It looks like cost engineering was already happening back in the 1930s:
In the foreground, the destroyed original power transformer from the 1939 Zenith 7-S-363 radio; the rear, an equivalently rated replacement built in October 2010 by Edcor Transformer. In order to squeeze out a few cents cost savings per chassis, Zenith under-rated their power transformers and ran them right at the limit. In certain modes of tube failure, or just age and components wearing out, the power transformer’s razor-thin safety margin would be exceeded resulting in overheating, shorting and melting. Which is exactly what’s happened on the one I’m repairing at some point in its life.
My guess is that the standards for radio transformers in the 1930’s were not as thorough as they are today. But I guess cutting corners on manufacturing has been around for ages.
Mike, I imagine you’re right about that!
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