Seventy years ago today, The June 22, 1947, issue of Life magazine carried this ad for the General Electric model 260 portable. Shown in the ad is Monica Lewis, billed as a “popular star of radio and Signature Records.”
The set is touted as being self-charging, meaning that the 2 volt lead acid battery was constantly floating. When the set was run from 120 volts, the battery served as an effective filter capacitor. It had pushbutton tuning for the broadcast band, and also covered five shortwave bands, allowing it to “bring in U.S. and foreign stations galore.” It had “rugged military construction, and die-cast aluminum case that’s light as can be.”
The set’s tube lineup consisted of three 1LN5’S, 1LC6, and 1LH4. The internal battery powered a vibrator power supply, and when plugged in, the battery was charged while in the circuit, with a 3Q5GT serving as rectifier.
I actually owned one of these for a time. By the time I owned it, the battery was long gone and unobtainium. Without the battery in the circuit, the set did have a very pronounced 60 cycle hum. It pulled in a few strong local stations, but shortwave was no longer an option.
Monica Lewis, who was 25 when this ad came out, went on to become the singing voice of “Miss Chiquita Banana,” a cartoon television commercial character. She made her way to the big screen, where she appeared in movies such as Airport ’77 and Earthquake. She died in 2015 at the age of 93.
You can see a video of the model 260 (along with a similar model that covered only the broadcast band) here:
And you can see and hear Miss Chiquita Banana here: