Emerson Model 517 "Moderne"

Emerson Model 517 "Moderne" in Red

This 1947 Emerson model 517 was called the "Moderne" by its makers.  A Raymond Lowey design, it was quite unusual.  The clear plastic dial scale was illuminated from above by a pilot lamp inside a white Plaskon housing just above the "90" on the dial.  A hand hold on the top served also to ventilate the set, as the back was closed. 

This set was made in a varitey of colors including black and brown Bakelite, and plain white Plaskon.  It was also made in marbleized red, green, and white Plaskon.  The marbleization color was gold, and appears to have been composed of a metallic powder that was included in the mix as the cabinets were molded.  The perforated metal grills were painted white or gold.  The one on the red radio below needed to be repainted, and I thought it would look much better in black, so that's what I did.

The Plaskon versions of this radio are very prone to stress cracks at the lower corners of the grill, and at the corners of the hand hold.  The marbleization scheme didn't work well, and many sets will be found with pits, lumps, and bubbles.  Some of the gold colored powder was right on the surface, giving it a bright appearance, but most of that has either worn off with time, or turned green.  The dial covers are subject to warpage, and certain kinds of fungus love to grow on them.

The Emerson 561A relates closely to the design of this radio, but is a more conservative design.

An earlier model, the 511, was basically identical to the 517.

Emerson Model 517 "Moderne" in Red

Emerson 517 "Moderne" in Black