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Retro Audiophile Designs

Zenith Tip-Top Holiday 4G903

Zenith Tip-Top Holiday 4G903

Regular price $475.00 CAD
Regular price Sale price $475.00 CAD
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Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Network Music Streamer
Spotify enabled

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Network Music Player
Case: Portable Tube Radio
Zenith Tip-Top Holiday model 4G903 from 1949.

This was as portable a radio could be in the late 40’s. The tubes and the battery pack required some space back in those days. The blue grey plastic cabinet has a slightly rounded shape and the front is decorated with a shiny stainless-steel trim. The main feature of this extraordinary radio is the dial – the Tip Top dial. The oversized dial swings up when the lid is open. The swinging dial was also actually the on and off switch. When the lid was open and up the radio was on, when closed the radio was off. The magnificent Zenith crest is placed in the center of the dial. The dial itself is dominated by a translucent red station indicator. Opening the lid also reveals the speaker grille and two buttons, the volume control and the tuning control. On the top is a convenient flexible handle that makes the set portable.

American Zenith Radio Company was an innovative manufacturer of consumer electronics based in Chicago, Illinois. They were pioneers in FM radio and had already made portable radios as early as the 20’s. Maybe Zenith’s most appreciated achievement for consumers was that they produced the first modern wireless remote controls. In their heyday in the 50’s, the company was able to maintain strong sales in radios and expand into the television market. Actually the company was successful well into the 70’s. Eventually Zenith became a division of Korean LG electronics.

Unfortunately, the original on/off switch with the swinging lid could not be trusted. Now that the radio has been upcycled, there is a new switch in the back. At the rear of the unit there is also the new USB-port, the four speaker terminal posts, the RJ-45 port for LAN and the DC power input. The mini sized USB memory stick which holds the software (not shown in the pictures) is placed on the right side of the case. A blue led light in the front indicates when the player is on.  

This radio has been thoroughly cleaned and polished. There are tiny scratches here and there, probably because it was a portable radio. None of the scratches are really deep or bad. The case has no cracks and no marks.  However, there is a visible small crack on the upper left part of the dial. Besides the crack the dial is in an amazing condition, absolutely clear, no fading or hazing. The back of the radio was meant to be opened when a new battery pack was required or when shifting from battery to AC power. The back can still be opened though it should be always kept closed to protect the new electronics. Over all the radio is in very good condition.


Dimension: 31 x 23 x 15 cm  [lid closed]

Weight: 2.3 kg

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