A Brief History of Zenith Royal Transoceanic Royal 1000
A Speech by Ray Andrejasich
Before a 1996 Quarterly Meeting
of the Indiana Historical Radio Society


My talk this evening will not be that short, but it may be rambling, as the subject matter is not that easily addressed and will wander off into many related areas. I did not know, until I started to put this talk together, that my 20 year career in Zenith's transistor group spanned the 20 years referred to in Bryan & Cones book, The Zenith Transoceanic-The Royalty of Radios.

First of all, my interest in electronics (we said "radio" in those days) started at the age of 10. I was given a crystal radio by my older brother Frank. He was attending a military high school at the time and built the set so he could listen to night time radio after "lights out." It had a galena crystal probed by a copper catswhisker and a beautiful set of high impedance Bell earphones. That was in 1945 when the "bug" bit me. After that, I became a frequent visitor of Army surplus electronic stores.

Following the latest technologies at the time, I "souped up" my crystal set by using the army surplus 1N34(A) diodes to replace my cantankerous galena crystal (you could call this device the first point contact semiconductor). I believe the 1N34 was in a ceramic cylinder, while the 1N34A came in a clear glass package and you could actually see the catswhisker. Anyone remember the Philmore packaged detector? Then, I came upon a 12" magnetic speaker (high impedance) which replaced the headphones and gave comfortable room volume from the stronger radio stations in the Chicago area. Later, I replaced the 1N34 with a vacuum tube for kicks. There were surplus 6H6 dual diode tubes available that would work very well by tying the cathodes together and the plates together and using a 6.3V filament transformer. I had a detector with a built-in pilot light!

6H6 OCTAL BASE TUBE

TYPICAL CRYSTAL RADIO

Around 3 years later (1948) the transistor became commercially available, a product of Bell Laboratories. In 1951, I saved up my allowance and purchased a Raytheon CK716 point contact transistor from Allied Radio in downtown Chicago. At that time, $23.00 was a lot of money and my folks thought I was crazy. But then again, the CK716 was a crazy transistor! It came in a brass cylinder with two pins at one end. The metal case was the base contact and the pins were the collector and emitter contacts. I had to contact Cinch Corporation for a special socket (which thankfully they sent at no charge). The CK716 replace my 6H6 and was combination detector/amplifier. It knocked the boots off magnetic speaker and gave comfortable room volume on ALL the Chicago stations. The point contact transistor is illustrated on page 11 in W.D. Bevitt's 1956 book, Transistors Handbook.