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A knob is more than just a knob


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I was pretty thrilled to find this 1953 Crosley E15 radio last winter by way of a swap. It is the same model as the blue one my folks bought for the family in 1953. It is all cleaned up now and playing nicely. A phono input in the back allows for MP3 input or a CD player.

My tan-colored bakelite Crosley E15 has one flaw I can't fix with solder and a screwdriver. It is missing a knob and it is a special knob, copper plated steel with a thin brass plating, and only produced for that one year. The white model has nickel-plated knobs with white centers, the other four colors, blue, silver, green and tan, have the brass knobs. I don't deal with eBay, so my hopes of finding a knob were pretty slim.

But last week, by a fluke, I found a knob for a blue Crosley E15 on Kijiji and it is in Ontario, my own country. I won't have to deal with customs. The internet is amazing.

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They used copper plate for a base and then plated that with brass. I think copper was plentiful. No knob yet.

Nobody was too concerned about metal knobs on metal shafts with about 120 vac on the chassis. I add a polarized cord so that the switch turns the juice off at least.

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They isolated the metal knobs from the chassis with a Bakelite core. Did they bake the core in place or did they glue it in after the parts had cooled?

Did they plate the metal parts first? So many questions.

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The plating is a lighter color on my new knob. Maybe there is nickel in there with the brass or bronze.

1953 must have been a tough year for Crosley, because production costs for this radio would have been too high. In '54 they dropped this model and by '55 they were heavily into injection molded plastics, with the color already mixed in too. Not much painted Bakelite after that.

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