German Tube-Radios in the Fifties and Sixties
Before World War II, Germany was the world leader in manufacturing and exporting radios. After World War II, many factories had been destroyed. Restrictions made by the allied forces had made things difficult for the German radio manufacturers to restart development and production, who already were starting out with nothing.

But in the Fifties, Germany became the world leader once again. German radios with a high level of quality were exported worldwide once again. The "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic Miracle) had taken place.

In 1949 FM broadcasting was introduced in Germany. In Germany this is called UKW, which stands for "ultra short wave". This range extended from 88.5 to 100 MHz. Frequencies greater than 100MHz were used by the French police.

In 1950 very few Radios had FM tuners. But, in 1951, FM (UKW) became a standard feature. In the early Fifties, radio cabinets looked similar to those from the Forties. For example, the top scale and range switches were on the sides of the cabinet, and they had no front keys. Also most radios had round "Magic Eye" tubes. Metal tubes, made by Telefunken, among others, and "Rimlock" tubes were used.

Here are some examples of early German AM/FM radios:
BLAUPUNKT- LU 760 U (1950), PHILIPS - Sirius Type BD 400A-22 (1950), AEG - Super 41 WU  (1951/52), PHILIPS Uranus 53  (1952/53-with Rimlock-tubes)

The next quality improvement was that of the sound range, where better usage was made of the higher bandwidth with FM. In 1954 Max Grundig introduced the "3D-sound" with additional side speakers. In the following years, all manufacturers entered into competition in further sound improvement, such as: Sound-compressor (GRAETZ and NORDMENDE), Ironless sound amplifier (PHILIPS), Equalizer (GRUNDIG-Wunschklangregister). As many as six speakers in a single cabinet (SABA), with EL84 push-pull amplifier, and many more "nice to have" features.

Also remarkable is the "Syntektor" from Körting, with a highly sophisticated FM-tuner.

The standard noval-tube set in the mid-Fifties contained: ECC85, ECH81, EF89,EABC80, EL84, and possibly a EZxx rectifier tube. The EM80 began replacing the round Magic eyes, but the EM34 was still used until 1959 by some manufacturers (like GRAETZ and NORDMENDE).

Some radios were huge like the SIEMENS Schatulle M57 or P48, and the SABA Freiburg Automatic 3DS. Some were tiny like the BRAUN Sk2/2. Don't forget the "Musiktruhen" types like the Arabella from NORDMENDE, or from one of the various furniture-brands, with built-in bar.

In the second half of the Fifties, people began to buy an extra radio for the kitchen or for the children's room. There were a lot of good-looking small radios, like the Philetta (PHILIPS), the Jubilate (TELEFUNKEN),the Elektra (NORDMENDE), the Bella (LOEWE-OPTA), and the Type 97 from GRUNDIG. Some had a "plastic-grill" on the front, like the Philetta or the Jubilate, that were influenced by American designs of the Fifties.

In the late Fifties, the EM84 (magic bar) began replacing the EM80 and EM34. The sound amplifier of some of the bigger radios came out with a second channel. The “Stereo” feature was born. Please note that the full stereo (with a built-in decoder), including RF, was not available until 1963.

The cabinet designs of the smaller radios became flatter and wider with a left and a right side speaker to accommodate stereo-sound. The wooden cabinet changed to teak or walnut, and the Nordic style was popular in German living rooms. The Nordic style can be seen in the SABA Villingen De Luxe, the SABA Konstanz Stereo (full-stereo), and the LOEWE-OPTA Toronto-stereo Type 32280.

Since 1960, the FM range was expanded to include up to 104 MHz and some years later up to 108MHz.

In the mid Sixties, the AM/FM receiver was introduced, with external speakers. Some new tubes like the ECLL800 were developed for use in receivers, but the tube era soon ended as radio designs gave way to the transistor. 


This page was made for Wee in Singapore and with help (in English language) of George from Alabama
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