Old Battery Receivers

 These sets were made by radio enthusiasts from readily available components.. exactly when I can't say.

In the late 20s and early 30s ready made sets were horrendously expensive. Because of massive inflation and the pitifully low value of the pound in the 21st century, it is hard to imagine the true cost of a simple manufactured wireless in those early days of broadcasting.

A new car could be bought for £100. A new radio, together with its batteries, loudspeaker and aerial was around £20.

A cheap modern car at £7,500 would make the equivalent price of a wireless a thumping £2,500.

It was therefore the only option for the typical family to save up, buy components and build their own set.

Even basic components were expensive. Because of harsh resale price maintenance and organised, legally enforced, retailing at inflated prices it was very difficult to afford the parts to make a radio set. Even Marconi had his pound of flesh. Besides the large rate of purchase tax, duty had to be paid to the Marconi Company for one's radio. This was calculated on the number of valves it used hence the popularity of crystal sets long after they were essentially obsolete. The BBC also claimed money through licenses in order to finance their Company. In the earliest days, sets were stamped with a label proving that money had been forwarded to the BBC by the manufacturer.

A new old set?

 What looks like a home-built late 1920's or early 30's TRF radio..

Arrived on 8th April after a difficult 15 days with Parcelforce (see Grumble 33)

I don't quite know what to make of this pretty looking set!

Maybe I should just say it's a home built set from the late 20s

The chap I bought it from described it as "restored condition" and believes it to be a genuine early radio.

It certainly uses period radio parts. A new Z21 and HL2 with an unmarked triode output valve, a "new" Ferranti inter-stage transformer, a pair of "Ormond" slow motion drives and a variety of other bits and pieces can be seen under the hinged lid.

However I'm of the opinion it was built after WWII rather than before. Exactly when? Later rather than earlier I would say because this type of set would have been commonly available and scarcely worth the trouble duplicating.

There are a few mistakes in the woodworking.....

For a start, plywood is generally sold with a good side and a cheap side. For some strange reason the cheap side is on the outside as there is a join in the veneer on the outside. Perhaps the constructor thought the grain of the good side didn't look as good and overlooked the vertical line in favour of the figuring of the wood and I'm sure I've seen the beaded moulding, used for hiding screws securing the front panel, in B&Q.

Ignoring the piece of clear polythene choc block as an indisputable recent addition, the wiring is a mixture of varnished sleeved single BTC and the type of pink covered cable pre-dating modern plastic that was used to wire factories in the 40s and 50s.

There is a small moulded mica capacitor dating from war-time and an aluminium sheet under the RF stage.

The "Silver Ghost" permanent magnet dynamic loudspeaker made by "Lamplugh Radio" has been re-coned.

Where did the case come from?

Is it entirely home made or was it once a china display cabinet?

However having said all this..

It will be interesting to hear what it sounds like as everything seems to be present to enable me to get it going.

I would be interested though to hear from anyone that could shed some light on it's origin whether it be 1928, 1930 or 1989.

As a future cottage industry it will be a dead loss as the value of the components in the set is worth more than I paid for it!


A battery-operated TRF receiver

Old or new ?... judge for yourself by clicking the picture 


See more old battery receivers from the 20s and 30s

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