More wooden radios


Stella MK404

 Donated by our late local celebrity Julian Rathbone the famous author. I believe this set started out life coloured silver but nicotine changed all that. The set's survived, the owner hasn't. This effect can also be seen on the lens of a CD player's laser. I always ask whether the owner of a recalcitrant CD Player, brought in for repair, smokes or has a coal fire (still common in this area)...it can save a lot of time fault finding! A lens is easy to clean but lungs not so!

McMichael 1153

from a local car boot sale

Champion Model 854

   

 This must be early as it only tunes 88-95 Mc/s. Like many other sets in my possession it came from a car boot sale.

"Midget Radio Superhet"

 My friend Derek brought me a little radio today. We both used to work at the local Plessey factory and over the years he brings me stuff to mend. Customers can't fail to notice when they arrive with dead TVs that the space for setting down their set is getting smaller and smaller as the Radio Museum takes over the workshop.

The case of this radio has been the subject of a light meal for some of the local smaller fauna and the rear cover looks as if it was replaced 40 or 50 years ago but inside is a nice 6K7G type of chassis.

At first I thought it might be AC/DC but by its weight a transformer must be present although mounted out of sight under the chassis. On the dial remains the word "MINOR" but for some odd reason the bit above it which may have said "MELODY" has been scratched off. Maybe the pointer has been bent and wiped it away over the years? No I don't think so... each letter in the missing word has been carefully erased and come to think of it, because the back has been replaced all evidence of the makers name has vanished. Very odd.

 The set is a puzzle however in the April 1958 copy of Practical Television I found described a set just like this one. In the Duke & Co of Romford advert a "Midget Radio Superhet" is described. The dimensions (14"x 7.5"x 9") are exactly as mine and the valve lineup is the same even to the metal rectifier rather than a rectifier valve. It cost the princely sum of 79/6d plus 3/6d carriage. Who made it? I don't know yet but it may not be a coincidence that the Plessey factory is just up the road from Romford and that factory built radios and TVs for major retail outlets and other radio and TV manufacturing companies. The scratched out name on the dial may have shown the name of the supplier who did not in the end take delivery of these radios. Why was this? Well the build quality of the case is awful and maybe was not good enough to carry a big brand name?

Investigations continue....


Ekco Radiogram chassis

 This was picked up at the local tip for its components, a set of valves and a mains transformer etc.

It's cabinet was long gone and judging by the holes in what remains here it had been made a feast by local woodworm.

Marconiphone T19A

   

 This apology for a radio was proffered to me in part exchange for a VCR repair.

It's missing its loudspeaker and the metal plate that fixes behind the dial and its back panel. It looks as if its been outside for years on a rubbish dump. It's in such poor condition a woodworm, whose attempt at eating the case is evidenced by a single hole in the side, must have found it as unpalatable as it looks. Veneer is peeling off, all the glue holding the woodwork together has dissolved away and the parts are merely held together by friction, the chassis is red with rust, the dial cord has rotted away and a lot of the scale lettering has gone. There may be one or two salvageable parts inside... I won't know until I've examined it. As far as restoration is concerned.... it's only redeeming feature is that it's so bad it might make an interesting challenge or maybe not...

Pilot Model 53 from the late 30s

Click the radio to see more


Columbia Model C302

 This post war receiver was probably introduced around 1949. It's not too common and data is quite scarce.

Steve Dent from Fareham very kindly delivered it to me recently. I understand it belonged to his mother who, like me, worked for Plessey.

It's very typical of the late 40s to early 50s having three wavebands. I'll look inside later and see if I can spot a date. Alas, these type of sets do not command a high value as you may see if you search for ithis model on the Net. One sold on Ebay recently for the princely sum of £5.50 and cost the new owner over £15 in postage.

 

As you can see it's designed for AC mains.

 And here's its plastic label showing Serial Number AD50530 and you'll notice that Mr Marconi's family have taken their cut, although the wording isn't exactly specific on that point. Presumably, by this time Marconi had persuaded British and Irish manufacturers that they must be licensed by them in order to carry on their business and to pay royalties on the volume of their output. Perhaps the first stealth tax? I wonder how this tax was collected on imported items?


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