Wimberley Neighbors - Don Connally - Radio Enthusiast
originally published 2000

Picture a boy sitting under a tree with a book on a summer day entering the world of Tom Swift with his Wireless Message and Television Detector. Revisit him several careers, a family, and half a century later...

What is he doing now?

...of radios and phonographs that once played the music of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, the words of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. . .returning a piece of audio history to us. Although Don is a busy man, mostly helping other Wimberley neighbors and friends, he still finds time to give long-overdue attention to forgotten radios.


Don Connally has always loved to solve problems. A few years ago in Silverton, Colorado, he saw an old radio for $15 that he just couldn't pass up. He brought it home, worked his magic, made it play, and now, just look at a few of the miracles he has wrought. 

Maybe his interest was first sparked by this 1926 Atwater-Kent speaker that brought the happy sounds of the Grand Ole Opry into the home of his grandparents. 

Don remembers listening to the show with delight, and now, so many years later,  he has reunited the speaker with a compatible 1928 Atwater-Kent radio.

Don uses his experience and skill to restore any likely suspects he may find. His salvage operations usually begin at flea markets, auctions and, not infrequently, at our own Wimberley Market Day, where you may find him casting his expert eye over the oddments most would consider virtually worthless, and choosing radios…some for parts, some for the full treatment.

When he's found something he particularly likes, like this beautiful little 1949 Zenith, it comes in for careful dissection, trouble-shooting, part replacement and reassembly. Then he cranks 'er up and there it is: the old castoff someone didn't want has become a thing of beauty, complete with sound.

A quick look at the original manual helps...

Just one of the walls of sound in Don's collection - some are restored, some are waiting in line, others destined to become parts.

The 1933 Philco console above was the first Don restored. Now sitting contentedly in his home, it greets him with music, bringing a warm smile to his face and pleasure to his friends. Another of his console restorations is the 1947 Airline on the right and below. Walking into his workshop, you're likely to find him flipping the 78 rpm record on the phonograph below the short wave radio. Something about the sight of the stylus on the spinning vinyl will always lift your spirits. And it sounds simply great!

Get out your dancin' shoes.
Another beautiful example...this time a Lang table model...and a glimpse of salvaged tubes and a wonderful microphone that just looks like the one to grab with authority!

Don is quick to credit his brother, an electronics expert, and other friends like Hershall and Bud who have given him old equipment over the years. But if you knew Don and his generous spirit, you'd not be surprised to discover that his antique radio restoration projects all began with the repair of a radio for Richard, a friend. A highly valued neighbor and friend to so many in Wimberley, Don is well known as the person who'll spring to the help of anyone in need of mechanical expertise. His largest contribution of all may be the many hours he's given over the years to maintaining a clean, reliable water supply system for several hundred families in the community. He's also a ham radio operator and a member of the Texas Antique Radio Club. We all love him and thank him for sharing his radios with us!

Here are some of Don's favorite antique radio links:

Texas Antique Radio Club

Nostalgia Air

  Beginner's Corner - Phil's Old Radios

Don revisited - 2019
Don's interest in radios continues and over the past years he has restored antique radios of every manufacturer. The collection has filled his workshop to the brim.

Don refinishes every radio housing; wood, bakelite, plastic, metal: he does them all.

Antique radio memorabilia is everywhere one casts their eyes.

This Crosbey Radio was sold to Bernard Ruby, Nov 30, 1924. Although it still works just fine the warranty was only good for 30 days and the purchaser had to fill out and return the warranty card to the manufacturer within 5 days!

My friend and neighbor has passed away.
Thank you Don for sharing your passion.

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