg-Carlson 1110H - Image courtesy of oldradioarchives.com
For this project I had been on the lookout for a design with more curves than I had used for my past projects such as The Skyscraper Photo PC. The gentle curve of the Stromberg-Carlson’s top appealed to me and so did the design of the radio’s footer. I used these elements in my rendition while at the same time ignoring the radio’s dial design. I hoped to improve on that area with some design ideas of my own.
The final decision to use the Stromberg-Carlson radio as an inspiration was made after I discovered that I had by chance, saved a photo of the radio many, many years ago in an old ‘keeper’ folder. I put a lot of weight on these kinds of signs. For the record, I don’t actually own a Model 1110H nor have I ever seen one in person. My only contact has been with photos from radio collector web sites and eBay listings.
The foundation for this mod is the Silverstone LC06 LaScala mini-ITX case. It matches the proportion of the radio’s face and — like the Stromberg-Carlson — concentrates its controls at the bottom of the face. It is also made of aluminium which makes it much easier to modify than a steel case.