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Ebony Sparton 517-B Radio Walter Dorwin Teague Art Deco Design

$3,500Asking Price


Rare 1936 517-B Sparton “Cube” with the ebony lacquer finish plus chrome trim, a rare Art Deco radio. Manufactured by the Sparks-Withington Company of Jackson, Michigan and was the creation of renowned Industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague. This model radio was one of three finishes available in 1936, wood, ivory and ebony. Of the three, the 517-B in ebony is the only one that was available with chrome stripes and the ribbed knobs also with chrome inserts, a feature that in my opinion sets it quite apart from all the other cube radios of the period. This radio retains the original manufacturers label affixed to chassis showing the model # as 517-B, this radio has been carefully restored back to its original state, black lacquer refreshed and has a beautiful sheen. The 3-chrome strips are original to the radio and are in excellent original condition showing no surface wear. Additionally, this radio has been fitted with a 1/8 inch adapter which will allow you to use this with your iPhone, smartphone, iPods or record player. Access your old vinyl, or tune into Pandora, Apple Music or the playlist on your computer to provide the tunes and use the Bluetooth connection to bring the warm, bright, analogue sound of a tube amplifier to any music or recordings you choose. The quality of the sound is excellent, just ask any guitarist since these kinds of tube based amps are still being made and used today. You will have the best of “digital” and “analogue” combined.


  • Creator
  • Dimensions
    Height: 12.5 in. (31.75 cm)Width: 13.5 in. (34.29 cm)Depth: 9 in. (22.86 cm)
  • Style
    Art Deco (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Replacements made: the case was refinished and 1/8th inch adaptor was added for Bluetooth. Additions or alterations made to the original. Minor losses. the case was refinished and the chassis was restored adding 1/8th inch adaptor plug.
  • Seller Location
    Oakland, CA
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 26511stDibs: LU871421010912

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $110 Standard Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 3-5 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Oakland, CA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About Walter Dorwin Teague (Designer)

Along with Raymond Loewy, Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss and others, Walter Dorwin Teague pioneered the field of industrial design in the early decades of the 20th century. In his designs for furniture and objects that ranged from table lamps to radios, Teague helped defined the Machine Age aesthetic — the streamlined style that was the American counterpart to the French Art Deco movement.

     Teague grew up in rural Indiana, the son of a Methodist minister who was also a tailor. The young Teague was skilled at drawing, and in 1903, after finishing high school, he saved some money and moved to New York, where he took classes at the Art Students League. He later found success as a typographer and an advertisement illustrator. The look of ads in the early 20th century was so far superior to that of the actual products being promoted that manufacturers began consulting with illustrators like Teague about the styling of their goods. Teague’s aesthetic sensibilities were strongly shaped by a trip he had made to Europe in 1926, when he toured the Universal Exposition in Paris, buildings by Le Corbusier and a Bauhaus exhibition. On his return home, Teague founded an industrial-design consultancy. The following year, he won his first big client, Kodak, for whom he designed cameras, such as the famed Bantam Special, with its sleek, “speed line” detailing. His firm would go on to design such things as pavilions for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, rail coaches, gas stations, automobiles, corporate logos and a Boeing airliner.

     Among collectors, Teague’s products designs are prized not so much for what they do as for what they represent: a moment when design took a hand in fostering a spirit of energy, optimism and progress. Objects such as his Kodak 1A Gift camera, with its Constructivist case and box, have a graphic punch that should find a place in many a vitrine. His 1930s glassware lines for Steuben still make a striking presence on the bar or the dinner table. The jewels among Teague collectibles are his 1939 Bakelite-shade table lamp for Polaroid (made before the firm began producing cameras) and his striking designs for the Sparton Radio Corporation, most notably the rare and stunning Bluebird model, with its circular glass and chrome frame. Prices for Teague’s work vary widely by medium, style and condition. But as you can see from these pages, the designs of Walter Dorwin Teague are emblems of both a time and a distinctive style. They are cynosures for any true collector.

About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Oakland, CA
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
Established in 1990
1stDibs seller since 2009
197 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
20th Century Specialists
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