Emerson Model FC-400 "Patriot"

The 1940 Emerson model FC-400 "Patriot" was almost identical in design to the Aristocrat, differing only in the color combinations and the knob design.  While the Catalin used in Aristocrat cases tended to be heavily marbleized, the Patriot cases were always solid colors.  The chassis were identical.

Patriotic feelings were growing as WW-II raged in Europe, and it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the U.S. would be drawn into the conflict.  Emerson sought to capitalize on this, and the Patriot was the result, featuring "flag" grills, star-patterned knobs, and red, white, and blue color combinations.  The wood-cased EP-406 made the same statement, but in a more subdued way.

The Patriot was offered in three color combinations.  The best information I have is that the knobs and handles should match the color of the cabinets.  The blue radio shown here has knobs and a handle from a badly damaged red Patriot, and the yellow radio was missing its original white handle when I acquired it, and now also has a red handle.  The grills and dials are correct as seen here.  The yellow radio case was originally white, and the blue cabinet has been restored (by sanding and polishing) to its original color.  When found, the blue cases have oxidized to a dark green or brown color.  This one actually looked like it had been burned, so I was able to buy it at a very reasonable price.

The problem with all of the Patriot and Aristocrat handles is that they didn't shrink along with the cabinet since they were made from a different material.  Many of them broke, or if they didn't, they caused the cabinet to break.  Quite often, these radios are found with the handles jammed in the "up" position (they are spring loaded so they can be pulled up for easy carrying).  This relieved the stress to some extent, and saved many of the cabinets.

This breakage problem left a pool of good cabinets without handles, and good handles without radios.  An additional problem with the blue trim pieces is that they have aged to a dark green color, and it is very difficult to restore them to their original color as is done with the cabinets.  They just don't look good on a restored blue cabinet.  The white handles seem to have been the most prone to breakage, so they are generally harder to find.

I never understood why Emerson matched the knob and handle colors to the cases.  They look much better with the trim swapped around.  The blue radio looks spectacular with red trim.  The red radio would look great with the white trim, and the white radio would be much improved with the blue trim.  Was this sort of swapping done by the original retailers?  It wouldn't surprise me.  And, it is always possible that alternate configurations emerged from the factory, perhaps later in the production run.

In any event, the Patriots that are seen today are often the result of parts swapping by collectors who want to complete a radio, or dealers who throw parts together to create a sellable item, or purveyors of "Modern Art" who create non-factory "rarities" to entice the gullible.

Above is an advertisement from the February, 1941 issue of "Fortune" magazine showing the red version of the Patriot.  Click on the image for a larger version.