My Visit To The Bayhead Radio Museum
Bayhead is a small village on Highway 6 between Tatamagouche and Wallace, Nova Scotia. It overlooks Tatamagouche Bay, which opens to the Northumberland Strait.
Ernest D. M. Yeaw was raised in the area, and sold farm radios. In 1945 he went to a job in Rhode Island, U.S.A. When he retired he moved back home and brought 100 radios with him. Ever since them, he's been accumulating additional sets, mostly from yard sales and auctions, plus a few donations to his museum. He now has about 450 radios. His last name is pronounced "yaw".
My uncle was told that many in the collection were the same ones that Ernest himself had sold.
The town of Tatamagouche's web site has a bit about the Museum too.
His museum is housed in an old two-story garage next to his new garage, which, I suppose, he had to build for his vehicles.
When Ernest greets you (sorry - I missed getting a photo of Ernest because I had my lens cap on - the first time this has happened in my life, really!) and you enter, this is what you see - a ceiling with a lot of hubcaps and walls coivered with license plates and automobile pictures. You wonder "where are the radios?" and you spot the back wall with dozens of auto radios. It's a start.
The good stuff is up the stairs, at the left.
This is actually from the top of the stairs, looking back above them.
The yellow item on the left is a paper towel dispenser radio. I think it is, anyway. I didn't really notice it until I got home and studied the picture. Maybe it's a toilet paper dispenser?
The two bottom shelves on the left wall hold a couple of Crosley "Coloradio" and D-25 ("dashboard") sets. Some of those old telephones are actually radios, and some are just old telephones.
By the top of the stairs, (I think) looking to one side.
My first "Oooh!" was for the little wooden Northern Electric (three knobs and dark rectangular dial) sitting on top of the on top of the Zenith console, at the left. I was excited because I got one of these not too lng ago, and it had nothing with the model number on it. Now I know it's a Northern Electric model 5116 ca. 1947/48. As near as I can make out, The Zenith it's sitting on looks like a Model 10-S-474, ca.1940.
On the right side of the bottom shelf of the wicker unit is the top of a turquoise Westinghouse "Refrigerator" radio. I mentioned to Ernest that I had heard that they were called that not just because they looked a bit like a little refrigerator, but that they were given away as a promotional item if you bought a Westinghouse refrigerator. He confirmed that yes, they did give them away.
On the left of the middle wicker shelf is a red Northern Electric Baby Champ 5700, probably repainted.
In the upper right, of couse, is a Mitchell "Lumitone" lamp radio. Unfortunately the original glass shade was gone.
Step to the left and look down an aisle to see ... wait a minute, I think I skipped something.
Oh, I am so lost.
There should be a Westinghouse Columnaire (grandfather clock/radio) in that corner to the left of those grey shelves.
I do see the RCA A-20 - fourth shelf up, left half, has two vertical chrome grille bars. Said to be designed by John Vassos.
Okay, Farther along and looking back, we see the wicker unit by the stairs. ... Unless the wicker unit was actually at the other end?
There's the post with the old headsets hanging from it.
|Oh - the six shelves of Baby Champs.
Here's a few cathedrals behind some plastic sets.
I have a confession: This was the first time since I started collecting radios that I had seen any real live cathedral sets. I thought they would be bigger.
I don't know what the story is on the red horn, whether it was repainted or if it was always that colour.
Hmmm... Now I'm pretty sure the cathedrals were near the head of the stairs.
That green set to left of centre was a bit unusual. It was covered in green flocking, like velvet. The two dark bands were actually shiny metal strips.
On the top shelf behide it we see a light-coloured wooden boxy-looking thing, with a white speaker grille and two white knobs. That is essentially a N.E. Baby Champ 5200 in a wooden cabinet, but I didn't take it down to check the model number.
Somewhere in this pile I noticed a Guild 484 "Spice Chest" radio, and then Ernest pointed out a Guild "Buccaneer Chest" behind it, built like a pirate's treasure chest. I had never heard of that model before. It still had the original owner's manual.
Right below that was another "oooh!"
Two RCA Victors, model M45. This is at the top of my wish list of radios I want to buy, because it's the first radio I remember listening to when I was about 5 years old or so.
The dial glass and knob placement is identical to the RCA Victor A23.
Update August 2001: Now I've got one, but the cabinet will need work.
Moving along, somewhere.
A lot of table radios from the '20s on the far wall.
Hey that looks like the Lumitone at the right
Oh - A Lifco "Roamer" (centre, white and gold streamlined bullet) that looks like my 5508 Midge. The gold must be part of the factory paint job, because that's the second one with those colours that I've seen.
I did take it down and look for evidence that it might have been manufactured for Lifco by Northern Electric, but didn't see any. Shoot - I should have made a note of where in Canada it was made.
Oh yeah - more lovely consoles.
More uh... radios.
Now I'm sure this is the end opposite the stairs. I recognise that odd-coloured tombstone from before.
Some windup phonographs. There's that black speaker horn again, or is it another one?
Gee, I think I remember those brightly-coloured plastic and bakelite sets being at the head of the stairs.
As I was heading downstairs to leave, he mentioned that the sets (about five or six of them) on the small shelf at the bottom of the stairs were for sale. I ended up bringing home a Philco 39-7 tabletop, amateurishly covered in white enamel and in dire need of new veneer. I think it's turning out to be more of a project than I thought, because it's supposed to have inlay stripes of different types of wood.
On our way home again, with a short side-trip to the beach.
Maybe next time, I'll get to stay longer and take some notes. If you happen to see a favourite model that you'd like me to point out, drop me a line, and describe which radio, and in which picture (using the actual image's file name). If you want a copy of the original unedited, unresized (640x480) digital image for any that you see here, I can dig that up too.
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