Royal 500D

The third generation of 500’s (Model D) was introduced in 1958. It had several minor changes to it’s appearance and like the earlier transition from handwired to printed circuits, there were variations that occured during this period.

The Zenith shield was changed to black and gold, and somewhat smaller in size. Both knobs now sported clear protective collars with reverse letters and numbers printed on them. The very first D’s produced had black letters and numbers on these collars, but that was soon changed to white for the majority of the production run.

Inside, Zenith added an additional transistor, an improved extended range speaker, and of course, improved performance. The model D was Zenith’s first pocket transistor radio to be distinguished as “Long Distance” and this was stamped lightly on the front above the speaker and just under the word Zenith. The early and mid D’s have a concave grill and later D’s have a convexed shaped grill to allow for their new speaker. Radios with this speaker also have “500D” printed on the faceplate.

The model D was offered only in black, maroon, and white (tan and pink were discontinued). Production numbers continued to increase as another 200,000 or more were made making these some of the more common of the 500’s.  However, the long distance capability and improved sound of the 8 transistor chassis make them popular for those who want an “Owl” to listen to.
    Mid Black 500D    Fact Sheet

Model: Royal 500D
Colors: Black, White, and Maroon
Year introduced: 1958
Cost New: $75.00
Size: 5 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 1 1/2
Weight: 16.1 ounces
# of transistors: 8
Power: 4 AA batteries
Undistorted output: 100 milliwatts
   

2 thoughts on “Royal 500D”

  1. I have a early white model 500d with the black marking pointer and dial numbers. It belonged to my daughters husbands grandmother bought brandnew back in 1958. The grandmother I had met several years ago at a family gathering and radios came up in our conversation. She told me that this radio was not working well. (low volume) I offered to fix it for her. I replaced two caps in the radio. One small one in the volume circuit and one of the larger ones off to the left side of the batteries.

    It worked great after my fix. Two years ago at another gathering she gave me the radio! It is in very good shape with just one very small chip in the top left corner. Otherwise not dinged or scratched any where. Also the cloth bag, leather case, and unused earphone came with the radio! I also have a black 500 model E that works is in good shape. I have other Zeniths which include; Model 2000,Royale 1000 Trans-Oceanic,Model 400 (charcol&white) Model 16 black billfold and white model 16 billfold too,Model 755,Model 750, and a black model 50. I also have in tube radios Models G,B,and H Transoceanics. I have one Zenith console which is a Model 10s470 in good working shape and the cabinet is good. All radios work except the white model 16 billfold. By the way great site I have enjoyed looking through it.

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