McMurdo Silver Masterpiece Radios

I'm the guy who bought the MS Masterpiece V in the Carlton cabinet at Estes May 23. It worked fine when I got it home so I did a full restoration on it including all NOS tubes and I have to say it performs RF wise better than my friends Zenith Stratosphere and much better than his 1939 Scott Philharmonic and sounds nearly as good as the Strat, good low bass and very low distortion. The previous owner bought it 2002 and had all shield cans and the top cover rechromed, had the electronics restored and the 18" Jensen reconed with what looks like a hand laid up felt replacement cone from Jensen.
I would like to locate original or copies of McMurdo Silver's Silver Times newsletters that he published from 1932 to 1938; got any ideas?
RAM
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I have the Jan '37 issue in PDF format on my site:
I have the Installation and Operation manual for the V, if you want a copy I'll do a PDF sooner rather than later.
Chuck
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Silver Times come up seldom on Ebay, but do show up usually in lots of a couple years. Set up a automatic search and wait.
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I have and i bought a poor copy of a copy of a copy of the MS M-5 manual, if your copy is clean and the schematic and parts list are readable I will be happy to pay you for the copy, Chuck A. Let me know.
RAM
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Hi,
You bought a really great radio. I saw it at the auction. The chrome was nice...and that cabinet doesn't come up very often. I would like to see a site actually Pdf all of these issues so many more collectors could have some documentation. I have been trying to bid on some literature for Scott and Mcmurdo over Ebay...but they almost always exceed my budget. Perhaps this forum could be a site with a library to hold some of these? The Gallery is good...but not the same as a library.
Just a thought...
Eric
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Chuck A has a good collection and his scans are good too. I agree maybe this blog could be the source of old documentation. BTW I got today the manual for MS M5 from Tannenbaum they were good copies but large page originals were spread across two or three 8.5X11 pages and the schematic was reduced and unreadable for the most part. We can do better, McMurdo Silver sure did.
RAM
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The Strat has an interesting and very good RF section and its distortion is about the same as the MS M5, very low below 5% antenna to speaker and the IF bandwidth adjustment is very cleaver but the sensitivity of the IF stage varies greatly from narrow to wide and the 2 RF amplifiers stages are not shielded very well and there’s a lot of coupling. McMurdo Silver and Scott knew how to vary IF bandwidth without changing the gain and they did a better job of RF shielding than Zenith did with the Strat, all Zeniths for that matter.
The audio stages in the Strat are extremely well designed and it has the best bass boost circuit going, it starts boosting below 500Hz. not 1kHz. like all others.
RAM
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I don't have a Zenith Strat but I do have some Scott and McMurdo sets.
It's my opinion that based on my ears McMurdos are the better sounding sets of the 2 to listen to on the BC band. Interestingly, I also think that 1930's RCA and pre-1939 Philcos are better sounding sets in general than Scotts and MS's.
I also believe that the condition of the speakers in these sets makes a bigger difference after all these years than what ever brand described sounded like when new.
MS radios were were actually made by the Howard radio company and then the MS sets were moved down the street to Mr Silver's shop for final tuning.
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Felt coned speakers like the Jensen A12 and 18" Jensen in the original MS M5 will outlast most plastic cone speakers made today. Most old speaker failures are from moisture, fingers, glue failures and coil failures (shorts or opens). Magnavox used mostly paper cones and paper will detiorate over time and they have all the felt cone failure modes too. The molded reinforced phenolic cones that GG Majestic made in the late 20s are still perfect today, 80+ years later, even the molded surrounds are perfect. Most speaker manufacturers used reinforced phenolic spiders too and they sually survive well too.
RAM
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I play my M-Silver V in a Clifton cabinet nightly.
The receiver chassis has all original components cap's included.
My Clifton has the original back panel for which I can supply a drawing if anyone needs to make one.
I prefer the look of the Clifton although I think it is more common than the Carlton.
I can't compare it to the other big classics as this is the only one I have but I find it has quite pleasing sound on a good broadband AM (No Iboc). The volume control tone compensation is good and even at low volume the sound just kind of fills the room.
I have been playing for about 15 years and haven't had to make any repairs so far.
6U5's tend to not last long.
I have all metal tubes except rectifiers with the little shield caps in place.
Jim
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I posted the Operation and Installation Manual to my WEB site tonight.
I have some additional McMurdo V factory letters I'll get posted soon.
Chuck
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In my experience the most common causes of 30's-40's era radio speaker failure are:
1. poor storage conditions (flooding, rain, etc)
2. decay of materials (glue failure, open field due to corrosion from paper,etc)
3. damage from children
4. animal damage
Mark Oppat

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ChuckA thank you for posting the MS M5 manual, a beautiful clean scan. Much better than what AGTannenbaum is selling.
RAM
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Thanks for the acknowledgment, it takes a bit of work to get clean scans and then make all the small corrections before converting to PDF.
I have some more MS letters and the like, I'll try to get the rest done
Chuck
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I'm a new owner of a McMurdo Silver M5 and I really appreciate all the information on the radios and the man McMurdo Silver. I've been collecting GG Majestic radios for some time and now have all except for one model deco model, of those produced from 1928 to July 1934. I have restored, rebuilt a friend's Scott and Stratosphere and have listened and measured these radios, only some newer solid state radios even come close to the MS M5 in performance, sound quality and lack of distortion. We have a few MW radio stations around here that a few years ago the FCC would have shut down because of the hum, distortion and over modulation on-air conditions. Thanx again.
RAM
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An Update. I completed the back, installed all the padding and installed the back on my McMurdo Silver Masterpiece V radio and I think it sounds as good if not better than the Zenith Strat. The low bass is amazing and too much with the expander turned on.
You Masterpiece V and VI owners need to make and install the back as installed on most M5 radios. It's easy to scale the picture in the Silver Times January 1937 and easy to make using 3/4" AA Birch plywood and 1X3 red oak braces, painted flat black. I used 4-layers of 1/2" polyester padding stapled to sides and back, making sure to keep it away from the power amplfer/power supply tubes. The four vent cutouts are needed to let the heat out.
RAM
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I have a 15/17 in the Bristol with the back and only a 15" speaker and its a great sounding set too.
Mr Majestic-Radios, check your PM's above.