Majestic

1932 Model 307

with

Automatic Synchro-Silent Tuning

Grand Opera Dynamic Speaker

and

Reactance Resonance Indicator

 

The Majestic model 307 was one of Grigsby-Grunow’s top of the line offerings for 1932. The model 307 featured eleven tubes, a tuning indicator, and interstation noise suppression, all packaged in a truly magnificent cabinet.

 

In 1932 America was in the depths of the great depression. Most families could afford only midget radios built with four or five tubes. Some people, however, still had enough money to purchase a really fine radio. It was to this small group that Majestic marketed the model 307. The chassis contained eleven tubes, all of which really were necessary for the circuits used. The 307 used one tuned RF amplifier, separate mixer and oscillator tubes, one IF amplifier, and a push-pull audio output section with two 47 tubes. One tube operated the automatic volume control circuit and the tuning indicator. The tuning indicator dimmed the dial lamp to indicate proper tuning ("resonance" according to Majestic). The marketing department called this the "Reactance Resonance Indicator". Another tube was required to operate the interstage noise suppression feature. This gimmick cut out all signals below a certain level between stations when tuning. A control on the side of the set allows the user to adjust the level. Again, the marketing people milked this feature, calling it "Automatic Synchro-Silent Tuning". This feature is interesting, but only moderately useful. Majestic used their spray shield tubes throughout the model 307. These tubes with their built-in shields were the forerunner of the metal tubes. Not many years after their debut, they were discontinued, thus requiring the installation of tube shields when replacing the original tubes. Two of the tubes (the 82 and the G-4-S) were used almost exclusively in Majestic sets, and were not universally available. The performance of the 307 is excellent, as would be expected for a set of this caliber.

 

The model 307 cabinet is truly unique in that it is styled after a church pipe organ. Many of the motifs used in ornately carved churches are found in this cabinet, along with the obvious organ pipe grill bars and the lighted stain glass. The cabinet suggests radio performance rivaling that of a fine pipe organ. And of course what else would you expect of a radio containing a "Majestic Grand Opera Dynamic Speaker"?

 

Majestic

1932 Model 307

This example of the model 307 came to me as a matter of chance. An antique dealer friend told me he had an old radio cabinet sitting in his shop that I might want. I asked for a picture, I did not want to fill my workshop with boring cabinets. When I received the picture I was surprised. I had read an article back in 1988 in RADIO AGE about the set, but never thought I would see one. I soon made a deal with my friend and the cabinet was mine. The original speaker was still in the cabinet! The chassis had probably been removed for servicing, but never made it back from the repair shop. The finish was still in good condition, a real bonus considering the difficulty of refinishing such an intricate cabinet. I determined that I could use a chassis out of any 300 series Majestic, and placed ads in all the antique radio publications begging for a chassis. I displayed signs at the AWA meet in Monroe NC. I got only ONE call.

 

I was lucky! The one call was enough. A collector friend in North Carolina called and said he had a chassis for the model 307 that he would give me. It was rough, but I did not care. The chances of finding this exact chassis must be small indeed. The story behind the chassis is interesting. A certain small town radio dealer in North Carolina took radios in trade, but did not resell the used radios. He figured he could sell more new radios that way (or so the story goes). The trades were relegated to a barn and slowly deteriorated or were scavenged for parts. The model 307 was badly water damaged as it sat in the barn. When the radio dealer eventually died, the contents of the barn were dispersed. Most of the stuff was junk, the only scavengable part of the model 307 was the chassis.

 

When I received the chassis, it was bad, but definitely restorable. All the tubes were missing, the volume control and the noise suppresser were gone. I carefully and laboriously cleaned the chassis. I replaced the missing parts. Next, I removed all the capacitor blocks from the chassis (all capacitors in this radio are potted in metal containers). I installed new capacitors in the original containers. I used dark brown silicone to seal the capacitors since it resembled the tar used originally. A special order to a Majestic collector produced the elusive G-4-S tube. I did not want to scour the country and empty my wallet in search of a full compliment of spray shield tubes. I added the standard goat tube shields as servicemen of the 40’s would also have done. The coil used in the tuning indicator circuit was open, so I rewound it. Once reassembled, the set worked perfectly! Even the alignment was still perfect. As expected, the set sounds great. It’s funny how odd bits of radio junk can come together to make a rare and interesting bit of history. Don’t you like stories with happy endings?

Stan Watkins 1997

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