antenae for very vintage AM tube radios

I have collected a couple of cool old small wooden tube radios. Seems like on one of then the antenae was simply a single strand of insulated wire. Could that be? I only get 'bout one station clearly.
Could be, depending on the model, its vintage, and how long the wire is.

Tabletop radios from the mid-1930's and earlier commonly had or required a long piece of wire as an antenna, and sometimes had (externally) a small cardboard form which the wire could be wound around for convenient storage when not in use.

Sets from the late 1930's, the 1940's, and later commonly had a cardboard back, with the antenna consisting of a long piece of wire permanently routed multiple times around the periphery of the inside of the back. That back is commonly missing when those radios are found today, so what you may be seeing is the short piece of wire which connected between that antenna and the circuits in the chassis. If that is the case you can probably get it working reasonably well by soldering a long piece of wire (say 10 or 20 feet) to that stub, and extending the wire over as long a distance as you can without it being obtrusive.

If you can indicate the make and model of the radio, I can probably be more specific.

-- Al
There are a couple options here: (, if you are not concerned with an actual restoration. Click on, "Radio Parts and Restoration", then on, "Antenna" for their offerings.
Awsome responses. Just what the doctor order and to think I had fear of snooty audiphiles dissing these mono crackling boxes. I'll have to find me a cardboard wind-y thing but will use a long modern speaker wire for now, I have 2 philcos one wood w/faux aligator skin and a handle, and one darker wood and vert very deco. Also from Los Angeles manufacture apparently neat light wood bodied Hoffman has stickers from LA stations many of which still are on Air. All three are bookshelf size and work.
Glad to help. This audiophile definitely won't be dissing any of these things, as I am also an antique radio collector (mainly sets from the 1920 to 1946 period). It's a fascinating field, with many books available on the subject, that is of interest in terms of history, technology, aesthetics (the cabinet designs, some of which are considered to be important examples of industrial design), and performance (I can tell you that any of the better sets from say 1932, when in good condition, will easily outperform any modern AM radio in terms of both station-getting ability and sound quality).

I suspect that you'll do fine with the long speaker wire. And I suspect that your sets are from the late 1940's or the 1950's. See if there is a specific model number indicated on the bottom or in back, and I may be able to provide further information. They are probably not particularly valuable, but are representative of the period.

Here are links to histories of the two companies:

Here are some links to general information about antique radios, at the site of Antique Radio Classified, to which most people interested in these things subscribe, and which is a good source from which to order any of the many books on the subject.

-- Al
I don't have any expertise to add to this conversation at all but as a long-time lurker I felt compelled to post a response because this exchange captures EXACTLY why I love this site!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.