Zenith Companion Radio
Universal Model 6G601
1941 -1942

Along with the Zenith Trans-Oceanic radios, Zenith manufactured and sold a series of "Campanion" radios. These were AC/DC/Battery operated portable radios like the Trans-Oceanics, but received only the AM Broadcast band, and were usually a little smaller and lighter.

The tube companion radios used the same Z-985 90 volt/9 volt battery as the larger Trans-Oceanics. This trend continued into the solid state era with companion radios for the transistorized Royal 1000 and 3000 series Trans-Oceanics.

The first model companion radio was the Universal Model 6G601ML shown here. Technically, only the Model 6G601ML, with brown alligator covering, should be considerd a companion to the 7G605 Trans-Oceanic of 1941, photo at left, which was also sold only in the brown alligator covering. The pre-war 7G605's had a sailboat speaker cloth like the 6G601. The speaker cloth was changed to a B-17 bomber after the United States entered WWII. Most 6G601 companion radios have the sailboat speaker cloth, although it appears that some of the final run 6G601's may have had the bomber speaker grill. And it is always possible someone swapped out a sailboat for a bomber speaker cloth.

The radio did not play when I purchased it. However, after replacing a dead 3Q5 output tube and recapping the chassis, it plays great, and you can hear it play in the video.

To restore the cabinet of this radio, I first cleaned the cabinet with Dawn dish detergent and water. Then I went over it again with GoJo hand cleaner. When it was as clean as I could get it, I burned off all the frayed threads, then used brown Kiwi shoe dye on all scuffs, tears, and worn spots. Then I applied brown Kiwi shoe polish and buffed it.

I used an abrasive buff in a Dremel tool to remove oxidation and crud from the hardware. This also removed the brass plating. I painted the bare steel with acrylic brass paint, and then made a wash of alcohol, brass paint, and Kiwi Scuff-Cote to age and weather the brass hardware.

Click Here for Video

Shown below, is a Model 6G601MH I purchased on eBay for nine dollars. Although cosmetically it is a disaster, the radio actually played, and even more amazing, the chassis seems to be completely original. Other than the power cord that has been replaced somewhere over the years, radio appears untouched. That this 1941 radio would play as nicely as it does is a testament to the quality of Zenith radios of that era. I rebuilt the chassis and it is currently awaiting restoration of the cabinet.

Return to Trans-Oceanic Gallery