A Potted History of some famous UK Radio Manufacturers


 A.C.Cossor can trace its roots back to 1859, when it was founded long before radio was discovered. They made thermometers and barometers, specialised electrical glassware, to later include an early cathode ray tube, made in 1902 and "R" valves for use in the later years of WWI at their first factory at Highbury, London.
In 1922, Cossor launched a radically new type of valve which they designed in-house, establishing their name in the frontrunners of radio. They went from strength to strength selling valves and radios kits, diversifying to electronic instruments, including an oscilloscope in 1932.
The company initially entered the business of manufacturing radio sets by selling their products in kit form, adopting the slogan "Kings of the Air", later manufacturing for sale, in 1930, their first complete model. The Highbury factory was continuously developed until 1932 when they ran out of space, resulting in a decision to build their second factory, at Leyton, where they made radio cabinets from 1934

The advertisement above appeared in the BBC Year book of 1932 and depicts Cossors latest valve developement. The Wireless World Valve data manual (of the 60s) correctly lists their claimed figure for anode grid capacitance. The figure was indeed not attained by any of their competitors products and I can only find an isolated example of the figure being bettered and that by a late B7G example.

Their household radio set brand name "Melody Maker" , introduced in 1927 for sets in kit form, was continued for 30 years until the late 50s and the odd example from my collection is shown elsewhere.
Cossor's first TV receiver was advertised before regular transmissions had started, followed by a new receiver, demonstrated at the 1936 Radio Show. By 1938 they had the model 1210 using a 15 inch tube, very large by standards of the day, giving a picture, from which the model number was derived, of 12 inches by 10 inches.
By 1939 Cossor, in common with all other leading manufacturers had joined the war effort, using their specific engineering expertise to develop the radar receiver for the Chain Home UK Radar Defence System. Their experience stood them in good stead, because after WWII they continued successfully in the field of radar. Manufacture of radio sets continued after the war with the number of different models getting less and less and ending with the introduction of tape recorders before the Cossor name petered out in the late 60s.

I have searched my information for details of Cossor sets and come up with the list attached, which is certainly not exhaustive. The way the sets were numbered is obviously not straightforward as the number does not really reflect the date of introduction. Also, most of Cossor's many individual components were also numbered, often using the same codes as finished sets.
See a listing of Cossor sets

 Here's an early Cossor brochure, Pages 1 to 4

The prices may look cheap by today's standards, but in fact radio parts were extremely expensive in the 1920s and 30s. A wage rate of 2/- (2 shillings) or in today's monopoly money, 10p per hour, was really good.





 Below are some interesting items from the past. They were given to me by Mark Hughes who hails from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire. They're "Tool Check" tokens and must have been swapped for items from Cossor's stores so a record could be kept of where things went. On a recent holiday we were given card tokens for towels. If you didn't hand back the card before you left, the hotel would charge you for a new towel. Maybe something similar applied to borrowing stuff from Cossor's stores?



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