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DAKA-WARE - Hunting for that knob?

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by W9GB, Sep 3, 2008.

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  1. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most restorers of classic radios from 1940s to 1970s have seen the black phenolic knobs with brand name Daka-Ware, Chicago, IL on the inside.

    Daka-Ware was the brand name for products produced by Davies Molding.

    The Harry Davies Molding Company started in 1933 with seven molding presses and three punch presses in downtown Chicago by owner Harry Davies. The small, single-room company was started during a time when the economy was depressed and work was scarce. Known as a phenolic molder, Davies manufactured numerous parts including knobs, handles, cases, ashtrays, as well as custom molded products. During the 1940’s and WWII, Davies Molding became a supplier of plastic components for the war effort. In 1954, Harry Davies retired and, in turn, sold his interest in the company to a handful of people including his nephew, Ted Davies.

    A second, smaller plant was established in 1966 to accommodate the demand for plastic component parts. One year later, the original plant was destroyed by a fire which forced the smaller plant to operate 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. To off-load the burden of this small plant, Davies moved to a facility on the west side of Chicago later that year.
    For 25 years this location served Davies well; however, as the economy flourished and as Davies acquired new injection molding presses, Davies needed to expand once again.

    In the fall of 1991, Davies Molding moved to a suburb of Chicago, Carol Stream, Illinois where it is located today in an 99,000 square foot facility. The facility houses fifty (50) thermoset compression molding machines, five (5) thermoset injection molding machines and twenty-four (24) thermoplastic injection molding machines, all ranging in tonnage from 20 to 400 tons.
    They specialize in insert compression molding and insert injection molding.

    Davies Molding is now the largest manufacturer of plastic knobs and handles in the world today.
    A Davies’ knob or handle can be found on countless products including industrial machinery, lighting equipment, lawn & garden equipment, power tools, cookware, barbecue grills, food processing equipment, medical & lab equipment, electronic equipment, fitness & recreational equipment, and more.

    So, look in their catalog of standard products they manufacture and you may find that knob you thought was no longer made!
    Control Knobs & Instrument Knobs

    Pointer Control Knobs

    Their entire catalog (current designs) .pdf

    SO, if you desire that custom knob (and desired color) -- it can be made -- and the mold may still be in stock.
  2. KC4UMO

    KC4UMO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great stuff and a good history lesson!
    I saw knobs I need.

  3. K5UOS

    K5UOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is great stuff and excellant information. I always look for vintage bakelite knobs for my homebrew. I love the look of the old gear with the black skirted knobs.

    I am happily suprised they make my favorite LARGE FLUTED KNOBS #4109.

    Another vintage manufacturer that I assumed was long gone is Western Electric (WE) vacuum tubes. Maybe a bit pricey??

    Two quality American manufacturers that have survived the rush overseas.

  4. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Western Electric used to make/may still make 01A replacement tubes for use in some rural South American telephone amplifiers that date from the 1920s. They would manufacture a supply of like 1000 tubes and then not manufacture them again for a number of years until the supply on hand got to a certain minimum level.

    These tubes generally did not resemble the old 01A tubes from the 1920s into the 1930s except for the actual base. The base still had the 4-pin "standard" as well as the metal pin on the side which allows the tube to be used in the "twist in" type of socket rather than the "normal" plug in type. Of course the electrical specifications were the same as the original 01A tubes.

    Glen, K9STH
  5. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used those.

    Daka-Ware made the knobs on my home brew 6 meter rig shown in my profile.


  6. N8YX

    N8YX Ham Member QRZ Page

    No "concentric" knobs in their catalog. Darned things are getting harder and harder to find ... :mad:
  7. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    John -

    They will make them, just not in their standard catalog offering.
    Part of the problem is that the control makers are not offering as many concentric options these days.
    The 3/16" shaft is largely obsolete -- so 3/16" and 1/4" concentric controls are virtually obsolete (Drake R4-C AF/RF control) --
    since most concentric controls now use 1/8" and 1/4" shafts.

    IF you look at my Raytheon posting, EHC still offers the concentric knobs (military) --
    and they have a couple in catalog that are used on vintage HP test equipment.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
  8. N0WVA

    N0WVA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, some of those look like knobs that Knight and National used.
  9. AE1PT

    AE1PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    What was fun looking at the catalog was remembering some of the equipment that these styles of knob went on...
  10. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    For Knight that is not surprising -- since Knight-Kit (Allied Radio) and DakaWare were both Chicago based in that period.
    Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA); Hallicrafters (Chicago/Rolling Meadows); Heath (Benton Harbor, MI); Drake (Miamisburg, OH); RME (Peoria, IL) were all customers -- close by for fast delivery to production lines!

    At the price that radio strippers are now charging for original knobs -- there is NO reason that an order (100 minimum) could not be placed with Davies or EHC (old Raytheon) for proper reproduction knobs for the R390A (metal knob order to EHC) radios, Hallicrafters SX-28 or other classic radios.
    'Dutch' Maurer did this for the Collins 75-A4 knobs (CCA group) -- my Elmer helped with initial start-up $$ for that order.

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