What was the typical furniture finish in the 1930's, 40's?


What was the typical furniture finish in the 1930's, 40's?
I have a phonograph, about 14x14x7" whose finish was in very good shape, until a leaking roof splattered water onto the wood cabinet. Now it's sort of a set of parallel, very thin triangles (an eighth inch or so), with good finish in half of the triangles, and in between places where the finish is gone, and dull, plain wood shows. The finish is like a thin layer of some coating. It's not linseed oil or something that just soaks in.
I would like to repair the finish of course, and I'm hoping you can advise me.
Would this be the shellac I've heard about, in which new shellac repairs the old shellac, by sort of melting into it and they redry, reharden together? That would be great, but I thought if that were the case, there would be white stains where the original shellac got wet, but there are none. If it is as easy as just brushing on new shellac, that would be great, but I'm willing to do a lot more work also if that's what it takes.
My mother got this maybe around 1930, maybe later. It has a tone arm that weighs 8 oz. to a pound, uses steel needles that are guaranteed to play 10 records, and is actually a rather cheap model, I think, in that it has no amplifier or speaker. It only has a 2 or 3 tube transmitter, that broadcasts on 540 or 1610** and can be listened to via an AM radio. But it works fine. And that actually has the advantage that one can iirc listen to radios all over the house, with only one record player. Well I'm not sure I ever did that, because the records are done so quickly there is barely time to get to another part of the house. But if there were more than one person home, and it transmitted far enough, that would be an advantage. :)
**I forget what the frequency is. It's on a piece of paper in the record player, and it's not hard to just tune the radio until you find it. That's how I found it in the first place. My mother had lost interest. Although we have a bunch of 78 rpm records, including a few Caruso, John McCormick, etc., some recorded only on one side, and flat on the other side. I don't think they are worth much money -- certainly all the good ones have been rerecorded already from other people's 78's -- but it doesn't matter I have no desire to sell any of this until after I die.
Thanks.
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mm wrote:

Nitro lacquer, possibly. Manufacturers took to it rapidly at about that time, due to its reliabilty, looks, quick dry, sprayability, and abilty to fuse level to previous coats without sanding between coats.
Cobwebbed lacquer means it was formulated to cure hard, which it did, but at the expense of longevity.
Spot solvent test on an inconspicous area:
Lacquer thinner or any of its constituents will dissolve lacquer. Alcohol will dissolve shellac. No common solvent will disolve varnish or oil.

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Father Haskell wrote:

Laquer thinner does a good job of disolving varnish in my book, Plus a lot of other things.

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