Axel & Betty's First Radio-Phonograph

Memories of the Phonograph

     

 

 

Axel and Betty and their first Radio-Phonograph, 1949

By Doug Boilesen 2018

 

My parents, Axel and Betty Boilesen, were married on August 25, 1946.

In October 1946 they officially began managing their new household by entering all expenses in annual budget books which I recently reviewed for the years 1946 to 1950. These books detail expendures for each month and provide summaries by categories.

For me their book-keeping is special because they are my parents but also because they micro-document the economic life of a newly married couple in post-War Lincoln, Nebraska. Axel was going to school on the GI Bill and receiving $105.00 from the government each month and Betty was working and depositing around $150 each month (c. 1949) into their joint account.

Reviewing their daily expenses and being a Friend of the Phonograph my eye quickly focused on entries related to their purchase of a phonograph and radio in December 1948: Radio $110.75; Phono $37.43; January 1949: "Freight on Radio & Phono of $4.05", "Radio wire, etc., $.42" and "Records $5.51."

After purchasing the radio and phonograph Axel built a cabinet for the components which required the purchase in March 1949 of a drill, bits, saw & screws $5.50, wood for the Radio $17.50 and other expenses listed as "Labor? on Radio $7.00, Screen for Radio $.40, angle irons for Radio $.68, screen & paint for Radio $.94."

In April 1949 more Radio construction expenses: "Pressed board for Radio $.40, Slides for Radio $1.00, Brackets for radio $.60, Radio Knobs $3.70." In March 1950 there is an entry for a Radio Speaker $1.50. In April 1950, Radio Wire $.32. In August 1950, Records $2.50

When you add up these numbers you know that the Radio-Phonograph was clearly a major purchase. Consider that their "Rent" for the month was $30.00, "Groceries" $26.00 (Dec 1948) and total expenses that averaged about $$215 per month. Total household expenses from Jan 1948 to Jan 1949 (12 months) was recorded in their "National Family Budget Book" as "$2620.11 (clothing included)."

I'm sure Axel calculated how much he hoped to save by building the cabinet himself and it took some time. But in the end the goal was achieved: a modern Radio-Phonograph had entered our home and would be waiting for me when I was born the following year.

 

The Radio-Phonograph at our "H" Street apartment, December 1952

 

 

Radio and Phono entries in Daily Expenses, December 1948, National Family Budget Book

 

 

"Radio wire, etc.", "Freight on Radio & Phono", and "Records" expenses, January 1949, National Family Budget Book

 

 

Some construction of Radio/Phonograph cabinet expenses, March 1949, National Family Budget Book

 

 

More construction of Radio/Phonograph cabinet expenses, April 1949, National Family Budget Book

 

 

Besides capturing detailed daily expenses there are other interesting notes in these Budget books. For example, on the first page of their 1950 Easy-Way Personal and Home Budget and Income Tax Record book Axel and Betty each guessed the weight of their first baby, due in May 1950, and a prediction of its sex (both predicted a "Boy").

Two potential names were also identified: Douglas Barr Boilesen if it was a boy and Beverly Ann if it was a girl.

Both were right: It was a boy, 7 lbs 15 oz. (Betty's guess was 1 oz. off).

 

 

 

 

1949

 

 

1949

 

 

Christmas 1952

 

Family photographs include the 1950 Radio-Phonograph constructed by Dad and the television added to the living room circa 1953.

My theory is that the purchase of this Radio-Phonograph was required before my arrival since I would be born in May of 1950 and phonographs and records would become essential for my arrow of time and life-long interest in Phonographia.

 

 

Television at our "H" Street apartment c.1953

 

 

 

Radio-Phonograph at our "Lyncrest" house c.1955

 

 

 

December 1959 - We still have the 'original' Radio-Phonograph and can listen to our 45 rpms

 

 

 

Our new Magnavox Stereo c. 1962