1940's Amp - John Meck Industries ???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by The Dirty Tube, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. The Dirty Tube

    The Dirty Tube Member

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    Picked this guy up for $5.

    The only suggestion of who made it is a single printed piece of paper inside the cabinet that reads "John Meck Industries" and has a licensing disclaimer for circuit designs by AT&T and Western Electric.

    Anyone know anything about John Meck Industries? My web search turned up a small PA amp head and a handful of AM radios. Seems like these guys didn't last long.

    My guess is mid-to-late 1940's based on the field-coil speaker and tube compliment- 6SJ7, 6F6, and 80.

    Tiny iron.

    I imagine that it probably won't sound good even when perfectly tuned up.

    8" speaker with 62402 and 80A3 stamped on the magnet and 914 on the cone. Any guess for speaker manufacturer?

    I clipped the dry-rotted power cord before even opening it up.

    Some newer electrolytics, otherwise looks original.

    Cabinet made by Geib of Chicago.

    Check it out:

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  2. Marcfordsfuzz513

    Marcfordsfuzz513 Member

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    First of all awesome.

    Maybe contact David Barnes of Vintage 47. He specializes in old Valco amps, but maybe he knows something about these amps.
     
  3. Lost_Cause

    Lost_Cause Member

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    Are you sure that is a field coil speaker? It looks like a permanent magnet with the OT mounted to the speaker which was pretty standard. I am far from an authority though.

    Any shots of the front?
     
  4. zenas

    zenas Member

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    I think Lost Cause is right. Looks like only two wires going to the speaker a field coil would have more since the FC is used like a choke in the power supply.

    As much as I don't like to chage coupling caps. On amps that age it's not uncommon to have to change all the capaicitors and the resisters can be way off.

    I don't see a fuse I'd add one otherwise if something happens it's got to get so bad it throughs the one on the fuse box. They make a lot of bad smelling smoke before that happens! 2 amp fuse like a Champ should be pretty close.
     
  5. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I'm 99% sure it's a field coil speaker, because of the age if nothing else. Look at the upper picture showing the back of the amp. 2 wires from the magnet going to the chassis and two other wires going to the output transformer mounted on the speaker. The transformer output wires go direct to soldering tabs on the speaker frame with the voice coil leads soldered on the same points.
     
  6. S. S. Bender

    S. S. Bender Member

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    It doesn't look like guitar amps were a big thing for them, but a bit of info about the company can be found here:

    http://home.comcast.net/~N9DD/meck.html

    Made in Plymouth, IN


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    Meck Schematics


    Nostalgia Air is a great web source for schematics of older radios. They have quite a few Meck radios listed on their John Meck Industries, Inc. page. Although a subscription is necessary if you want to access more, there is a nice list of Meck radios on the RadioMuseum.Org web site.
    More Meck Pictures

    The Radio Attic Archives has pictures of quite a few Meck Radios here
    Meck Ads

    Here are some old advertisements for Meck Radios. Click on the images for a larger view.
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    Meck Factory


    Here's an additional interesting picture of the assembly line at Meck Radio:
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    Phil's Old Radios


    Possibly the oldest antique radio web site on the internet. Phil has tons of great articles on how he restored vintage sets.There's lots of good info there, especially for newcomers to the hobby. It is no coincidence that my restoration articles have a similar look and feel as Phil's. I love his site. If you do some exploring there, you'll be lost for days! Phil's Old Radios
    Old Radio Restorations

    Don't miss my other radio restorations - I have several listed on my "Projects" page. MoreĀ…
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    Meck Radios


    It is always fun to find radios that were manufactured close to home. I live in northern Indiana in the city of South Bend - home of the University of Notre Dame.
    A mere two dozen miles south is the town of Plymouth, Indiana - strategically located at the intersection of US Highways 30 and 31. With a major rail line following the path of US 30 as well, Plymouth has always been a mecca for manufacturers.
    John S. Meck grew up in the Chicago area. Dissatisfied as a college student, John left school and ran away, only to be found later at a radio shop on Dearborn street in Chicago. (For some interesting reading, see The Mystery of John Meck)
    Just prior to World War II, John went on to found John Meck Industries, Inc. in Plymouth, Indiana. The company originally manufactured phonographs and public address systems. During the war, quartz crystals for radio equipment and various other electric devices were manufactured as well. After World War II the company converted to manufacturing radios. Among its products were radios labeled with the Meck name, as well as Deluxe, Lee, MirrorTone, Trail Blazer, and Plymouth. From June 1949 Meck added commercial TV receiving sets with both 7 and 10 inch table models. The plant closed in 1956.
    John Meck later went on to purchase the remnants of the E.H. Scott Company - this well after the ousting of its namesake and the company's subsequent decline into oblivion. My Meck Radios




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    For Christmas of 2012 I received two radios as gifts from my family that turned out to be made by John Meck Industries.
    The first one, shown above, was obviously a Meck - a small AC/DC portable with a small brass "Meck" name plate front and center at the top of the front. (You can see a bigger picture by clicking on the image.)
    The radio is a Model 5D7-W18 and uses common battery set tubes - 1R5 Mixer/Osc, 1U4 IF Amp, 1S5 Det/AF Amp, and 3V4 AF Pwr Amp. Below are a couple of additional pictures showing the inside top and underside of the radio:
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    You can see that minimal restoration has been done to the set - electrolytic capacitors and one additional paper cap replaced (done by a previous owner.)
    The second radio shown above was labeled "Plymouth" and was more of a mystery. A posting to the Antique Radio forum quickly brought the answer that the second radio was indeed manufactured by Meck and labeled with the Plymouth name. It is very similar to other Meck sets with the "Trail Blazer" name.
    A small table radio with a wooden case, the "Plymouth" uses early octal tubes 35Z5, 12SA7, 12SK7, 12SQ7, and 50L6. Here is a shot of the underside of this set:
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    Although neither of these radios offers much in the way of looks or performance, they are interesting nonetheless, and represent some of the manufacturing history of this part of Indiana. I love them! More from the Web

    Here are a few links to other radio hobbyist's web pages with Meck radios.
    Steve Sliger - Radiotrician - 2 Mecks from his collection
    Jeremy's Antique Radios - 4C7 Restoration
    plasticradios.com - 5A7-PB11 Restoration
    audiophile.com - Meck RC-5 Trail Blazer (Beautiful!)

    I always love hearing from visitors to my web pages. If you have any comments or questions, you can email me using the link at the top of this page or, better yet, sign my guestbook. Thanks!
     
  7. zenas

    zenas Member

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    Could be the single ended feild coils are wired different then the amps I've worked on. They've all had a pair of power tubes.
    Got a schmatic ? (yeah I know very hard or impossible to find)
     
  8. amphog

    amphog Silver Supporting Member

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    Field coil speakers will have 4 wires going to the coil area. That is a alnico speaker with a transformer attached.
     
  9. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I believe 2 wires go to the electromagnet and two to the voice coil. That is what we have here. Look at the top picture not the speaker closeup. Of course I could be totally wrong........ ;-)
     
  10. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Cool info on Meck. Another example of good paying jobs lost to technical progress.
     
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've looked at the back of that speaker a bunch of times. It has to be field coil! Why? Well, only two wires from the chassis to the OT. Where do the wires from the OT to the speaker go? Must be under the OT, going to the two screw terminals on the speaker frame. So, we now have a normal, two speaker wires going to the speaker from the OT. What can the other two wires be? Nothing except power for the active voice coil.
     
  12. The Dirty Tube

    The Dirty Tube Member

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    Like I said at the top of the thread, it is a field-coil speaker.

    This little amp is charmingly simple... a total of 6 caps and 4 resistors.

    Even though it had an old cap change done many years ago, with capacitance that may or may not be accurate, I might draw up a schematic just for kicks.

    Thanks for everyone's input, and a big thanks to S.S. Bender for digging up all of that literature.

    Here's a photo of the front:

    The wooden cabinet made by Geib has a thick wallpaper-like covering, and the leather handle is in remarkably good shape (light weight amp).

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