Moreton Cheyney "Silver Knight or Silver Dragon" ?




 Below I found the following records for this receiver. In the first, I left in place a couple of other lines which support the fact that surplus receivers were eagerly awaited by radio amateurs and Moreton Cheyney were in business to supply receivers to fill the stopgap. It would be worth the five pence (a letter plus twopence halfpenny [=1p]) to discover what was on offer, but looking at the 1949 company address is quite revealing. 52a Gaol Road, Stafford is only a stones throw from Stafford Gaol and appears to be the room(s) above the words "SUPPLIES LTD". I traced the owner of 52 Gaol Road to a Mr E.A.Boult who was running an engineering business (a Villiers Service Agent) there in 1948.. presumably he'd rented the rooms over his shop to Moreton Chayney Limited? Initially I found no record of insolvency or in fact any record of the company in either the newspaper archive or the London Gazette so they must have just packed up and gone back to a non-radio venture or a normal employment.





Above the forthcoming birth announcement of the radio in October 1945: note also an AC/DC Test Meter plus a Valve Voltmeter.

Then possibly running a little late, March 1946


 Above it had reached the ears of the Wireless World editor November 1946



Across the page is a February 1947 Wireless World advert for the Moreton Cheyney Super amplifier. 


Here's a statement from June 1947 and an ad from Wireless World, August 1947 which gives a little more information about their Dragon receiver. As mine does not have bandspread.. does this mean it's a Silver Knight rather than a Dragon? Or is mine an earlier version without bandspread?

Note also the alternative address in Bilston.

Without better details I can't exactly identify their premises but below are three possibilities... take your pick..

Top left: next to the Baptist Church grounds (my preference)

Top right: opposite the Baptist Church.

Bottom: further up the road from the building at top left.

Click picture for 1939/1945 map.










From the timings I'd hazard a guess that they moved into large premises but soon downsized to 52a Gaol Road which may just have been a store for parts and unsold receivers and amplifiers?

 Not a lot to see on the Net other than classified ads , but I did find them in the 1947 edition of Radio Who's Who  


Looking at the earlier mention of the firms address the letters "BCM/REME" are quoted. I understand that this code was like a box number from which post would be forwarded by British Monomarks (the BCM bit) The REME part might have been chosen by the proprietor of Moreton Cheyney who may have been in R.E.M.E. during WW2? Perhaps, by 1949, the company was in dire straits and was saving money by dropping their box number?


 An advertisement in a 1949 Wireless World... maybe no-one had noticed their previous publicity drive in November 1946?

Pretty pricey when you consider such things as a N.O.S. AR88 at half the sum.



 Then sadly all is revealed in the excerpts from the London Gazette below:

A creditors meeting 3rd November 1948, insolvency recorded 3rd November 1948, claims requested 19th October 1948, and notice of the Liquidators Report 5th November 1950.


 So.. who started the company? Other than the company name there isn't a clue in any of the records and at first I thought.. maybe a Mr Moreton and a Mr Cheyney but then I searched around and came across Albert Edward Moreton born in the third quarter of 1979. He married Annie Che(y)ney on 24th February 1903 and they lived in Stafford. Albert died in 1960. Below the record states he was a general dealer but by WW1 in which he enlisted he was a tinsmith's labourer. The 1939 register gives Albert's and Annie's birth dates as 25th December 1880 and 13th May 1880 respectively. Albert's birth year is suspect because his birth registration was a year before this in 1879. Annie's is correct as her death on 1st July 1970 confirms her birthdate.



 I then came across a family marriage.. Muriel Moreton married a chap called Albert Tarry.. so the three names Moreton, Cheyney and Tarry (see above) are linked in Stafford. Albert Moreton had several children including two boys James, born 5th August 1902 and Albert born 25th February 1914 (who I think died aged 4). Their father was a tin smith and later a shopkeeper who lived at 1a Rowley Street only 400m from Gaol Road. Another snippet is that Muriel Moreton, who married a Tarry in 1936 later changed her name by Deed Poll to something quite different.. was this a case of "blaming the messenger" (P.A.Tarry called the creditors meeting)?.

Albert's son James Henry could conceivably have been the owner of Moreton Cheyney but he is a tricky individual to track down. First he has no birth record under the name James Moreton because he was born 6 months before the marriage of Albert and Annie and in 1911 he was living with his uncle and aunt Thomas and Sarah Phillips at Lane Farm, Ruyton, Shropshire. Note Thomas Phillips was one of the witnesses at Albert and Annie's marriage. James was however listed on his father's Army record as his first child born 5th August 1902 in Stafford. It was not uncommon to park a child of a single mother with relatives and, as it seems the Phillips had no children of their own, it's possible James Henry never returned to his parents home.

A slightly puzzling fact is that the only 1902 birth record for James Henry Cheney gives his mother's maiden name as "Price" so at first sight this record may be the wrong one, but not necessarily because Annie Daisy's mother's maiden name was Price (see below). A definite record is that of James' death in the first quarter of 1972 in Wrexham as this supplies his correct birth date.

The answer to the puzzle will be the birth certificate.

I can find no evidence that James Henry ever lived in Stafford so I'm ruling him out as the owner of the company. He married Sarah Garvin in Oswestry in 1925 and they had two children, Elizabeth Moreton in 1926 and Hazel Moreton in 1932. He turns up as a married carpenter/joiner in 1939 in Denbighshire with his widowed mother Sarah Phillips. Having a different surname suggests the Phillips couple may never have adopted James.

My guess is that Albert was an entrepreneur and, together with some partners having knowledge of radio design, perhaps picked up during WW2 in the armed forces, attempted to meet a demand for high-end radio receivers and amplifiers. Alas, just as the product line had been developed the market was suddenly flooded by government surplus equipment and lots of fresh competition. Having just extended their finances by moving to new premises their cash flow couldn't support the move and the company was forced into liquidation.


 Looking at the 1939 Register reveals James Henry Moreton, Joiner-Carpenter but with a different date of birth viz. 5th August 1900 instead of 5th August 1902. This is certainly the correct person because his (adopted) mother Sarah Phillips is living in the household.

The 1939 Register gives Albert Moreton's address as 1a Rowley Street. This location (presumably once 1a) now adjoining number 1 Rowley Street looks somewhat ill-defined with the land mostly occupied by a second-hand car dealer. The interpretation is that number 1a may have been demolished when the road layout was changed.

 Looking back nearly 40 years to 1901 I found Albert living with his parents at 24 Gaolgate Street (now Gaol Road), with that address since demolished... but it did give his father's occupation as a general dealer shopkeeper and noted that Albert himself was a general dealer. The address is only a stones throw from 52a Gaol Road....research continues...

Recently, I was contacted by a grand-daughter of Albert Moreton who tells me she believes her father may have been the owner of the company because she remembers they had a TV/Radio which her father had made.


 As you can read above this old receiver was designed just after WW2 and no doubt was inspired by the huge amount of dirt cheap government surplus radio components. My example has some condensers dated 1947 so post dates the earliest radios. I haven't yet found any record of the manufacturer after 1949, other than the snippets above. The reason may have been the glut of high performance government surplus communications receivers released around that date at knock down prices and the collapse of the business.

At first the old chassis looked to be in dire state with that white crumbly aluminium oxide, but inspecting underneath revealed all was well, apart from a bent alumium screen or two, and looking much like it did in 1947. Mechanically, it mostly looks OK. One of the first considerations is the tuning arrangement of a receiver and, as this cleaned up easily, the set is a good candidate for light restoration. This example was presumably sold for amateur radio use when a suitable power supply can be knocked up by the purchaser; or a commercial one such as the Type 123 can be used. Below a view as received here.. then a larger view from the rear and then with the valves removed. Lots of surface corrosion on the aluminium chassis due to storage in a damp garage for over 50 years.







 Apart from a broken IF valve, and two missing valves, one below the tuning indicator, and the other in a vulnerable corner, all were present and are common types. It was a relief to see under the chassis as this could easily have been a rat's nest of rusty and corroded bits and pieces. In fact it looks nearly new. The tuning arrangement is fairly clean and after greasing works very smoothly although I have two grumbles... there isn't a quick tuning control so lots of twiddling is needed to go from one end to the other, and, what I consider to be a major failing... the knob can be turned beyond scale ends and thus offset the tuning condenser from the pointer. I found this fault recently in another receiver so made a simple modification to prevent this effect. Because this receiver probably stopped production before 1949 neither fault was likely to have been remedied and users would have quickly learned to not turn the knob too far. The fact that this example of the set probably never had a cabinet made it simple to push the pointer back in place, and while on the subject of the pointer... why is it so big? The dial is squashed in shape so you need an odd arrangement to make a suitable pointer; or what was intended.. the end would be hidden inside a case so would not look odd when vertical. The answer may be to redesign the dial and make it a semicircle but that would destroy the oddness and the originality. I do need to give the cardboard scale some TLC as dampness has made the red ink run. Probably scanning it and printing a new one is the best bet...



  Below, a view of the contents of those four aluminium cans. I can see spots of verdigris so I wouldn't be surprised to find some open circuit IF coils. Unusually, each can is held in place by only a single nut and grid leads are taken from the bottom of the can making it simple to get at the components. Many receivers do not have this facility, instead cans need to be released from under the chassis and detached only after wiring is cut. Three cans lifted off but the lock nut on one was seized resulting in the bolt turning. The top of the can was flexible enough for the bolt to be broken off by bending it back and forth and the bolt can easily be replaced. The dark coloured material appears to be either ebonite or possibly bakelite and is the same as that used to mount the tuning gears. I spy an old fashioned diode on the right. I wonder why a valve wasn't used.. maybe the designers thought the new diode being state of the art was better?



 What about the receiver specification? Well, the write up above says that it can deliver 10 watts of audio at less than 2% distortion.. but can it? It covers five wavebands which from the dial markings (in metres) are... 10m to 17.6m, 20m to 34m, 75m to 100m, 200m to 550m, and 800m to 1800m. The dial markings are essentially based on station names and the actual wavelength markings are few and far between. In fact each band has quite a large additional range which is uncalibrated so it will remain until the set is working to establish its full coverage. On the two higher HF bands there are megacycle equivalents which oddly are to 2 decimal places so, for example 34 metres is marked 8.84Mc/s. The selectivity control, clearly designed for audio reception from AM transmissions, is marked.. 5Kc, 8Kc, 11Kc, 15Kc, 18Kc and "TRF" which is stated in the write up to be 24Kc/s. So, there it is... the Moreton Chaney receiver was aimed at what have been referred to lately as Hi-Fi enthusiasts and not as a communications receiver. The latter would require a BFO and a means of reducing bandwidth suitable for CW reception. The very limited demand for such a receiver, especially in bare chassis form, must have been a marketing failure for the fledgling company. It's price in 1946 was pretty high. Over £63 and nearly £95 for the chassis and cabinet versions respectively. Around that time, just after the war, rather handsome Murphy radios cost from £30 to £35 so it must have been only real enthusiasts prepared to hand over close to £100 for a radio with zero pedigree.

Reading the advertisements for the receiver you'll note that intially the set has the "sensitivity" of a communications receiver and later the "performance" of a communications receiver. Presumably a last ditch effort to clear remaining stock and quite possibly my example was bought with the understanding that it was equivalent to a communications receiver. It was quite likely to have been purchased by a radio ham because why else would the job lot include a T1154 and a heavy duty AM modulator? My guess is that the firms liquidator probably offered unsold stock at bargain basement prices (hence attractive to a radio ham).

The first step was to tidy up the top of the chassis using a brass brush in a high speed drill. This removed most of the aluminium oxide leaving what was left of the grey paint in fair condition. then I used phosphoric acid to neutralise rusted areas, mainly screw heads and brackets.




 Then I looked for any damage that needed to be repaired. Most of the controls, other than the tuning which I've already sorted out as this would have been a major concern if it was damaged, are seized and a few are not yet identified. Under the chassis are several areas that need attention, no doubt some of these are due to rough handling in the past. I've shown a selection of these below. Some will be easy to fix, others will need some care to avoid further damage.



 Left, two trimmer condensers squashed at right angles to their original positions.


Right, bent plate



 Left, another bent plate, clearly its taken a heavy blow but fortunately none of the yaxley switch wafers are affected.


Right bent coil tags



 Left, a missing rear panel control or more likely a hole for mounting a Belling Lee socket, indicated by disconnected green and black wires?


Right, a pair of wires carried through a hole in the front panel.These are wired to the bandwidth switch.



 Left, a white wire left dangling.


Right, another bent panel



 Now for some general details...


 Control pot to the left of the coil pack.. maybe a tone control?



 Rotary switch for AVC off, Radio and Gram


 Pot, maybe the volume or second tone control, on extreme left fitted with a switch carrying a cable fitted with a 2-pin socket maybe for switching a PSU on and off ?


 One of the two valveholders that was missing its valve, probably an X61 frequency changer.



 Fitted to the wavechange switch are two of these epicyclic metal cams which press onto spring loaded plungers which operate through the chassis.

I'll need to investigate these because they're seized. I think the plungers change the settings of the cores in the windings of two IF transformers.

This cam is set slightly to the right of its correct position.

The spring ensures the plunger can return to its fully out setting.


 These two pots are coupled together via brass gears. Maybe this is an RF gain control feeding the RF amplifiers and the IF amplifiers via two separate circuits? Alternatively it might be a pair of pots used for treble or even a volume control? I'll trace the circuit later and determine this.


 I'll now straighten any bent metalwork then attempt to free the various controls all of which are seized solid. When I tackled what I believe is a tone control I found it was seized because the small panel used for mounting the pot was bent.. not just leaning forward, but it had a dog's leg bend which was positioning the long fibre extension shaft at an angle and preventing it from turning without excessive force. I had to remove the panel and this meant loosening the front panel bush, detaching the coupler between the pot and the shaft, then removing a couple of almost inaccessible locknuts. The panel had been mounted before the pot had been fitted and wired up so was very tricky to detach. Once this was done I pressed the panel in a vise and checked it was square before refitting it. Attaching the coupler was also tricky as it's a fibre type and the screw holes needed to be perfectly aligned before they could be fitted. Once the work was completed the tone control worked OK, at least mechanically. Next I tackled the wavechange switch. This was also seized solid. I straightened the securing bracket which is made from thin aluminium and was then able to apply oil to the ball bearings in the click stop mechanism and then a little to the front panel bush. The switch was then serviceable although slightly heavy in operation.
 I then looked at the bandwidth switch which was seized. There are two plungers operated by cams secured to the centre spindle. When the switch goes from its first to second setting (5Kc/s to 11Kc/s) the cams should start to press on the plungers, but both are seized. The plungers seem to have three positions, but once unseized may have more settings.. in fact one for each bandwidth? The first setting will be at whatever frequency the IF stages are tuned, this is the 5Kc/s setting, Setting 2 for 11Kc/s and Setting 3 for 15Kc/s etc.... The design of this feature is pretty weak because the plunger is fairly long and the slightest play makes it move sideways and it tends to get jammed and end up at not quite the design position. Initially the rear plunger appeared to be seized and when trying to free it I heard something fall from the IF transformer onto the table (see later). I didn't check to see what it was but it may be part of the tuning slug as these can rust and get jammed in the coil. I'll look into this when I test the IF coils for any that are open circuit. Usually in prolonged damp conditions the copper wire ends will corrode and the verdigris consumes the copper wire although with care, if this is confined to the soldered ends, a repair can be made.




Above are sketches of the IF transformer innards. IFT1 first appeared to have just a perspex rod running through the coils so that the plunger will merely move the coils closer together thus increasing their coupling, whereas IFT3 has an iron dust core which changes both coil inductances and mutual inductance at the same time. In both cases one coil is glued to a piece of bakelite which is bolted to the plunger and prevents any undesirable rotation of the coil which would increase stress on the coil connections. After closer inspection I found IFT3 looked as if it had carried two dust cores but one had broken off when I'd previously been freeing up the bandwidth switch, but no, the shaft was made with a different material to that in IFT1. The other two IFTs have their coils mounted horizontally on an iron dust core. Both coils are moveable so can have their inductance and mutual coupling preset. Aligning the receiver's response in the factory must have been a nightmare.

Turning to IFT1/IFT3.. aging has unfortunately resulted in the glue failing so that the moveable coils are no longer fixed to their mounting plates and therefore their plungers. Wear has also resulted in the core in IFT3 failing to pass cleanly through the hole in the upper mounting plate (in fact this was due to the iron dust core rusting resulting in seizing). 


 This is IFT1 with its perspex plunger. Visible are the cracks indicating the coils have come unstuck. The pair of springy connections allow the lower coil to move.

 Here is IFT3 with the top detached. You can see why I first thought there were twin iron dust cores. The upper one is broken off and the upper coil has fallen from its mounting plate. The plunger material is different (grey). Maybe a design change introduced the perspex type opposite because it is smoother and less prone to jam.

 As the plungers didn't move properly and were jamming or bending instead of passing through the coils I ended up having to remove the first IF transformer from the chassis. This involved cutting three wires and detaching two solder tags secured by locknuts. Once the thing was removed I could see the plunger was only operating over part of its travel. After a lot of investigation there was a cracking noise and an iron dust core hidden in the coil broke off the end of the perspex plunger. It was only then I discovered that rust had seized the dust core inside the upper coil. I unsoldered the coiled connecting wires, removed the securing screws from the lower bakelite plate and detached the lower coil with the plunger. I found a replacement dust core and filed it down to fit the inside of the upper coil. The new core had a hex hole and I was able to make this roughly circular at one end then file the brass screw to which the broken core had been attached then superglue the new core in place, ensuring it was perfectly in line with the perspex rod. I superglued the lower coil in place and superglued the upper coil. In this case I had to use a mandrel (a screwdriver with exactly the same diameter as the hole through the coil) to centralise the coil and line it up with the hole in the upper plate through which the dust core can protrude, otherwse the new dust core would foul the edge of the hole in the plate holding the coil.

After reassembling IFT1 I shall have to repeat the operation on IFT3.


 A view of IFT1. Someone has looked at a problem previously because the pin securing the spring was badly bent and I suspect a washer was originally fitted.. now missing. I suspect they gave up once the complexities of repair became apparent.

 A view from the opposite side of IFT1. Before refitting I'll need to check and probably replace thse two waxed decoupling condensers.

 Below the broken dust core and once repaired with the coil glued in place. Both IFTs needed this repair.





 This picture shows the hole above the upper coil through which the dust core should protrude as the cam operates the plunger. The upper coil was detached and the upper dust core rusted. As the cam turned against the plunger it pressed the dust core which was partially seized up against the edge of the hole (the coil was off-centre). Eventually the pressure caused to dust core to break off. Refitting the coil has to be done so that the hole through the coil lines up precisely with the hole in the upper plate. The designers should have allowed for tolerances and drilled the hole shown oversize.

Not only that, but the two bakelite plates, one holding the upper coil and the second guiding the perspex rod are held in place by a single 6BA screw either side. That means the plates can be inadvertently fitted at a slight angle causing either the dust core or the rod to jam slightly. Final assembly has to be done so that the two plates are perfectly level and the rod can slide in and out with a minimum of friction. In fact, once I'd adjusted the plates perfectly level I applied superglue around them to lock them in place. IFT1 has two decoupling condensers which I'll swap for new ones.

Both IFT1 and IFT3 had the same problem so I'll tackle the other next... see below.






 Oddly, this transformer uses an ebonite plunger rather than perspex as in the IFT1, but the fault was identical with the rusted and jammed dust core broken off.

 I usually supply hints and tips for anyone carrying out a similar restoration, but in this instance, I don't think there are any other Moreton Cheyney receivers in existence so all I can do perhaps is describe one or two of the many reasons these sets were scrapped by their users.

These variable bandwidth IF transformers are fine if perfectly assembled and in good condition, but given some aging the things will fail and may make the receiver unusable.

They're made by fitting two coils within a bakelite or ebonite structure. One coil is glued to a fixed bakelite (upper) plate that is held in position by a single screw each side. Why single screws? So the upper plate holding the coil can be rotated through a minute amount which is necessary to allow a dust core to pass through unhindered. The lower plate carries a quarter inch clearance bush through which the rod holding the dust core is fitted and is also secured by a single screw to either side. The rod is quarter of an inch diameter. This means that the lower plate bush and the upper plate coil need to be absolutely and precisely aligned otherwise the rod will jam. Alignment needs to be made by twisting either plate to align with the rod. I noted that the fixing holes for the plates are drilled to suit the assembly and the plates are marked with scratches to tell the assembler which way to fit them. Once in use, if the thing gets knocked or a screw is inadvertently tightened (rotating the plate) the dust core will jam.

 Looking at the socket under the magic eye in which there should have been a valve, I see it's wired for something like an ECH35 or an X61/X65 so that will be the frequency changer.

The coilpack has three sections and it's clear that the rearmost is for the RF amplifier coils because the aerial socket is wired to this circuitry. The centre will be the input coils for the frequency changer and the front section carries the oscillator coils where some condensers looking like padders are fitted. The centre section carries a feed to a top cap of a valve on the opposite side of the chassis, undoubtedly the first IF amplifier.

 The coilpack seems a little strange because not all the coils are fitted with adjustable cores. As some cores are fairly loose it's likely that some have fallen out although the medium and long wave coils do not appear to have ever been fitted with cores. This would be acceptable if the coils are accurately made proprietary items having very accurate inductance values and are being used with the correct tuning condenser in line with the coil specifications. Again, not all the coils appear to have associated trimmers. Again, if the coils are tuned with the correct tuning condenser, meeting the coil specification, they will probably track reasonably well. The absence of trimmers will explain the rather vague tuning dial and overall these clues will explain the use of twin tuning condensers. Whilst checking the coilpack I found several bad solder joints which will need fixing when I attempt to fix the bent trimmers.


  I scanned the old dial which is printed on plastic which has buckled with age. Wherever this buckling touched the glass cover damp has resulted in the printing ink running. I managed to clean most of this using PhotoShop (above) but as you can see the original size is nearer foolscap and my scanner is A4. The outer scale shows that the receiver tunes below 10 meters and this may answer the question Silver Knight or Silver Dragon because the Wireless World write up quotes 10.5 meters for the Silver Dragon as well as stating its number of valves is 16 which doesn't seem right for this example which clearly tunes down to 9.5 meters and has 14 valves and a separate chassis for the power amplifier. The argument isn't clear cut because a further advert then quotes 9.8 meters, however I can find no feedback to the local oscillator which would be necessary for the quoted "automatic frequency control".

  Read on in the next page which deals with the receiver's circuitry.

 Now.. is this the matching amplifier/power supply??

 It will be a(nother) real challenge... continues

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