This section will document selected objects, images, artworks and documents from our collection as they are researched, documented and catalogued. Particular attention is given to the more significant items in the collection.
AWA 'FISK' RADIOLA MODEL 180 VALVE RADIO
Valve radio in varnished timber plywood cabinet that served to make the object a feature in the ‘front room’ of the house; 890 x 595 x 310mm. The station dial is in the centre at the tip, with the control knobs underneath.
The ‘Radiola Fisk series’ receivers were a leading Australian design and manufacturing achievement from 1930s and the Model R180 was introduced in 1937. This radio was purchased by Mr LW Solomon from Bebafalds’ store opposite the Sydney Town Hall in the early 1940s. Its maintenance history from March 1946 to 11 February 1967 is fully documented. The shows that the Solomon family to 16 Alleyne Street, Chatswood, probably in the early 1950s. It was donated to the Willoughby Museum in fully operating condition and remains operational.
The radio is complete, operational and the cabinet is in good condition. Part of the dial cover is out of position and needs adjusting.
The radio cabinet is an excellent example of Australian design and craftsmanship of the 1930s-1940s;
SCIENTIFIC, RESEARCH OR TECHNICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
The ‘Radiola Fisk series’ receivers were a leading Australian design and manufacturing achievement from 1930s and the Model R180 was introduced in 1937. To have an example in working order with a well-documented maintenance history contributes to its significance.
The 1940s and early 1950s were the ‘Golden Years’ of Australian radio with some 130 commercial stations and a similar number of ABC stations. The object helps to demonstrate the dominant role played by radio in the 1940s and early 1950s. It offered a source of information to Willoughby families through news, current affairs and educational programs, and provided the main source of entertainment in most homes at this time. Accordingly, it has significance to the Willoughby Museum as helps to interpret one of our core themes, the domestic life of Willoughby families, where radio played a key role during the 1940s and 1950s.
This model of radio is now very rare and we have not identified other examples in museum collections. That this example is in working order and had a detailed service record contributes further to its rarity.