Magic-Tone Model 504 Whiskey Bottle Radio

Magic-Tone Bottle Radio

The "Magic-Tone" model 504 whiskey bottle radio was made in 1947 by the Radio Development and Research Corporation, of Jersey City, NJ.

The "bottle" is real glass which was manufactured specifically for this radio (they didn't modify actual bottles for this application).  The speaker faces downward, and the sound emerges through the slots in the brown Bakelite base.  The "cap" is made in two pieces which function as the volume and tuning controls.  The chassis is a cheap, AC-DC 4-tube design that works well only on strong local stations.  The pilot light inside the bottle was a nice touch, though.  It gave the listener a warm, mellow glow while the real whiskey was taking over.

The "label" was painted on by a silk-screen process.  Originally, there was a tuning scale around the neck of the bottle, but that is mostly missing on the example shown here.  Apart from the inherent fragility of the glass bottle, the biggest problem with these sets is the label.  The paint they used is water soluble, and any attempt to clean the label will destroy it, so beware!

This radio was also sold as a promotional item for Lord Calvert whiskey and came with labels that were identical to those that were used on real bottles.  To the best of my knowledge, this was the only brand that used these radios for advertising purposes.

Magic-Tone Radio-Rear View