Fisher Consoles 1945-1958

Discussion in 'Fisher' started by TheRed1, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. pborten

    pborten Member

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    I just bought a beautiful Fisher mono console that has the R-3 chassis in what appears to be the Wilton cabinet. The amp works, but only for whatever is plugged into the "TV In" jack. My question is about the jumper that is supposed to connect the "Expander In" and "Expander Out" jacks... it is not in place. What is the effect of no jumper connection on the operation of the unit? Any light you can shed would be very helpful. The turntable (a Voice of Music with, I believe, a ceramic cartridge, and so not original to the console) works fine when attached to the TV input. Radio was supposedly working but not now. Thanks so much for any reply.
     
  2. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    There is supposed to be a jumper in there. Look at the schematic, it's only a jumper that puts the xpander in series with the Audio path. The TV in Jack apparently is AFTER the Expander in jumper and the reason you get sound from that jack.

    Use a RCA Cable for right now until you can make a jumper.

    Larry
     
  3. pborten

    pborten Member

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    Thanks, Larry, I tried connecting the two jacks with an RCA but did not help with radio. You say look at the schematic... can you post it or direct me to it somewhere? I have a packet but it is all xeroxed and reduced in size, so very hard to read.

    Thanks!

    Peter
     
  4. jonboy55

    jonboy55 Well-Known Member

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    Larry is correct about the jumper.

    It maybe that the radio is not working and needs repair.
     
  5. TheRed1

    TheRed1 Console Conservationist

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    Pborten: Wow! Congratulations on finding what I believe is one of the earlier Fishers to surface here at AK. Oh, and welcome to AK. I'd love to see some photos. Incidentally, the Expander loop should only affect the phono input. The Expander was designed to restore the dynamics to older records and was not used in the tuner signal chain. Your radio has a separate problem.

    The R-3 chassis wasn't used contemporaneously with the "Wilton" cabinet. What you have is somewhat older and is probably much rarer, too. Fisher kept renaming your particular model. I believe yours is the original 1954 Futura model in the Tempo cabinet which appears identical to the later Wilton. The wood used in the Tempo cabinet is supposedly Korina! The Wilton was merely walnut.

    The Futura series debuted in the 1954 model year with the R-3 chassis (available in the MR-10 "Mayfair", $549.50; TR-10 "Tempo", $569.50 or PR-10 "Provincial" $569.50 cabinets) as a new line of consoles slightly less expensive than the Electra series.

    In 1955 it became the Custom Futura series with the J-10 chassis (available in the BJ-10 "Brittany" - formerly the "Provincial, CJ-10 "Covington" - formerly the "Mayfair" or the TJ-10 "Tempo" cabinets) all priced at $429.50. AK member Relaximus has a beautiful example of this series in the Covington cabinet.

    In 1956 it was again renamed as the Medalist II series with the R-20 chassis. The cabinets, model numbers and the price carried over from the previous model year.

    In 1957 the series name, Medalist II, remained unchanged but the cabinets were renamed; the model numbers were finally changed to reflect the R-20 chassis and the price shot up to $479.50. The "Brittany" became the R-20P "Provence"; the "Covington" became the R-20S "Stratford" and the "Tempo" became the R-20W "Wilton".

    The Medalist II series continued unchanged into 1958 but with only the Provence cabinet available. The price remained $479.50. The model number was the R-20. The letter code that follows the model number specifies the wood/finish (M=Mahogany; P=Fruitwood).

    For reference, these are the 1957 versions of the three Futura/Custom Futura/Medalist II cabinets with their different names; the oldest (1954) at the top of the list. There were hardware (drawer pulls, handles etc.) and wood/finish changes over the years, but the cabinets remained substantially the same.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. thorenstd124

    thorenstd124 Super Member

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    Found this ad on the web,may be of interest

    [​IMG]
     
  7. pborten

    pborten Member

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    Electra VII FS in Clifton, NJ

    Just in case someone is nearby enough, it's an estate sale & the console looked to be in beautiful shape. I know it's on tomorrow (Saturday), mightr be Sunday, too. I have no affiliation, just happened to see it there (no room in my house for more consoles!).

    Here is the link to the sale:
    http://www.estatesales.net/estate-sales/195222.aspx
     
  8. TheRed1

    TheRed1 Console Conservationist

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    A Field Guide To Fisher Consoles: Part 1

    The Mono Cabinets 1947-1959

    OK, let me see if I can put this together without really confusing the dozen or so folks who I suspect might actually be interested. Fisher restarted his company - under his own name this time - in late 1945. He took out a lease on a storefront at 270 Park Ave. in Manhattan in late November of that year. Probably as a result of his unhappy experience with the partnership arrangement at the Philharmonic Radio Co., he set up the Fisher Radio Corp. as a sole proprietorship.

    I don't have any information on the consoles from Fisher's first year, but he was the beneficiary of some extraordinarily good press in 1946. I'd like to think it was the result of word-of-mouth advertising but Avery Fisher's background was in the fields of publishing and advertising. It makes you think.

    The one product I have evidence as having possibly been for sale at the Fisher Radio Company in 1946 is the extraordinary Decca Decola ffrr radiogram from the UK. Or course it would have been called a radio-phonograph here. It was being imported through Decca's American affiliate, the London Gramophone Corp., so the American version was to be called the London ffrr (full frequency range reproducer). I don't know for sure if any of these were actually ever imported and sold here. London would have needed an American company to supply the radio chassis and apparently nobody stepped forward. (There's a bigger story here but I'll tell that in a more appropriate forum one of these days.) Of interest to us is that the Fisher Radio Corp. is listed among the half dozen or so companies in New York that would be carrying the very expensive ($1495-2500) London ffrr's in late 1946.

    1947 - (1949?)

    Fisher's first (known) console offerings were divided into two models: the Anniversary and the Medalist. There were at least four cabinets available: The Allegro, The Georgian, The Regency, and The Covington (all pictured below). Which cabinets were available with which models is not clear - I think it's possible that you could get whatever you wanted at this point. There is also a price list I have seen which purports to be from 1947 that lists a fifth cabinet: The Chadwick. But I haven't found any illustrations to confirm its existence.

    [​IMG]

    The Allegro cabinets shown below illustrate the minor hardware changes that differentiate the 40s version (all ring pulls) from the 50s version (with the knobs on the lower doors). The simple and elegant lines of The Allegro cabinet allowed it to survive the ever-changing styles in decor all the way into the 1955 model year. It is, by far, the longest surviving Fisher console cabinet. This is also the only one I have seen in person. It is surprisingly large and imposing at 37½" high x 37½" wide x 20" deep.

    [​IMG]

    1950

    The 1950 model year saw the Anniversary and Medalist models replaced with Coronet and Electra models, respectively. The number of available cabinets may have been reduced to only two: The Allegro and The Georgian. Either that or I have yet to find the ads.

    1951 - (1953?)

    1951 saw the introduction of the Custom Sixty as Fisher's flagship model, available in either The Allegro or The Georgian cabinet. The Coronet becomes the base model and the Electra disappears until resurrected in 1955. Three new cabinets are introduced for the Coronet: The Hampshire, The Provincial and The Warwick.

    [​IMG]

    1954

    1954 saw the introduction of a new entry-level model: the Futura. Three new cabinets are introduced for the Futura: The Mayfair, The Tempo and The Provincial*. These basic cabinets would continue on the entry-level Futura and its 1956 replacement model, The Medalist II. I have included all of the different names (1954-1957) for each cabinet.

    The Custom Sixty and Coronet models are retained for the first ever three-tier Fisher console hierarchy. The Custom Sixty is available in The Allegro, The Hampshire or The Provincial cabinets. The Coronet is available in The Allegro, The Hampshire, The Warwick and (not pictured) The Croyden "Chairside" cabinet.

    *Note that this "Provincial" is different than the earlier 1951-53? cabinet of the same name above. It is somewhat smaller than that one, too.

    [​IMG]

    1955

    1955 saw an explosion in the number of models and cabinets. There may have been some overlap between the recycled (and yet new) Custom Electra and the outgoing Coronet models. The Custom Electra was replacing the Coronet but both appear to have been available at the same time.

    The Custom Sixty is available in The Allegro and The Hampshire cabinets. The Coronet model is available in The Allegro, The Hampshire, The Warwick and The Provincial cabinets. Two new cabinets debut for the Custom Electra model: The Rhondo and The Chadwick. The Provincial, as it is known on Coronet model, becomes The Normandy on the Custom Electra - a much better name, in my opinion. There is also a new Custom Electra "DeLuxe" model with upgraded speakers available in either The Allegro or The Hampshire cabinets. The entry-level Futura now becomes the "Custom" Futura and is available in The Tempo, The Covington (different from the 40s version of the same name) and The Brittany.

    Note yet another subtly different version of the "Provincial" cabinet that I didn't notice until I was previewing this post.

    [​IMG]

    1956

    1956 saw the replacement of the venerable Custom Sixty with the similar Ambassador model as Fisher's flagship. It was available only in The Hampshire cabinet. The Custom Electra continued as the only mid-line model for 1956 with an expanded number of cabinet options: The Rhondo, The Gotham, The Ebony, The Chadwick, The Strathmore and The Normandy. The entry-level model, now renamed the Medalist II, is available with the following cabinets: The Wilton, The Stratford and The Provence.

    [​IMG]

    1957

    Due to the appearance of the amazing new stereo President model, the Ambassador is no longer Fisher's flagship model. Still available only in The Hampshire cabinet, it is demoted to third-down-from-top-of-the-line status after the also-stereo Executive. The Custom Electra is replaced by the Custom Electra II for '57 and sports the following new cabinets: The Essex and The Chatham as well as the returning Normandy and Gotham. The entry-level Medalist II is held over with the same cabinetry options as the year before.

    [​IMG]

    1958-1959

    Fisher continued to offer mono consoles despite the rising popularity of the stereo fad (which continues even today). The 'lowboy' 1958 Futura was certainly an oddball - designed to look like the new stereo console but NOT, in fact, stereo. The Custom Electra II and Medalist II continued through 1959 but only in the french provincial cabinets. The Custom Electra II having the Normandy cabinet in '58 (Normandy II 1959) and the Medalist II having the Provence cabinet in '58 (Provence II 1959). The was also a new entry-level mono console called the Contemporary (Contemporary II in 1959) in a (surprise!) contemporary-styled cabinet. All of the '59 mono consoles could easily be converted to stereo with the addition of the 'Stereo Companion' or other external powered speaker.

    I have consciously omitted the consolettes since I believe they are best treated separately, spanning the mono-stereo transition as they do.

    I would like to thank Jonboy55 for scans of many hard-to-find early Fisher catalogs that he has had some amazing luck in finding. Also a big thank you to the Fisher Professor who has graciously allowed me access to his huge store of Fisher material. Hopefully this information will aid in identifying and perhaps saving some of these incredible machines. If you are lucky enough to come across one I encourage you to post photos and share the details of what you find inside. Each new find adds a little more data to this expanding body of knowledge and helps tell the Fisher story.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
    Leland47 likes this.
  9. joel27

    joel27 Super Member

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    Thanks again for such interesting material and info.
     
  10. thorenstd124

    thorenstd124 Super Member

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    I'm not sure,but I think London imported the ffrrs directly from England,rebranded them,and put the London "coat of arms" name plate on them.I have a late 40s London 78 catalog somewhere,that has a picture of one.

    Man,I would love to have one of those "Ebonys".

    Thanks again for the great information,Red!
     
  11. thorenstd124

    thorenstd124 Super Member

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    I'm not sure,but I think London imported the ffrrs directly from England, rebranded them,and put the London "coat of arms" name plate on them.I have a late 40s London 78 catalog somewhere,that has a picture of one.

    Man,I would love to have one of those "Ebonys".

    Thanks again for the great information,Red!
     
  12. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    Red, you sir are a tease. Just waiting is driving me absolutely NUTS!

    But the research is top notch, and we all appreciate it when we can ID most every console FISHER made with and almost 99% certainty. The other 1% we can bring here, and it will be id'ed in 24 hours or less. NOWHERE else on the net can you get that kind of "Customer Service".

    BRAVO ZULU!

    Larry
     
  13. TheRed1

    TheRed1 Console Conservationist

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    Sorry, Larry, that was not my intention. I absolutely understand the levels of excitement and anticipation that these incredibly rare and amazing early Fishers (And Philharmonics!) can generate. However, it surely was your impending acquisition that got me digging through all the ancient Fisher files I've been accumulating and trying to make some sense of it all (re: the R-3).

    I dispatched an email to Wrigley to see if she would check for the production code on the Jensen H-510 in her R-3 Coronet to determine its approximate vintage. Between the sleek and sophisticated piano-black finish of her Allegro cabinet and the incredibly elegant, rich wood grain of the other R-3 Coronet's Hampshire cabinet I have seen (probably just like Joel27's Custom Sixty), I don't know which I like more.

    I just figured out - this very minute - that Wrigley's R-3 Coronet is a '54 model. In close-up photos of her speaker there's a piece of tape adhered to the VC/magnet housing that has "DRAKE AR 11 SER. 8060" written in pencil on it. AR-11 is the model number of the 1954 Coronet in the Allegro cabinet! Could "DRAKE" be the last name of the original owner? So we now know the serial number of an R-3 from the last year of its production which gives us somewhat of a benchmark to measure others against. I'll email Victor to try to get an early R-3 serial number from his presumed (based on the speaker production code) 1951 Coronet. If I can get in touch with Victor I might able to "bracket" the serial numbers of the R-3 to some extent.

    Oh, and I almost forgot to add that the 1954 Futura model has a 12" coaxial speaker versus the 15" Jensen H-510 that apparently came standard on the 1950-1954 R-3 Coronets. So I am hoping, for your sake, that you draw a Coronet - although a '54 Futura wouldn't be a huge disappointment, would it?
     
  14. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    I Know it wasn't your intention. I was pinging on ya.

    Coronet, Futura, CE,....Doesn't matter to me. As long as it has FISHER on the front I'm happy.

    Larry
     
  15. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    Guess it's time for an update to the previous post. The console is a 1951 FISHER CORONET (WR-11) in the WARWICK Cabinet. It had no speaker or baffle, otherwise was complete. A recap, and making of a baffle to fit a 15" speaker took about a week. See the Link......What was that Masked Console in D.C.

    It has been running approx 10 hours a week in my bedroom. It now has a Duplex 15" Jensen from a 1956 or so Fisher. I originally put in a 15" FULL Range Jensen from a Motorola. But the Duplex sounds so much better.

    [​IMG]

    Larry
     
  16. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

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    Having gotten a C-800 Contemporary (It's a '58 model according to the chassis model, transformer and speaker dating) (link here...... http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/c-800-contemporary-coming-home.697697/ )and remembering a post from Sam and Red with regard to the size of the Contemporary cabinet http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/fisher-consoles-1945-1958.154781/page-2#post-4094132 (apparently there were 3 different sizes! WTH???) I pulled out the measuring tape and did the numbers on my C-800, dated early to mid 1957 from the speaker and tube date codes. Feb '57 for the speakers and July to Aug 57 for the tubes. Serial 10198 E.
    Dimensions;
    Width 36-1/16"
    Depth 18-3/16"
    Height 27-5/16" Cabinet only
    Height 32-13/16" Cabinet with legs.

    Using the Tube dates, possible build dates of late Sept to mid October 1957 is possible due to logistics of the day. The dimensions are off a little from published, but within acceptable tolerances, I would think. Based on published info I would put mine in the 3rd iteration of the cabinet. The difference in height (5/16") is possibly due to the mashed end caps on the legs. I measured it in all 4 corners and it didn't vary more than 1/64", with 3 corners being exactly the same. The 4th was the left front and due to the lift top for the phono.

    With mine being identified as an Early 1958 model, I would think that the depth measurement put out by FISHER was a marketing Dept. Error and wasn't caught before printing. The height issue is possible if the legs on the 58 and 59 models were longer, as there is absolutely no space in the cabinet around the top or bottom of the 15" speaker. Unless the early '57 models used a 12" speaker.

     
  17. Sam Cogley

    Sam Cogley Last of the Time Lords Subscriber

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    I just measured my C800. It's 33 1/8-ish tall with the legs, 18 1/8"-ish deep. "Stereo" is the left-most input marking. As you guys probably recall, my C800 was missing the R20 receiver when I got it. The two different R20s that I've been through are both earlier models with the glued-on blue data plate and the stray line-level input is marked as "TV" instead of "Stereo."

    The finish still doesn't look like Walnut or Mahogany to me. It looks more like Cherry, but somewhat less red than one would normally expect from that finish. The only thing I can figure is that someone really liked the Fruitwood veneer/stain and got Fisher to make up a version that wasn't cataloged.
     
  18. zeffer1940

    zeffer1940 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am proud to say I belong to the Fisher Club as well, I picked mine though a craigslist add, with the expectation that I would do the unspeakable
    and harvest the remaining parts--but upon inspection, I could not believe my fortune, and quickly loaded and raced home with my treasure--It is an Allegro I believe, with a R-3 chassis, expander and Webster table, with removable headshell. The serial number is 8173 or so..( I will dbl chk). The finish is good, and unit is unmolested with letters from Avery Fisher to the original owner in the back! I will add those if there is interest. I recapped it and have a GE VRII for 78s and modern Shure cart for my modern stereo lps. The speaker is a Stevens 15'' with embedded hi freq horn..I unplugged the expander and added a hidden equalizer in its place, plugged a cd player into the TV port and away we go!! fisher.jpg Here is a silly test video on the bench during service--I like the glow of the tubes..
     
  19. Sam Cogley

    Sam Cogley Last of the Time Lords Subscriber

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    What a find! I'd love to see the Avery Fisher letters, and some pics of that Stephens coaxial unit, too.
     
  20. TheRed1

    TheRed1 Console Conservationist

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    I second Sam's request to post the Avery Fisher letters. A very lucky find, indeed. I do love those blond Allegro cabinets. It nice to see one find a good home. Best Christmas news I've had this year!
     

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