Zenith Stratosphere Model 16-A-61, 1936.  This the entry level 16-tube Stratosphere which was available for 1936 and 1937 model years.  While not as intricately designed as the 16-A-63, the 16-A-61 has a very bold and commanding stature.  The hand carved pilasters phenomenally frame the concave grille area which has a pleated draped cloth, void of any wood.  When looking at the 12-A-58 console from 1936, it is very apparent that many styling cues were taken from the 16-A-61.  Or, was it the other way around?  In fact, a recently published guide to console radios has the pictures of these two radios juxtaposed.  Another mystery which has been uncovered is that the final production version of the 16-A-61 varies from all published literature.  In brochures, you will notice that the dial and escutcheon are smaller and the control knobs are fewer, and laid out differently than the actual  radio.  All other aspects of the cabinet remain the same.  Click on the red "See Ad Here" button to compare the 1936 catalog picture with the photos above.  This radio has one of those "great lucky catch" stories!  A friend of mine, also an antique radio collector, was hounded by one of his customers (for over a year) to look at a "big old radio" that she wanted to be removed from her house.  When he finally arrived at her house, his jaw dropped...it was the 16-A-61 Zenith Stratosphere!  She wanted $300 for the "hunk of junk!"  I purchased this radio from him in December 2000.  He was happy with his profit and I was extremely happy with my purchase price.  A 16-A-61 from the Midwest was recently sold to a California collector for over $15,000!  I got a very good deal on my piece!

The 16-A-61 and 16-A-63 both use the same chassis complement:  1601-C for the main chassis and the 1601-P power pack chassis.  The 16-A-61 has two extra swing-out "U" clamps to fasten the chassis to the cabinet that my 16-A-63 does not have.  Other features include:  1- 12-inch Auditorium dynamic speaker and 1- 6-inch high frequency reproducer (Dimensional Tone), Micro-Harmonic reception, high fidelity, Tuning range of 6 wave bands on 4 simplified dial ranges, Black Magnavision Dial, individual band illumination in colors, Split-second and shadowgraph tuning, Overtone Amplifier and Dual chassis.  In 1936, this set originally retailed for $375.00 and was reduced to $295.00 in 1937.        

ZENITH STRATOSPHERE MODEL 16-A-61 Specifications from the 1937 dealer catalog:

CIRCUIT:  16-tube superheterodyne.  Triple Filtering.                                               

TUBES:      1--6K7 R.F.; 1--6A8 1st detector oscillator; 2--6K7 I.F.; 1--6H6 2nd detector and   A.V.C.; 1--6F5 1st audio; 1--6F6 2nd audio; 4--6F6 output; 4--5Y3 rectifier; 1--6C5 shadowgraph.

CABINET:  Matching and combining a variety of woods in an extraordinary example of modern design, this console model will stand as a tribute to the owner's good taste.  Top and ends are of sliced walnut.  Decorative strips are of richly grained burl walnut, the curved panels of Carpathian elm burl are inlaid with imported marquetry, and the front panels are of matched figured butt walnut.  Fluted pilasters and hand carved columns guard the grill of draped cloth.

DIMENSIONS:  47 inches high; 28 inches wide; 16 inches deep.

SPEAKERS:  1--12-inch auditorium dynamic; 1--6-inch high frequency reproducer.

CONTROLS:  Tuning; Variable Selectivity; Band Switch; Tone; Volume and Power Switch.

CONDENSER:  3-gang (floated freely on rubber).

WAVE BANDS:  Tuning range of 6 wave bands on 4 simplified dial ranges covering 550-1,780 K.C.; 2,100-7,000 K.C.; 7,000-23,000 K.C.; 141-375 K.C.  (545.4-168.5; 142.7-42.8; 42.8-13; 2,127.6-800 meters.)

OTHER FEATURES:  7 1/4-inch black, glass dial with individual band illumination in colors; Split-Second and Shadowgraph Tuning; Dual Tuning Ratio 99:1 and 18:1; Overtone Amplifier; Dimensional Tone; Dual Chassis; Chassis completely floated on rubber.

Designed to use metal tubes if desired.        






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