Air King Model 66 "Skyscraper"

Air King Skyscraper

In 1933, Air King introduced the first in their series of "Skyscraper" models, the model 52.  This was at a time when a plastic-cased radio of any sort was a rarity, and their Skyscraper was truly revolutionary.

The model 66 came two years later, and had an updated chassis and slightly more conventional styling.  The unique bar-shaped knobs of the model 52 were replaced by the hexagonal knobs on the model 66.  Even these knobs are unusual in that they used Plaskon inserts which were color matched to the color of the cabinet.  Both models could be had with or without the clock as shown in this example.  If the clock were absent, the hole was filled by a decorative metal insert which featured either globes or Egyptian figures.  

Air King Skyscraper-Rear View

The clock, itself, was a cheap affair, and not self-starting.  To start or set it, one had to reach inside the back of the set.  At best, that was an annoyance.  If the radio was turned on, one could easily be burned by accidental contact with the tubes.

Air King Clock Face

The model 66 was announced in Radio Retailing magazine, July 1935.  It was, supposedly, available in 13 colors.  This is an exaggeration, as some of these sets were coated with a crystalline lacquer finish (they called it "mother of pearl") which was counted as a separate color, and "walnut" and "mahogany" are the same thing (brown Bakelite). 

Even so, it could be had in black, brown, white, red, blue, lavender, green, and yellow, a spectrum that was never again matched in any other radio model.  The Plaskon examples, in any color other than white, are exceedingly rare.

This was an expensive radio, at a list price of $49.95, which should be multiplied by a factor of 10 to give an idea of it's cost in today's dollars.