Majestic Ellswood 153, Lowboy 1931


 If you haven't heard much about American Wireless sets then probably lowboy won't mean much to you. There are two types of cabinet with legs; the Highboy and the Lowboy. Both made their appearance at about the same time around 1927 and the names merely refer to a radio with legs; the lowboy's legs are from 6 inches to less than half the cabinet height and the highboy's starting at about half the height of the radio cabinet.

About 3000 or more different models were available in the 30s alone so identification is not that easy if missing its back or maker's nameplate.

This very grand-looking, walnut-cased model, is a "Majestic Ellswood" made by the Grigsby Grunow Company of Chicago. It actually came from Ebbw Vale which is nowhere near Chicago. In fact, close examination reveals that this radio was made for export: it carries a Marconi License plate and the mains transformer is wound for 230 volts.

The control knobs appear to be turned from hardwood and the mains plug is also made from wood.

Like nearly all American designed sets it caters for only medium waves as, strangely, the long wave band wasn't in use for broadcasting much outside Europe.

An early superhet, it has an IF of 175KHz.

Rear view of chassis with lots of labels

Loudspeaker with wet electrolytic and tone correction capacitor

 Original Welsh mains plug turned from wood. The plug was a type referred to as an "adaptor". Before the general use of ring mains and wall-mounted sockets, most electrical items were plugged into the nearest light socket fitted with a 2-way socket. My guess is this radio hasn't been used for upwards of 60 years?

 View showing the inconsequential tuning dial. US sets had only a medium waveband because long waves weren't commonly used for broadcasting outside Europe.

Fancy dials were starting to appear in Europe around the date this set was made, primarily because of the large number of interesting broadcasts one could hear, unlike the US where, unless you lived close to several large cities, the choice was only relatively local broadcasts. At night of course the dial would be jam packed with stations.

The obligatory label indicating that the purchaser had paid a license fee (included in the purchase price) to Mr Marconi

 Various paper labels on the inside of the set. This one wasn't much use as protectionism in the UK meant that only British valves were sold openly.

A "grey" industry for experimenters did allow for foreign valves to be purchased from under the counter.

 The valve line-up, all with UX bases... click the number to see the data sheet

Majestic manufactured their own valves but included US industry standard codes

G24 Similar to RCA Type 24A, Sharp-Cutoff Tetrode

G24S Similar to RCA Type 24A, Sharp-Cutoff Tetrode. The "S" stands for "Spray-shield"

G47 Similar to RCA Type 47, Power Pentode

G51S Screen grid tetrode similar to Brunswick type 551 and Raytheon ER551, almost identical to RCA type 35 which was a copy of the first variable mu valve.

G80 Similar to RCA Type 80, Full Wave Rectifier

The terms "Screen Grid" and "Superhetrodyne" indicated state of art in 1931.

More labels

Just in case it had been bumped in transit?

Early circuit and Later circuit

See the Service Manual (this is the Model 15)

See more pictures of old radios

return to entrance