View Full Version : This is where your zenith tv was built!


drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:41 PM
I finally decided to get some pics of the original zenith plant that is still here in chicago. All there, and all original! the original 6001 W Dickens ave zenith factory still stands today. Everything from the transoceanics to the color televisions were built here. For any of you that have the "transoceanic" book, all those zenith photos are of this plant.

Currently, the large factory is divided into business segments, so the entire building is still in use. Luckily, zenith is on the nice part (north side) of chicago so the building is in nice maintained condition.
In this first picture, you see the north west corner of the huge facility. Notice the Zenith water tower!

Rob
10-31-2003, 11:44 PM
Did the water go in before the name went on? :p:

drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:44 PM
you are probably familiar with "6001 W. Dickents ave Chicago, ILL" on all the tv literature. Here is the front, main entry to the zenith plant. This particular address is not occupied at the moment. If you look through the window, there is a mid 50s zenith table radio mounted to the wall (you cant see it in the pic)!

drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:46 PM
Here is the north east corner of the dickens ave plant. picture taken at the intersection of N. Austin and Dickens.

drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:49 PM
around 1963, zenith expanded the plant and moved to 1900 N austin ave. This new address is just across the railroad tracks. Literally next to the dickens plant. The new plant consisted of a large office building and expanded factory space.

drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:51 PM
This is the "new" address of 1900 N. Austin ave. Here is the large office building that got the new address, as well as the entire plant.

drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:52 PM
The southwest end of the dickens plant

drh4683
10-31-2003, 11:53 PM
Now you can see in this pic, the old and the new. Both plants basically divided by the freight lines.

wa2ise
11-01-2003, 06:28 PM
About ten years ago I interviewed at a Zenith R&D lab near Chicago. Tall building in a semi-rural area. They had in the lobby several antique Zenith radio and TV sets on display (not running though). Well, the idiots didn't hire me :dunno:

Charlie
11-04-2003, 12:29 PM
I recognize that Saginaw name in the second photo. If I'm not mistaken, that's the company that used to make the power steering pumps for Chrysler years ago. IMS, Saginaw pumps were in the big body Chrylsers, and Federal pumps were in the smaller ones. I think my Duster has the Federal pump.

bgadow
11-04-2003, 02:14 PM
Mr. Know it All sez: Saginaw was (is?) a division of GM that handles all things steering. Tilt steering wheels were one of their inventions, I think. Other companies bought Saginaw parts from GM, as well. Don't know if this company would be related?

I'm really grateful that someone has taken the time to snap these pictures & post them. I reall enjoy them.

Mike in NY
04-20-2005, 09:38 PM
Thanks for posting these. I always wondered if the place was still intact. Is any part of Zenith still there?

old_tv_nut
04-21-2005, 12:21 AM
In 1975 I joined Zenith and worked in the Dickens Ave plant for 1 year before moving to Plant 31 (the big white building in Glenview). At Dickens Ave., my desk was reached by a narrow aisle. The back of the aisle (behind me) was that brick wall facing the RR tracks. The room was down about six stairs from the rest of the building and was known as "the pit". This was the Color TV Advanced Development department. I and another guy next to me collaborated on the design on a one-chip chroma system. In the middle of winter, fog would roll off the brick wall and curl around our feet.

The Dickens plant was connected to the plant on the south side of the tracks by a tunnel. One day a week, the cafeteria in the new office building served "gourmet burgers", and we would all walk over through the tunnel for better food than was available in the Dickens Ave cafeteria. There also was a "roach coach" (lunch wagon) that came to Dickens Ave every day, and some people preferred that.

Plant 31 in Glenview is now owned by a property management company and is leased by Aon Insurance. The remaining Zenith Electronics is located in Lincolnshire, IL.

reeferman
04-21-2005, 10:41 PM
Do you have any photos of the Springfield plant? I used to travel to Spfld., and as I recall, I read the plant had 500,000 sq. ft. It was located on Kearney St. One thing I remember about driving back to St. Louis from Spfld. was that if you were behind a Zenith rig, you WERE guaranteed early arrival. Phil

heathkit tv
04-25-2005, 02:56 PM
Were was the Rauland (sp?) plant? Was that part of the main complex or somewhere else.....and if the latter, is it still standing?

Anthony

drh4683
04-25-2005, 04:49 PM
Rauland in Melrose Park, IL, a western suburb of chicago. It was located at 25th and North ave. The huge facility was recently demolished, around 2003 and is now a huge warehouse of an unknown company. Unfortunatly, I have no pictures of that plant. I plan on getting pictures of zeniths other plants very soon. There was one at 1500 N. Kostner in Chicago, and another at 4245 N. Knox, which belive it or not is next door to Independent Mechanical Industries Inc. which I who I work for. Literally just across the street is the admiral plant which still stands!

In my avatar is the picture of the distribution center in North Lake, IL which is just down the road from rauland (northlake is next town west of Melrose Park). the distribution center did exactly what its says, but was also a huge show room for every zenith product currently made. The old distribution center is now owned by "Tribune Direct".
That Zenith sign you see once lit up at night and was the coolest and brightest sign you could immagine. It was not neon, it is composed of all flood lights, basic edison base bulbs that just simply screw in. There must be hundreds of them and the perimeter of the sign was flood lights too. The sign still stands today but has not lit up since 1998 or so.

pustelniakr
04-25-2005, 05:06 PM
I used to make the air-core coils for the gold-videoguard tuners in the plant in Paris, IL, back in '74. I don't think the plant is till there (That's what they get for laying me off).

Rich P.

old_tv_nut
04-25-2005, 10:00 PM
Rauland (the last location) was in Melrose Park, IL. I think I heard that the building had originally been a commercial bakery, which gave it the unobstructed floor space to change from cookie ovens to CRT ovens. Maybe someone else here knows the history?

I remember stopping in Springfield on vacation some years back, and visiting a cave. The cashier saw my Zenith jacket and chewed my ear a bit about Zenith shutting down the Springfield plant, putting her husband out of work. Another thing I found when I went to Zenith was that the brother of my former boss at Motorola worked for Zenith, I think at the Springfield plant.

Jeffhs
04-26-2005, 04:15 AM
That Zenith sign you see once lit up at night and was the coolest and brightest sign you could immagine. It was not neon, it is composed of all flood lights, basic edison base bulbs that just simply screw in. There must be hundreds of them and the perimeter of the sign was flood lights too. The sign still stands today but has not lit up since 1998 or so.

Why is this sign no longer illuminated at night, and for that matter, how long has it been standing? My best guess (this is only a guess) as to why the lights aren't used now is that it is now much too expensive to operate the hundreds of floodlights, etc. of which it is made. The only other reason I can think of is the wiring, sockets, etc. are now so old (and it would be too expensive to repair) that it isn't safe to operate the lighting any longer.

BTW, as I write this I am listening to the Internet stream of radio station WRLL, Berwyn, Illinois, "Real Oldies" 1690. I like oldies, but the only oldies station on AM in greater Cleveland went to a news-talk format last year, and the only other so-called "oldies" station on FM in Cleveland plays only '60s-'70s records during the week. It has a program it calls "Jukebox Sunday Night" which is mostly '50s oldies, but unfortunately this program is broadcast only on Sunday evenings. I can't for the life of me imagine why the FM "oldies" station didn't pick up the AM's oldies format (which was modeled after the Top-40 format of CKLW radio in Windsor/Detroit in the '60s-'70s) when the latter dropped it. I guess the owners of the former oldies station in Willoughby, Ohio (east suburban Cleveland) figured they could make more money with their station carrying mostly satellite syndicated talk programming than to continue their live local oldies format (the latter was on the station for over a year). The AM station could have picked up a satellite feed of an oldies network, such as one of ABC's "Pure" satellite networks, if the station were the least bit interested in continuing as an oldies broadcaster. The programming wouldn't have been live/local anymore, but at least the station's image as an oldies station could have been preserved. Now the AM radio dial in greater Cleveland and northeastern Ohio is nothing but talk (and Radio Disney on 1260, plus a standards station in Akron, Ohio on 1590), but this is probably the case everywhere in America these days. A local station 20 miles south of here went silent last year after its latest format (Sporting News Radio sports talk) failed to generate the listener base the station's owner had hoped it would. Another problem that station had was that it was daytime only on 1560 and could not get authorization to operate low power at night (or the station could have gone to an exclusive Internet radio format as an oldies station, etc.), but that's another story.

heathkit tv
04-26-2005, 11:27 AM
If someone (whatever corp owns that sign) wanted to, they could replace the flood lights with either LEDs or fluorescent and reduce maintenance and power consumption. Granted, the temperature of the light (color) would change somewhat, but at least it would be lit up again. Doubt it will happen though, why would a company want to pay to advertise for someone else?

Anthony

RVonse
04-26-2005, 09:20 PM
Really enjoyed the pictures also the comments from old tv nut. Those would have to be some memories and I for one would love to hear more from you about your design work there.

So sad really what has happened to most all corporate manufacturing in America. Zenith was a great company in its day. Where will this all end? I think I read somewhere that the US is now being referred to as a declining super power. I think our best days here are probably over and I feel sorry for the next generation having to compete in the global marketplace.

bgadow
04-26-2005, 10:22 PM
I agree that old tv nut's stories are great-I'm glad this venue is here to share things like that.

I debated, last year, on whether or not to buy a 13" Zenith that was made in Springfield, it looked like about 1980 or so. Could have got it cheap, and it might still be there, but thats getting pretty new & I gotta draw the line somewhere!

Maybe someone could try & save the old Zenith sign, before a dozer gets it someday?

stereofisher
04-27-2005, 08:38 PM
Thanks for posting these. I always wondered if the place was still intact. Is any part of Zenith still there?

Sorry that Zenith died. Seems like American Industry is going to hell :thumbsdn: Really sucked. I would have preferred to see tarrifs on Korean stuff and to keep American Jobs. The Goldstar built dehumidifires built for us (SEARS) really suck!!! Ditto their refrigerators. Our buyer should be fired for dealing with Goldstar instead of Whirlpool or Maytag. Tell you what. I dont sell it. The salespeople that do have problems. Told you so!

You would not beleive the latest problem with these dehumidifiers. The water hose connector does not fit on the back of the unit. Instead of replacing the back plastic panel so the hose fit properly Goldstar broke the back panel where the hose goes to make it fit. :thumbsdn: God I hate that company.

Everthing we carry made by them SUCKS big time. I refuse to sell there stuff. Period.

Thanks for the memories!! Zenith was a good company! Our government needs to start protecting our industry. They dont have the BALLS to step in.
Sorry for the Vent :worried:

Eric

Paintman71
10-23-2005, 06:55 PM
This Plant Brings back memories, as the plant & office faced the back of Amundsen Park which was one of the nicer areas in the City until around 1986 when the neigborhod changed.

nasadowsk
10-23-2005, 07:18 PM
I worked for a company that used LG industrial contactors.

20 - 30% DOA rate on most batches. owner bought them cause they were cheap and 'looked better than the Telemachaniques we used to use". Yerah, the Tele lasted a LOT longer and was a LOT better out of the box...

A few cow-orkers at my new gig have Hyundai's. I don't get why, the things are all barely new and falling apart. Oh yeah, they were cheap. Only thing that'll make Korean cars look good are Chinese ones (which I'm sure Walmart's gonna be selling any day now)....

drh4683
09-02-2007, 08:48 AM
Its been nearly 3 years since I visited the zenith plant to take pictures. I was in the area yesterday and decided to take more. I have a better camera now than I did back then.
Looks like the photos I originally posted are lost on AK. These are some of the latest photos I took.
What made this visit more interesting is the fact that I was able to look at part of the inside of the plant. Since the building was divided into businesses, walls were put up in various locations that were once open of course.

I was in and out quickly as I did not want to be seen. Expecially since one of the businesses was into granite couter tops, which is big money. I dont need anyone thinking I was in there to plan out a theft. Nobody would belive that I was interested in the building for what it once was.

In the pictures with the double doors with the signs above are when I first walked in. It looks like the building hasnt changed a bit since the 1940's. The signs were really neat to see, as well as the vintage fire alarm panels.

If you look at the photo of the main enterance at 6001 W Dickens, you can see on the wall what is an incomplete zenith AM/FM radio mounted to the wall to be used as a PA speaker. The knobs are not punched into the speaker cloth, just the tuning dial ring and the zenith logo are present!

The pictures taken through the windows look like orignal zenith office material. When I went into the building, stairways were locked up with those foldable security gates.

I think the best part is the fact that the "ZENITH" watertower is still there in nice shape!

fsjonsey
09-02-2007, 03:12 PM
Its been nearly 3 years since I visited the zenith plant to take pictures. I was in the area yesterday and decided to take more. I have a better camera now than I did back then.
Looks like the photos I originally posted are lost on AK. These are some of the latest photos I took.
What made this visit more interesting is the fact that I was able to look at part of the inside of the plant. Since the building was divided into businesses, walls were put up in various locations that were once open of course.

I was in and out quickly as I did not want to be seen. Expecially since one of the businesses was into granite couter tops, which is big money. I dont need anyone thinking I was in there to plan out a theft. Nobody would belive that I was interested in the building for what it once was.

In the pictures with the double doors with the signs above are when I first walked in. It looks like the building hasnt changed a bit since the 1940's. The signs were really neat to see, as well as the vintage fire alarm panels.

If you look at the photo of the main enterance at 6001 W Dickens, you can see on the wall what is an incomplete zenith AM/FM radio mounted to the wall to be used as a PA speaker. The knobs are not punched into the speaker cloth, just the tuning dial ring and the zenith logo are present!

The pictures taken through the windows look like orignal zenith office material. When I went into the building, stairways were locked up with those foldable security gates.

I think the best part is the fact that the "ZENITH" watertower is still there in nice shape!

I can see a typewriter on a desk in one of those office windows. How long has that plant been abandoned? It would be nice to get some experienced urban explorers in there to rescue those documents. That stuff should belong in an archive somewhere.

Pete Deksnis
09-02-2007, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the interesting pictures.

It looks like one of those X-box games where the playing field is an abandoned industrial park. I always wonder who changes the fluorescent lamps in those places? :scratch2: Same deal in that Zenith plant!

Findm-Keepm
09-02-2007, 07:16 PM
I can see a typewriter on a desk in one of those office windows. How long has that plant been abandoned? It would be nice to get some experienced urban explorers in there to rescue those documents. That stuff should belong in an archive somewhere.

Someone contact the Abandoned-But-Not-Forgotten folks - they explore old sites like this and do a great, non-destructive photo essay. Their methods sometimes cross over into B&E, but only to photograph, never to steal or deface.

Doug - Thanks for the pictures and info. All these years a Zenith plant was one of those things I figured I'd never get to see.

Cheers

wajobu
09-02-2007, 07:21 PM
Quite a time capsule!

Carmine
09-02-2007, 08:04 PM
I'm glad to know that no one was eating or drinking when they built my TV sets. :yes:

drh4683
09-02-2007, 08:49 PM
Not much has changed since 2003 when I took the first set of photos. Ive uploaded them again so you newer members can see them. I took photos of both old plant (6001 W Dickens) and the new plant an office (1900 N. Austin ave). The buildings are simply separated by railroad tracks. Dickens is E-W street, while Austin ave is N-S. Picture quality is not as good. I would have spent more time taking other photos but I had to get to an estate sale before it closed just up the road. I was able to get a nice zenith color set there too!

Here is a description of the photos, from left to right:
1: Looking SE at the Dickens Ave plant.
2: Looking SE at the Dickens Ave Plant.
3: Looking SE at the Dickens Ave plant.
4: Looking at the front facing north of the Dickens plant.
5: Same as 4
6: 6001 W. Dickens ave main enterance
7: Inside view through window of the main enterance
8: Looking SW down Dickens Ave
9: Intersection of W. Dickens Ave + N. Austin Ave looking SW.
10: Looking NW at the 1900 N. Austin Ave plant
11: Looking NW at 1900 N. Austin. The then new (around 1962) offices at the west end.
12: East side of the 1900 N. Austin plant
13: South end of 1900 N. Austin, truck loading. Zenith signs still present today on building!
14: Looking NW at the Austin Ave offices. Zenith built the new plant and offices as an expansion around 1961-1962. The new address took effect on service manuals around 1963.
15: Front enterance of 1900 N. Austin Ave
16: Looking NE, Dickens ave plant. Austin plant is just to the south of the tracks.
17: Another view looking NE
18: Both Dickens Ave plant to the north and the Austin Ave plant to the south.

Carmine
09-02-2007, 08:57 PM
The clock moved!

drh4683
09-02-2007, 09:11 PM
Never looked at that! Wow!
Also, Saginaw and Excel are no longer there. The signs obviously taken down.

stereofisher
09-02-2007, 10:00 PM
to see these pics. I am not much of a "free market" economies guy. Wished the government had stepped in and put stiff tarrifs on all foreign built TV sets to even the market and eliminate the unfair advantage they had. I still remember the sweet smell those Zenith TV's had coming out of the box at Chaiet TV in New Paltz NY. It was a real pleasure to work for this man. He taught me the basics of retail. It was small business at its best. Sales and service.

I have two Zeniths built in that plant. A Transoceanic 3000 and a AM only 710the later was a Ebay project for $10. Miss those days in the 60's. The quality of audio and electronics isnt the same now. We had lot of TV's too. Nice pics and I wish Zenith was stll there.

Eric

polaraman
09-02-2007, 11:03 PM
I once worked in a place that used a lot of lead in the workplace. The business was very strict about smoking, eating and drinking because of the lead. Once ingested into your body, it is always there. We had to take hand washing lessons once a year. Also included were tips on spotting lead poisoning. I wonder if this was a policy to keep the Zenith workers safe from lead solder?

I would love to have the possessed clock above the door. I have been looking for one of those to install in my retro palace. There is a huge four foot round clock on a wall in a thrift store nearby. It still works and I do not think they will give it up.

polaraman

Carmine
09-04-2007, 04:42 PM
That makes good sence Polara man... The bodyshops in Chrysler plants are really strict about the "eating-near-lead" thing, (although nobody leads seams anymore :thumbsdn:).

Here I was just thinking it was done to prevent somebody from toasting a ham sandwich on a HOT. :lmao:

old_tv_nut
09-05-2007, 09:15 PM
The buildings are simply separated by railroad tracks.

Did you know the plants are connected by a tunnel under the RR tracks? We used to walk under to go to the new building on Fridays because that was "superburger" day at the good cafeteria. The food at the Dickens cafeteria was your basic mystery meat in gravy kind of stuff. Many people bought lunch at the "roach coach" that came around on Dickens instead.

The Dickens building has several mismatched floor levels. I worked in an area that was 5 or 6 steps down from the main corridors - we called it the pit. It had one wall that backed up to the tracks, no windows, and a door in the back of the room with a long staircase down to the production floor and the tunnel.

(All this I recall from the one year I spent there approx Aug '74 - Sep '75 before we moved to Glenview.)

drh4683
09-05-2007, 09:34 PM
Great to hear your memories Wayne. Thank you. Sounds like it was really quite a place to work back when it was still in operation. Id really like to get in touch with someone that owns the building. My goal is to tour the building without the fear of getting caught. I took a big risk walking in like I did, but it was not forced entry, simply an unlocked door (the grey door you see in the photos) off Dickens.

WA4GSR
02-28-2008, 07:19 AM
I worked at the 1900 Austin Avenue plant in 1966-1967 repairing the 20XIC chassis. Had forgotten about the tunnel. We had air conditioners in the factory but we couldn't turn them on because you guys didn't have them!

drknstrmyknight
02-28-2008, 07:33 AM
WHen I was a kid we used to play along the freight racks in Chicago and 4245 N. Knox was on our list, we lived in the Montrose and Cicero area in the late 50's. We always found neat stuff in those dumpsters and I can remember some big cleanout where they put up some temporary fencing and had big dump trucks in and out. Did they make CRT's there?

drh4683
02-28-2008, 12:55 PM
Yes,

The plant at 4245 N. Knox was the original Rauland Tube plant. The plant is still there and is about 100 feet away from me as I type this on my break. Its owned by Dan Howard now, and insurance firm, and the building still looks exactly the same. There is a book from 1955 called "The Zenith story" and has pictures of the old plants around chicago, all of which still exist to this day. The company I work for moved to our new location at 4155 N. Knox back in october of '04, right next to the original rauland tube plant and across the street from the Admrial TV plant that just burnt to the ground last spring. The "ADMIRAL" boiler stack is the only thing that survived! The Admiral plant had an elevated walkway that crossed knox ave from the west plant to the east plant. The east plant was demolished for our new head office. We moved from 4455 W. Montrose, so it was only a couple blocks away. So I actually work at what was once property of the Admiral TV plant. The elevated train tracks are still there and very rarely do freights come down it anymore.

Also, to the new member, thanks for joining the forum. its great to hear that you worked for Zenith. Please tell what it was like durring the time you worked there. What was the difference between austin plant and dickens as far as what was produced? What did they build at the kostner ave plant? When you worked on the 20X1C38 chassis, was this production error corrections, or was this a service department? You probably recognize my avatar. The zenith water tower is still there at the dickens plant!

Im surprized zenith didnt want to keep the plant air conditioned. Ive spoken to a few ex Motorola employees and they enjoyed working for Motorola at the Grand Ave TV plant in Franklin Park, as it was always air conditioned and they played music over the PA throughout the plant for the assembly workers.

drh4683
10-19-2008, 07:07 PM
The estate sale I went to yesterday was home of a former Zenith assembly line employee. I was fortunate enough to find a box of photographs which were for sale and I found some neat pictures. These are the only pictures I found with Zenith, but you can clearly tell the photos were taken at the assembly plant. The photos are all dated January, 1960, so its Chrismas 1959. You can see little tinsle hanging off the flourecent lights as the little tree in the back. Looks like this group was out in the corner someplace. The "boss" who was probably quality control looks like the only one who isn't having a good time. Everyone is smoking their cigarettes and having a good time.
The lady being huged in the picture is the one who just passed an was the woman who lived at the home of the estate sale. She was 40 years old at the time of this photo, almost 49 years ago! Pictures like these are gold to me, as it shows the real life of the Zenith employee. Some of these people here probably worked on the very sets we have today. I hope to be able to find more of them and be able to speak with more zenith employees from this time period before they all leave us.

Oldstuff78
10-19-2008, 09:30 PM
Thanks for the photos. I get a kick out of old photos from the 50's and 60's even if I don't know who the people are. It's interesting to look at all the details in them, like TV's, Clothing, Furniture, Cars, and Watches (I collect old 50's and 60's wristwatches).

firenzeprima
10-20-2008, 01:13 AM
Thanks for the interestings photos!!!!! wow wow wow

zenithfan1
10-20-2008, 07:42 AM
Thanks for posting these! Very cool to see into the past like that. These people may have assembled something we own.

old_tv_nut
10-20-2008, 05:11 PM
You know, that doesn't look like a large production area - wonder if it's some sort of prototyping lab?

Carmine
10-21-2008, 05:56 PM
You know, that doesn't look like a large production area - wonder if it's some sort of prototyping lab?

Same thought I had.

samelliot
05-19-2014, 04:32 AM
You have these pics up somewhere?

Phil Nelson
05-19-2014, 12:59 PM
Not seeing any pictures here . . . .

Phil Nelson

Kevin Kuehn
05-19-2014, 01:11 PM
Original post is 10 years old.

Charlie
05-19-2014, 06:32 PM
Yeah, we've had a few "lost pics" incidents since this thread was originally started! :yes:

Kinda funny to think... we've been around for so long... over a decade now. I tend to forget that. I remember joining this group shortly after it got started. At that time, there was about 200 members total I think.

NewVista
05-26-2014, 04:05 PM
Did the plant on Dickens & Austin have rail loading docks at the back in the 1950s?

NewVista
05-27-2014, 09:53 PM
Other Zenith plants:
5800 Dickens, 4245 N Knox Av, 1500 N Kostner Ave, 912 W Washington Blvd, 343 Michigan (sales)

I looked at these, one is now an ALDI how uninspiring.

Jon A.
05-27-2014, 10:38 PM
Yeah, we've had a few "lost pics" incidents since this thread was originally started! :yes:
There ought to be a special gallery here just for the pics Doug originally posted.

Rod Beauvex
05-28-2014, 01:37 AM
Maybe some kind of VK Database.

NewVista
05-28-2014, 12:39 PM
Google 6060 Dickens. You can see the bullet holes in windows

dieseljeep
05-28-2014, 01:22 PM
Google 6060 Dickens. You can see the bullet holes in windows

Almost like Milwaukee!
Look at all the foolishness going on in the last few weeks or months.
It's really sad what happened to these fine old cities. :thumbsdn:

KentTeffeteller
05-30-2014, 07:11 PM
I am in tears over the US Government's lack of protection against TV dumping back in the day. That practice sealed the fate of our once proud TV industry. I am now seeing the same happen to our appliance industry. LG and Samsung is hurting the appliance industry and Whirlpool is a major employer in the county adjacent to the one I live in.

dishdude
05-30-2014, 07:48 PM
The American auto industry isn't too far behind, I am surprised they have hung on this long.

DavGoodlin
05-30-2014, 10:06 PM
On the subject of factories standing, Philco at Tioga and "C" street, Philadelphia - sadly vacant =(
Check out where Sylvanias were made 1954-1980;700 Ellicott street Batavia NY. Still making something there. WOW
RCAs 600 N Sherman Drive, Indianapolis...not sure of the Bloomington Indiana plant.

Factories gone - Magnavox was at 2131 S. Beuter rd, Ft Wayne, IN until mid 70s

dishdude
05-30-2014, 10:36 PM
I do really wish these pictures were still posted, I'd love to see them.

dieseljeep
05-31-2014, 08:44 AM
On the subject of factories standing, Philco at Tioga and "C" street, Philadelphia - sadly vacant =(
Check out where Sylvanias were made 1954-1980;700 Ellicott street Batavia NY. Still making something there. WOW
RCAs 600 N Sherman Drive, Indianapolis...not sure of the Bloomington Indiana plant.

Factories gone - Magnavox was at 2131 S. Beuter rd, Ft Wayne, IN until mid 70s
Google maps is really great!
I looked up the various TV plant addresses in Chicago. Admiral on Courtland Street, old Motorola plant on Augusta Blvd. It also shows the Franklin Park plant. That's being turned into residential, condo type housing.

ChrisW6ATV
05-31-2014, 03:38 PM
Whirlpool is a major employer in the county adjacent to the one I live in.
My new stove is a Whirlpool. I bought it specifically because it is Made in USA. It works very well. When I buy a dishwasher, it will be a Whirlpool, too, for the same reason (plus they make good machines at decent prices).

Supposedly, General Electric is starting to make more appliances in the USA again, too.

egrand
05-31-2014, 03:48 PM
Supposedly, General Electric is starting to make more appliances in the USA again, too.

Mostly their low end stuff. A lot of their higher end stuff, especially fridges, are farmed out to LG or Samsung (can't remember which). I think a lot of their a/c units are farmed out too.

Jon A.
05-31-2014, 05:08 PM
Mostly their low end stuff. A lot of their higher end stuff, especially fridges, are farmed out to LG or Samsung (can't remember which). I think a lot of their a/c units are farmed out too.
Might as well buy the low-end stuff in that case. It will be superior to the foreign-made stuff even though it lacks the bells and whistles.

DavGoodlin
06-03-2014, 11:15 AM
Might as well buy the low-end stuff in that case. It will be superior to the foreign-made stuff even though it lacks the bells and whistles.

Quite right! I think the Roper name was applied to some of the lower end workhorses Whirlpool made. Ask any repairman what washing machine you should have bought in the last 10 years, many answer "a Roper".

rca2000
06-03-2014, 07:13 PM
Might as well buy the low-end stuff in that case. It will be superior to the foreign-made stuff even though it lacks the bells and whistles.

The electronic "bells and whistles" on foreign-made appliances do NOT hold up any better...than most flat-panel tv sets do...

Jon A.
06-03-2014, 07:33 PM
The electronic "bells and whistles" on foreign-made appliances do NOT hold up any better...than most flat-panel tv sets do...
My thoughts exactly. I don't care for much of anything that's heavily-optioned anyway.

dieseljeep
06-04-2014, 10:00 AM
Quite right! I think the Roper name was applied to some of the lower end workhorses Whirlpool made. Ask any repairman what washing machine you should have bought in the last 10 years, many answer "a Roper".

Whirlpool had several, lower end product lines. Estate was another. The newer models are direct drive. The USA made, top load models are mechanically similar. It's just the extras, like multi-speed motors, selection of rinse and wash water temperatures, etc.
The dishwashers are extremely loud. It was hard to carry on a conversation, when the thing was running.
The real low end Sears washers and driers are badged Capri. They appear to be Whirlpool products. :scratch2:

drh4683
06-04-2014, 01:06 PM
Greetings gentleman,
I still have the original pictures that I took and posted here back in 2003. I also have newer photos as well and will update this thread with those photos soon. Even though its been over a decade since this thread was created, it goes to show that this thread is still often discovered by those interested in Zenith history which is nice to see.

Jeffhs
06-04-2014, 04:54 PM
Doug, I certainly hope you keep this thread going as long as possible, as I enjoy reading your posts and also that your thread is keeping alive the history of the original Zenith Radio Corporation, which went out of business in the late '80s or nineties.

I've liked Zenith radios, TVs, etc. for years, have owned a few of their b&w TVs, have a number of antique/vintage Zenith radios from the '50s-'60s and even one 1980 AM-FM high-performance portable, the R-70. (I do not, however, own any "Zenith"-branded radios made after 1980, although I did own a four-mode Zenith integrated stereo in the early '80s.) I also have a 19" SMS1917SG table model from 1995 that still works. Still has its original CRT as well, and it makes an excellent picture even now, 19 years later. The set is in my bedroom, unused, and has been unused except for occasional testing since I moved here 14 years ago. I now have a 19" Insignia flat screen, which I understand has many LG components; LG parts were used in many Zenith-branded LG flat screens until Zenith itself went out of business for good several years ago. :no:

Anyway, I am still very interested in anything and everything Zenith, reading everything I can get my hands on regarding the company's history. I also have a virtual Zenith "museum" here on my computer, composed of photos of early Zenith TVs and radios from about the '40s through the end of the NTSC CRT TV era. Many of those pictures are still on CDs, waiting to be ripped into the computer. One of these days...

BTW, it's good seeing your posts again. As I said, I enjoy reading them and look forward to seeing more as time goes on. Keep up the good work. :thmbsp:

rca2000
06-04-2014, 06:47 PM
That C-845 Zenith radio in your Avatar is MUCH more "bark than "BITE". It does have a nice speaker system--but a VERY piss-poor, single 35C5 tube to drive it !! I have one or two just like it around here...and have LONG wondered--WHY Zenith did not make it REAL--with one or even a PAIR of say--6BQ5 outs or P-P 6V6's--THEN--it would have PERFORMANCE--to match its LOOKS !!

dieseljeep
06-04-2014, 07:37 PM
That C-845 Zenith radio in your Avatar is MUCH more "bark than "BITE". It does have a nice speaker system--but a VERY piss-poor, single 35C5 tube to drive it !! I have one or two just like it around here...and have LONG wondered--WHY Zenith did not make it REAL--with one or even a PAIR of say--6BQ5 outs or P-P 6V6's--THEN--it would have PERFORMANCE--to match its LOOKS !!
I thought the same thing. AM reception that was better than any other US built radio. FM reception, that was better than most, as well. It had the best AFC, that made it easier to tune and hold FM stations, with no drift.
I have an RCA AM-FM table radio from around the 1956 model year. It's rather impressive with the power transformer, 5Y3 rectifier and the 6V6 output tube. The receiver part, just isn't that impressive.
Zenith made several years of that model and were rather pricey. Most people that owned them, used them as daily drivers and were satisfied with the tone quality.

rca2000
06-04-2014, 07:55 PM
The 845 DOES sound good at LOW volume....BUT if you give it ANY gas at all...it "pukes out", due to the amp clipping. If it had 5 or 10+ clean watts of power--it would NOT do so. with maybe 2 watts MAX_-it is like a tiny 4 cylinder 1980's hamster engine car--trying to go up a big hill with 2 large people in the car.....say a Ford exp.

In fact...a couple of people in my radio club call them "dentist-office radios". Seems they were-and maybe still ARE--often found there. Great sound--as long as you don't "gas it".

Adding a decent amp like a 6BQ5-and cold power supply would have turned a sensitive, good sounding at LOW volume radio--into a WORLD CLASS leader !!

Jeffhs
06-04-2014, 09:22 PM
That C-845 Zenith radio in your Avatar is MUCH more "bark than "BITE". It does have a nice speaker system--but a VERY piss-poor, single 35C5 tube to drive it !! I have one or two just like it around here...and have LONG wondered--WHY Zenith did not make it REAL--with one or even a PAIR of say--6BQ5 outs or P-P 6V6's--THEN--it would have PERFORMANCE--to match its LOOKS !!

The C845 in my avatar is one of the vintage Zenith radios I own (the picture was copied from an antique radio website several years ago). I've never turned mine up full blast (couldn't if I wanted to, since I live in an apartment building), so I did not know until now about the audio distortion at maximum volume you mention.

I suppose, however, this could be a plus for teenagers listening to their favorite loud FM rock station, distortion and all (until the amplifier and/or the speakers burned out or blew a fuse, or the kids' parents not-so-politely told them "Turn that #$%@! thing down!"), since most rock music today is mostly noise--the more distortion, the better. (!) I don't know how much undistorted audio output power the 35C5 is capable of producing at full volume, but from what you mention, it probably isn't good for more than a watt or two at best before the entire audio stage goes into severe distortion.

I wonder if any of these radios had to have one or both speakers replaced because they were run too long at full volume, burning out the voice coils. If an audio amplifier is driven into distortion it will, more often than not, produce even more output power than the speakers can safely handle. I had a Zenith integrated stereo system, five watts per channel, with this warning posted on the backs of both speaker enclosures; however, I never ran the system at full volume in the 17 years I owned it.

BTW: I agree with your statement that Zenith could have made the C845 a real hi-fi radio, even at full or close to full volume, if they had designed the set with push-pull 6BQ5s, 6V6s or other high-power audio output tubes rather than a single 35C5. I have a Zenith MJ-1035 (currently waiting for a new volume control) that uses two 50EH5 output tubes and a 12AX7 driver stage. When that radio was working, it sounded great. But the volume control was damaged in shipping (I got the set in 2008 from an antique radio collector and former VK member in Arizona), so I was constantly dealing with intermittent sound and other problems until the control eventually fell apart. This radio uses a special 2-megohm dual potentiometer as a volume control, which I have not yet been able to find. Is this value so rare that it cannot be found anymore, or would I be better off trying to find a junker set on eBay or CL with a good volume pot? I'm in no hurry to get the radio working again, but some day I'd like to do so just for the ducks of it.

Jeffhs
06-04-2014, 10:11 PM
I thought the same thing. AM reception that was better than any other US built radio. FM reception, that was better than most, as well. It had the best AFC, that made it easier to tune and hold FM stations, with no drift.
I have an RCA AM-FM table radio from around the 1956 model year. It's rather impressive with the power transformer, 5Y3 rectifier and the 6V6 output tube. The receiver part, just isn't that impressive.
Zenith made several years of that model and were rather pricey. Most people that owned them, used them as daily drivers and were satisfied with the tone quality.


Yes, the Zenith C845 was very expensive when it was new in 1960, something like $130 or so in that era's dollars. However, I agree with you that the '845 had above-average AM and FM reception. I am 30+ miles east of Cleveland, and my C845 gets every one of the city's AM and FM stations just fine, using just the line-cord antenna. When the FM band opens up for DX in the spring and summer, this radio is a real station magnet. I live near Lake Erie, and can often get stations from southwestern Ontario, Canada and Detroit, et al. as clearly as if they were next door. At night on AM the '845's radio dial just lights up with stations, some of which are inaudible (or close to it) on newer sets. I attribute this to the 6BJ6 RF amplifier stage which is used both on AM and FM, to say nothing of the fact that the C-845, like all older Zenith radios, was built for DX and high fidelity audio (the latter somewhat limited by the single 35C5 audio output tube, as VK member rca2000 mentions in an earlier post).

I chalk up the C845's excellent FM reception to the use of a permeability-tuned (slug-tuned) FM tuner and two FM IF stages. The slug-tuned system is not used much anymore except, perhaps, in very high-end communications receivers (IIRC, Collins had at least one amateur-band receiver with such a tuning arrangement, but then again, their amateur equipment wasn't cheap and Collins was known for quality amateur gear in its heyday).

rca2000
06-04-2014, 10:36 PM
Yes, the Zenith C845 was very expensive when it was new in 1960, something like $130 or so in that era's dollars. However, I agree with you that the '845 had above-average AM and FM reception. I am 30+ miles east of Cleveland, and my C845 gets every one of the city's AM and FM stations just fine, using just the line-cord antenna. When the FM band opens up for DX in the spring and summer, this radio is a real station magnet. I live near Lake Erie, and can often get stations from southwestern Ontario, Canada and Detroit, et al. as clearly as if they were next door. At night on AM the '845's radio dial just lights up with stations, some of which are inaudible (or close to it) on newer sets. I attribute this to the 6BJ6 RF amplifier stage which is used both on AM and FM, to say nothing of the fact that the C-845, like all older Zenith radios, was built for DX and high fidelity audio (the latter somewhat limited by the single 35C5 audio output tube, as VK member rca2000 mentions in an earlier post).

I chalk up the C845's excellent FM reception to the use of a permeability-tuned (slug-tuned) FM tuner and two FM IF stages. The slug-tuned system is not used much anymore except, perhaps, in very high-end communications receivers (IIRC, Collins had at least one amateur-band receiver with such a tuning arrangement, but then again, their amateur equipment wasn't cheap and Collins was known for quality amateur gear in its heyday).


If ONLY the audio section matched the tuning section....it would be something unforgettable.... and with the equivalent of about 1K in today's money--it SHOULD have had a good amp...and a cold chassis to match.

dieseljeep
06-05-2014, 09:10 AM
The 845 DOES sound good at LOW volume....BUT if you give it ANY gas at all...it "pukes out", due to the amp clipping. If it had 5 or 10+ clean watts of power--it would NOT do so. with maybe 2 watts MAX_-it is like a tiny 4 cylinder 1980's hamster engine car--trying to go up a big hill with 2 large people in the car.....say a Ford exp.

In fact...a couple of people in my radio club call them "dentist-office radios". Seems they were-and maybe still ARE--often found there. Great sound--as long as you don't "gas it".

Adding a decent amp like a 6BQ5-and cold power supply would have turned a sensitive, good sounding at LOW volume radio--into a WORLD CLASS leader !!

I often referred to them as George Webb radios.
The was a hamburger restaurant chain in Milwaukee, That had a certain trademark, multiple Telechron 12" office wall clocks, all set to the same time.
They all seemed to have the Zenith C-845 radios, on a high shelf between the counter and the cooking area. They all were set on WEMP, an AM MOTR, music station. IIRC, they advertised a lot on that station.
A little Milwaukee trivia, as I lived there for 57 years.