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Preserving Arvin

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The Mighty Mites were built for toughness!  Check out this letter from World War 2:

The first such set was the Model 40 (and 40A).  Different advertising called them by different names --- the Mighty Mite and the Arvinet.    These units were all manufactured in Columbus, IN.

At least two different dial plates exist --- one carries the Arvin name, and the other displays Mighty Mite.

Arvin Mighty Mite - Model 40 & Model 40A

The Arvin Mighty Mite is one of the more  significant radios in the company's radio history.   With the introduction of their Phantom series in 1937 & 1938, Noblitt-Sparks offered a wonderfully full line of very nice radios, but they had a problem.  The cabinets, although beautiful, varied, and functional, were purchased from other vendors; and the costs were constantly rising. 

In 1937, they hired a new chief radio engineer who had previously worked for Atwater-Kent in Philadelphia.    Upon his arrival, Albert D. "Duke" Silva (read more about Albert Silva) was charged with the task of restoring some margins to the radio line.  He asked a very simple question --- "Why don't you stamp radio cases out of metal?"

It was a logical question for at least two reasons:

  • Atwater-Kent, a pioneering radio company, had used metal for radio cabinets, albeit in larger sets
  • Noblitt-Sparks, due to its automotive components manufacturing expertise, was one of the premier metal fabricators in the U.S.

So, the idea for small, inexpensive radios sets was born.  And the company went on to be the industry leader for such sets for nearly twenty years, subsequently manufacturing millions of the little metal sets in many different models, ranging from two-tube sets like to Model 40 up to five-tube sets.