"Truetone" was a brand name used by the Western Auto Supply Company for radios, phonographs, televisions and guitars.
In the early 1930s, Western Auto Supply of Kansas City began marketing "Truetone" branded radios
as part of their full department store catalog, which included their well-known "Western Flyer" bicycles,
another of Western Auto Supply's brand names.
"Wizard" was another of Western Auto's brands used on many of their catalog items,
including outboard motors, appliances, lawnmowers, paints, vacuum tubes, and briefly on radios.
Western Auto Supply Company was founded in 1909 by George Pepperdine, the founder of Pepperdine University.
Hundreds of Western Auto Supply retail stores spanned the country by the '40s and '50s.
The Los Angeles offshoot of the Western Auto Supply company began marketing
"Western Air Patrol" branded radios in the '30s as well.
All types of wood and bakelite radios were offered from large wood floor consoles to portables to very small table radios.
Models for every pocketbook were made, from expensive, high tube-count radios to inexpensive 4-tube radios intended for the youth.
Truetone tube radios were sold into the late 1950s and their radio sales continued into the transistor era.
Many Truetone radios were beautifully designed and now highly sought after by collectors.
Western Auto never made radios themselves but sold radios made by radio manufacturing wholesalers,
with Western Auto's "Truetone" brand name added to them.
Over the years, Truetone radios were made by various manufacturers who also made radios for many other retailers.
Radio manufacturers included Belmont, Detrola, Warwick, Wells Gardner and Continental Radio & TV
who also sold radios to other big name distributors who used their brand names;
including Coronado (Gamble Skogmo), Airline (Montgomery Wards) and others.
Radios with identical cabinets are commonly found with different model numbers,
different decals or names on dials, or the name sometimes embossed into the cabinet.
These names included Admiral, Airline, Air King, Belmont, Coronado, Delco, Detrola, Freshman Masterpiece,
Good Year, Goldentone, Grantline, Mantola, Sky Rover, Truetone, Warwick, Whelco and Western Royal models.
(see the Admiral,
radios in the collection for examples of cabinet crossovers.)
Some Truetone models seemed to be made exclusively for Western Auto.
The Belmont-made "Coronet" design
and the Wells-Gardner-made 2017 "Boomerang" design for example, have only been found with the Truetone name.
Some retail outlets used the manufacturers name, like Belmont and Detrola, labeled on the sets.
See the list below of Western Auto Supply's radio manufacturer suppliers.
Many radio cabinets, labels or chassis license tags include a letter designation for the radio manufacturer.
e.g. W.G. & Co (Wells Gardner), BRC (Belmont Radio Corp.), W.M.Co. (Warwick Manufacturing Co.)
To help find service schematics, you sometimes have to find your radio's equivalent, with a different brand name and model number.
RADIO MANUFACTURERS that supplied radios for Western Auto Supply's line of TRUETONE branded radios: (data from the Truetone Radio Manuals, including company letter designation)
AKP - Air-King Products Co. Inc., 170 Fifty-third St, Brooklyn 32, NY
BRC - Belmont Radio Corp., 5921 West Dickens Ave. Chicago, IL
CON - Connecticut Tel. & Electric Co., Meridan, Connecticut
CRT - Admiral Corporation, 3800 Cortland St. Chicago, IL
DC - Detrola Corporation, Beard Ave. at Chatfield Detroit, Michigan
FADA - Fada Radio & Electric Co., 525 Main St, Belleville, NJ
JRC - Jewell Radio Corp., 10-40 45th Ave., Long Island City, NY
KRC - Kingston Radio Co. Inc., Kokomo, Indiana
MC - McGrade Mfg. Co., Marysville, Kansas
MR - Maguire Industries, Meissner Division, Mt. Carmel, IL
REG - Regel Electronic Corp., 603 W. 130th St., NY,27, NY
SW - Stewart-Warner Corp 1826-52 Diversey Parkway Chicago, IL
TEL - Telechron, Ashland, Mass
TRC - Tele-Tone Radio Corp., 540 West Fifty-Eighth St., NY, NY
WMC - Warwick Mfg. Corp. 4640 W. Harrison St. Chicago, IL
WG - Wells-Gardner & Co. 2701 North Kildare Ave. Chicago, IL
From 1942 to 1945, radio manufacturing was halted, mandated by the government.
All factory manufacturing resources were to concentrate on helping the WWII war effort and needs.
When WWII ended, radio manufacturing resumed and in 1946, bakelite radio models that were first released in the early '40s
were issued again as the same radio molds were brought back out of storage.
Although the same radio cabinets were used, some chassis updates were applied and new model numbers were assigned.
This was especially the case in most of the Belmont-made bakelite models.
The Truetone "Coronet"
models D1015 (1941) and D2611 (1946) are a good example of this.