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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Leon Lambert Crystal Radio

Above you see another gem from the Manassas hamfest.   I didn't know what this was.  And I don't think the seller knew what it was either.  I think I gave him 5 bucks for it (as it turns out that is close to the original 1925 price).  It was only in the course of looking up yesterday's Philmore Fixed Crystal Detector that I happened to spot a picture of this thing.

There is not much to it.  That nice dial is mechanically connected to a sweeper arm that runs along a big coil.   The galena and cats whisker were apparently held in place by the Fahenstock clips on the front.   Leon Lambert made these things in Witchita Kansas around 1924.   He started making them without the fancy wooden box, but one report says he found a good source for the enclosures:

In 2004 Dale Davenport wrote:

Leon Lambert's crystal sets show up maybe as or more often than most other brands from that time period apparently, particularly in the Midwest, There are quite a few variations though: some have a little metal tag tacked on, usually on top front center, some do not have a tag at all. Detectors vary some as well and I've seen them with Erla fixed detectors. One thing is more or less constant it seems, and that is the little wooden boxes they are mounted in. I cannot verify the story other than from observations, but was told quite a number of years ago that the boxes the Lambert sets are mounted in were used to ship sticks of chalk, packed in saw dust, to schools. Lambert supposedly had a deal with someone with the local school system to acquire these as they were emptied. I have owned one example, and have seen other examples of these sets that show some pressure marks on the flat sides, near the corners, where they apparently were packed in bundles, and the strapping tape used to secure the bundles left an impression. This seems to indicate that the story might be true and they might be leftover marks from the box's days as a chalk shipping box.Has anyone else heard the story or can anyone else offer more details on this theory?  From: http://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36735

Here's a picture of the unboxed version -- you can see here where the galena went:

And here we see Leon himself:


  1. The patent shows the radio itself, clearly the same as the one you've got. It shows Lambert's unique form of catwhisker, which was meant to be mounted on those Fahnestock clips.


  2. Doesn't get any more discreet-component-hardware-defined than that! OM Ludd would be proud.

  3. All I can say is you're lucky we had a commitment at church and I couldn't make the hamfest. You would have had some competition for your sweet take-aways! :)

    1. Are you still intrested in one if so I have 1 and didn't know what it was until now.


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