Antique Radio Restoration

RCA Radiola 60 restoration

The radio of this post is certainly one of the most famous among worldwide collectors: the Radiola 60 produced in 1928 by the major American company Radio Corporation of America (RCA), also distributed in Italy by Compagnia Generale di Elettricità (CGE) from Milan, like the models Superette R7 and R8.

This model was a true milestone in the radio development, since it was the first super-heterodyne receiver which was directly powered by the alternating current mains.

Regarding the circuit, the radio has 9 tubes, i.e. 7 indirectly heated triodes (UX-227), a directly-heated output triode (UX-271), a duo-diode rectifier (UX-280). The radio circuit is split between two chassis: the first is the power unit, containing the power transformer, the diodes, two big filter reactors and several filter capacitors; the other chassis is the receiver itself, including the radio-frequency, intermediate frequency and audio-frequency stages. This assembly, with the power supply separated from the receiver, is similar to the older radios, where the device was powered by batteries or external power supply.

In regard of its shape and its mechanical design, this model may look like the older Radiola 17 and 18, among the very first mass-produced radios designed to operate on AC, but the Radiola 60 brought the true change was the usage of the super-heterodyne principle, patented just ten years before by Edwin Armstrong in the US and by Lucien Lévy in France.


The radio of this post has been completely restored, both its wooden cabinet and the electronic part: externally, after the restoration (the case was badly broken and one side was “open” at the joint), looks stunning, with refinished cabinet, the escutcheon in aluminum alloy without any oxidation, and the four golden feet incredibly intact (since made by paper pulp).

Also internally it is in very nice conditions, with the two chassis clean and nearly rust free; the surface has been waxed after cleaning.


Electrically, the restoration required only replacing the variable tuning condenser which was warped and damaged (we found an original spare part in the United States) and some capacitors of the power unit, which were in bad leakage, overcharging the rectifier tube and compromising the correct polarity of the tubes; all the original parts were left disconnected at the same place, to keep the radio completely original. For safety, just the asbestos stripe has been removed.

Also the power fabric cord and the Bakelite plug were original and in good shape.


For listening, it needs an external high-impedance speaker and the usual connection to antenna and ground. In this case, the radio had its right companion, the RCA 103 Tapestry Speaker , with the grill cloth and the rear dust cover in good conditions.


After the restoration, the radio was fully working (it is a standard broadcast receiver), with surprising audio quality if we consider that it dates back to the 20s.

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