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Dialing back to a distant era.

Byline: The Register-Guard

To view Ken Smith's collection of old radios is to step back in time. The Golden Age of Radio is well represented in a collection of restored vintage radios from the 1920's, 30's and 40's.

As long as he can remember, Smith has been fascinated with electronics. "As soon as I could reach the knobs", he says, radios became an obsession as well. By age 11, he was pedaling his bicycle to service calls, repairing radios and televisions. Ken's Electronics began in Springfield in 1973 and eventually moved to Eugene, where he and wife, Shelia, leased a storefront on River Road. Ken closed the shop a few years ago, as televisions, VCRs and radios became inexpensive to manufacture and a disposable commodity for most folks. For the last few years, he and Shelia have operated Ken's Electronics out of their Eugene home and focused the business on the restoration of vintage radios, televisions and jukeboxes. "We reintroduce people to what a quality product they were," Smith says of the wood cabinet, tube radios common before World War II.

Like most early 20th-century antiques, many are collectible and hearken back to an era when things were made to last.

In the 1970's, Ken and Shelia would search communities for Depression-era vintage radios and be directed to local dumps. "I've got to start preserving some of these," Ken recalls.

Thirty years later, Ken and Shelia have done precisely that.
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Title Annotation:Labor; Ken Smith continues a lifelong love of electronics by restoring vintage radios
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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