Indianapolis Cage Corporation,
1701 Gent Avenue,
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

  During the 1920s, canaries became a popular pet in many households across America and so there was a large market for bird cages.  Indianapolis entrepreneur, Benjamin Aufterheide, recognized this growing market and with the help of John Nusbaum, who was educated in sales and marketing, and Wilber (last name unknown) who was skilled in the craft of spinning steel, founded the Indianapolis Cage Corporation in 1928.
    In a factory building which was built with glazed orange brick, they started manufacturing chromed steel bird cages, and later, a line of smoking stands.  1928 and 1929 proved to be prosperous years for the little company until the stock market crash in October of 1929.  Once the depression set in after the crash, many families fell on hard times an could no longer afford to keep canaries as pets.  The demand for bird cages fell off sharply and the company stayed solvent by fulfilling old orders and manufacturing smoking stands.
    The company felt that if they were to survive, they had to find a new product to manufacture, along with the bird cages and smoking stands, and so, in 1932 they entered the radio market.  The company felt that they had the machinery and the know how to put on the market an inexpensive, yet quality made radio.  What they came up with is a domed top radio which they named the "Victory" and sold for $12.95.  The five tube, TRF, chassis was assembled at the Cage factory and the cabinets were manufactured by a furniture company located in southern Indiana.  Production started in the fall of 1932 and sales was good, especially during the Christmas season.
    It was not long, however, that many of the sold radios were being returned as defective in performance.  As it turned out the company had made a major oversight in the production of their radio chassis.  Instead of using rosen core solder in the manufacture of the chassis, acid core solder was used.  The company used acid core because that was the solder of choice in making bird cages and smoking stands but what they didn't know is that it tends to have disastrous results when used to solder copper wire.  The wiring in almost all of the radios they sold was coming loose and rendering the radios useless.  To honor the warranties, the company resoldered many of the faulty chassis with rosen core solder and sometimes replaced the chassis entirely with a properly made new chassis.  During this time, John Nausbaum was secretly diverting sales prospects for bird cages away from the company and to the Crown Bird Cage Company, a newly formed company that was founded by John Nausbaum's nephew, Edward Little. 
    Problems with the Victory radio, coupled with John Nausbaum's deception proved to be too much of a financial strain for the little company and so in 1933, the Indianapolis Cage Corporation went into bankruptcy.

Tube Line Up:
58.....1st. R.F. Amplifier
58.....2nd. R. F. Amplifier
47.....Audio Output

Height...17.5 inches
Width...12 inches
Depth...9 inches

Frequency Range:
BC...550 kHz to 1500 kHz

Power Source:
AC...110 Volts

    The photo above shows the former Indianapolis Cage Corp. building as it looked in 1994.  After going out of business in 1933, an optics company bought the building and rebricked the front office section with a red brick.  Note the original orange glazed brick still intact at the rear of the building.

Indianapolis News
December 12, 1932
Page 12

    A special thanks to Richard Aufterheide, son, and Don Aufterheide, grandson, of Benjamin Aufterheide, for the help they gave me in the writing of the story of the Indianapolis Cage Corporation and the Victory radio.

This web page was last updated: March 24, 2007