stockpile of over 120 original wooden "Z" knobs (plus
there are hundreds of more
original knobs on my actual radios). These knobs fit sets from 1936-1938. Zenith introduced
the embossed "Z" or "lightning bolt" knobs
with their 1936 model line-up. Unfortunately, in 1939 Zenith
started using plastic knobs on new 1939 models. Some 1939 radios did continue to use the wooden knobs
and were primarily electronically feature-modified chassis in
carry-over cabinets from the 1938 line-up. Such models
include: 9-S-365, 6-S-362, 6-S-361, 6-S-341,
6-S-330, 7-J-259, 6-J-257, 5-J-255, 5-J-247, 7-J-232, 6-J-230,
5-F-251, 5-F-233, 4-F-227, 5-X-274, 5-X-248, 5-X-230.
Some sets, 200-series farm radios, were completely unchanged
from the previous year and still carried the 1938 model
number. Many people have speculated about the
manufacturing process Zenith used to emboss the wooden knobs.
They apparently used a metal stamping die with hot water or
steam to soften the wood and create the raised designs on the
knobs. Sorry, none of these knobs are for sale.
Original "Z" knobs do show up for auction on Ebay or
amazing reproductions are available from www.antiqueradioknobs.com.