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favorite this post 1935 Sparton of Canada 154B Bluebird Glass Mirror Radio - $4999 (Quebec at Terminal) hide this posting unhide

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Quebec at Terminal

(google map)

condition: excellent
make / manufacturer: Sparton of Canada
model name / number: Bluebird 154B
size / dimensions: 14"x10"x14"

The famous Bluebird radio was designed in 1935 by American industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague [1883-1960] as part of a new Sparton line of glass mirror radios unveiled on September 18th, that also includes the Nocturne and the Sled. Taking pictures of these radios is challenging, when trying to avoid reflections in their mirrors, but fun when trying the opposite. This is American streamline art deco at its best by the "Dean of Design", who shared his passion for chromed trims with RCA's chief designer John Vassos. Speed lines or the front view of a triplane - you make your choice. In contemporary ads the radio sits on a "plateau", matching the 14" diameter front mirror. This was an option for a "small extra cost". The few plateaus sold and and even fewer surviving are amazingly rare in decent condition, but fortunately the Bluebird is also abundantly available as a 1990's replica very worth buying. I sacrificed a 1997 Crosley CR-37, to harvest its front mirror, which looks to be more expensive to make than the original, having 8 holes instead of one. A perfect plateau, perfectly matching the midnight blue of the original, and the radio perfectly concealing the holes, 4 of which are used to feed through 4 stilts, to take the radio's weight off the mirror. We have here the very rare Sparton of Canada version model 154B, that favorably differs from the US model 566: a larger cabinet accommodating a chassis with a life-saving isolating transformer and an unobstructed speaker on top, no "curtain burner" power cord and ebonized wooden knobs matching the two ball feet. Even the dial is different, the Canadians showing a lovely little blue bird, resembling Larry, the Twitter bird. The chassis was recapped where necessary, the tubes optimized, and a 3.5mm closed circuit phone plug installed. The radio had been a prop in at least two movies, the 1936 film "Born To Dance", with Virginia Bruce and James Stewart, when she sings "I've Got you Under My Skin", and the 1972 series Godfather I in a scene where Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo) beats up his wife Connie Corleone (Talia Shire), who demolishes a lot of dishes and china; the radio hopefully survived. The radio is documented with 56 pictures and a youtube video at http://www.radio-antiks.com/IndexRadio-Antiks_Sparton_154B_Bluebird.htm . My wish price is a point of reference. I happily accept offers.
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