Rolls Portable


 This radio dates from before 1930; perhaps 1926 or 27.
Like most if not all radios of that date it does not have a tuning dial engraved with station names- merely 0 to 100.

Of course it isn't a superhet either.

Being a TRF set it has a reaction control which adjusts the amount of feedback in the circuit to the point where, hopefully, volume is acceptable and squeals are absent.

The set came complete with HT & grid bias batteries, which is rather unusual.

If it wasn't for the fact that they probably went flat before the war I'd be quite happy.

A large assortment of wander leads are plugged into the HT battery and the grid bias batteries.

The 2 volt accumulator is missing.

A little pencilled note stuffed down the side of the HT battery tells me where the plugs should go. Although they do coincide with where they actually were plugged in I think I reserve the right to amend this information after I look inside!

The set is built into a small leather suitcase with a rather big lid.

Numerous rusting screws show where the mechanics are screwed into the case.
Although the set originally had 5 valves, appearing to be all PM1HL types, two pairs lying horizontal at either side, the fifth valve is no more. It's been reduced to a collection of bits of glass and a sorry carcass plugged in vertically in the centre of the ebonite chassis.
From what's left it looks like another PM1HL. This variety of bottle had horizontally mounted electrodes, unlike later series which were mounted vertically in the more orthodox manner.

The set has a frame aerial, built into the lid, which is switchable to "Long" or "Short" by means of a small toggle switch mounted on the inside of the lid.
The loudspeaker pre-dates the usual moving coil type being a moving iron variety.

A device in the centre of the mechanism allows for adjustment and the cone of the speaker is made from black doped paper rings glued together and coming to a point like a coolies hat. The electrical bits are inside the cone and therefore have the benefit of being protected from dirt.

Headphone connections are provided at the front of the set for dx reception when, if desired the speaker can be disabled by a switch comprising a pair of wander plugs carrying the output signal from the chassis to the lid.
A switch in the centre of the front panel, positioned between the tuning and reaction controls, allow the user to select either 3 or 5 valves. This providing for economy and presumably reduced volume from local stations.

I have a theory that many existing old sets suffered some major catastrophe when they were reasonably new, and were put on one side to be sorted out later. In this example there is some evidence; on removing the speaker and the frame aerial from the lid I found that, because of some sort of spillage (was it lemonade on some long gone picnic?), wires at two corners of the frame had suffered some corrosion, and presumably, because two windings are made per former groove, are shorting together. Perhaps this caused the demise of the Rolls?

Refurbishment starts with preserving the leather case with something we bought years ago for our then new dining room chair seats. Next I carefully clean rust deposits from the case catches. Funny... when I start to remove the worst rust, writing starts to appear underneath. As I progress the word "RUSTLESS" appears. A thought vaguely flits through my head about "Trades descriptions" but I suppose this wouldn't count as this long pre-dates that piece of legislation. Eventually with some care the catches come up quite well and further words are revealed. With a little oil the legend "safety" is found to be still valid as only if outer rings are turned on the catches will the lid spring open when traversing bumpy ploughed fields and the like.


The built-in frame aerial


Loudspeaker/aerial mounted in lid


Old batteries, connected up when I opened the lid


On/off switch with power saving switch for local reception


Reaction control


Tuning control


The old loudspeaker


Wavechange switch

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