Coils!

In addition to the air variable capacitors, three of the parts bins contained a bunch of pre-wound antenna coils, including these that looked unused. One of them even had an instruction sheet.

Calrad CLS Loopstick.

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They consist of two coils, one wound on top of the other and what seems to be a ferrite rod inside that can be tuned by turning the screwdriver or even a knob at the other end.

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One was also in a box, a Miller A-5495-A with two separate coils and a capacitor. Looks like it has a tuning range of 540 - 1700 kHz, which is the AM broadcast band.

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This one was tunable as well by turning the screw at the end.

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Now, if I can find some Ge diodes, I wonder if I could use these in a crystal radio...