Emerson Model AX-235 "Little Miracle"
|The 1939 Emerson model
AX-235 was called the "Little Miracle" by Emerson. It
featured a Catalin plastic case with contrasting trim in a dazzling
array of color combinations. It could be had in white with black
trim, green with either white or green trim, blue with white trim,
bright red with white trim, dark red with black or white trim, or black
with orange trim. The white ones have oxidized to a yellow color,
as in the example shown above. It is an appealing design in a
perfect size (about 9 inches wide), and very popular with collectors.
The black and orange color combination is generally regarded as the
rarest version, but any color other than bright red, yellow, or green is rare.
The black example shown below has lost its orange knobs, unfortunately.
Like most Catalins, the Little Miracle had some design problems than landed most of them in the trash. The grills were made of Tenite plastic, a nasty, unstable material which tended to warp and crack. They were so close to the tubes that many grills actually melted. Emerson attempted to deal with the heat problem by wedging a metal heat shield into the cabinet which covered the two hottest tubes. The pressure of this shield on the top of the cabinet caused many of them to warp, so it is not uncommon to see them with a peak along the back edge, about 2 inches left of center. On the plus side, this shield did effectively prevent tube burn, which is a big problem with the smaller Catalins.