AFCO MTR-831

This AFCO MTR-831 was manufactured in Japan in 1962. It was probably made by Constant. Constant (Fuji High Frequency Radio Lab, Co Ltd) manufactured some unusual and offbeat transistor radios and I can see shades of that design philosophy in the look of this uncommon AFCO. Constant made radios under many brand names including AFCO. 

AFCO was founded in 1937 in Oakland California. After World War II AFCO formed trade ties with Japan and began to export clothing and the like. During the late 1950’s AFCO began to import transistor radios from Japan which led to them becoming AFCO Electronics.

During this time AFCO distributed electronics to Wal-Mart, K-Mart and others. In 1959 AFCO began to distribute transistor radios for Matsushita Electric Corp (Panasonic). They also distributed radios for other Japanese radio manufacturers as well (see Hi-Lite YTR-601). AFCO Electronics is still going strong today.

 

 
 
 

 

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This AFCO features a starburst design on the speaker grill and an unusual silver under-painted face. It has a nice little AFCO cloisonné badge below the speaker grill. When the volume knob is turned the circle visible in the little window becomes larger or smaller depending on whether the volume is increased or decreased.

I have seen a variant of this radio branded as 'Universal' with the model number MTR-631. That radio was almost identical to this, same speaker grill etc but the under-painted face had a chevron on it and it used 6 transistors as opposed to this 8 transistor model. I have also seen this model colored black.

 

 

 

 
 

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This AFCO originally sold at Fred Meyer’s for $19.88. During the late 1950’s and 1960’s many Japanese shirt pocket radios were sold at large department stores like Meyers and also through Drug Stores, Hardware Stores and Jewelers.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

BOX & ACCESSORIES

This AFCO MTR-831 comes with a black ‘high gloss’ gift box, leather case and foldout instruction sheet.

The instruction book makes no mention of AFCO and has a picture of the radio on the front but without the AFCO badge and this would have made it easier to sell it under different names. It is quite common to find the same Japanese shirt pocket radio re branded up to four or five times and sometimes more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INSIDE...

Hidden beneath the tuning capacitor is a date code of 37 5 28. This code can be deciphered using the ‘nen-go’ calendar described by Alan Kastner of RadioWallah. The code translates to 28/05/1962 and this is the date that the tuning capacitor was manufactured. The radio would have been made sometime within a couple of months of that date.

MTR-831B is printed on the circuit board beneath the tuning dial.              

It uses 8 Toshiba transistors and 1 Toshiba diode. The serial number was never stamped or written onto the label inside.