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from David White

Radios: from the early 1900s and through the 20th century



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The following vintage radios come from the collection of my husband's cousin, David White, who has written the following notes about each of them.

They are in date order.

In the early years, a radio was known as a wireless.

 

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1939 radio/wireless: Pilot Maestro, thumbnail

1939: Pilot Maestro

1939 radio/wireless: Pilot Maestro

Pilot Maestro, 1939. This British mains-only model had 5 valves and was medium- and long-wave. Working models still available today can fetch £150.

1944 radio: Wartime Civilian Receiver, thumbnail

1944: Wartime Civilian Receiver

1944 radio: Wartime Civilian Receiver

Wartime Civilian Receiver, 1944. Regularly known as the 'Utility' set, the 1944 Wartime Civilian Receiver was designed Dr G D Reynolds of Murphy Radio Ltd. It was an efficient but very basic, single waveband receiver, covering the medium-waves only, and its rather austere appearance echoed the fact that it had been designed to be produced with the minimum of materials and labour. It was made by over 40 British manufacturers, with valves and other components specially coded for wartime security reasons. It got a name for being the ugliest radio ever made.

1945 radio: Ekco A22, thumbnail

1945: Ekco A22

1945 radio: Ekco A22

Ekco A22 1945. Originally designed by the architect Wells Coates, the Round Ekco is the most popular wireless cabinet shape of all time. It was manufactured by E. K. Cole Ltd at their Southend factory, all with moulded bakelite cabinet. A good working model can command £1000 these days.

c1947 radio: R I Airflow, thumbnail

c1947: R I Airflow

c1947 radio: R I Airflow

R I Airflow, c1947. Radio Instruments superhet 5 valves 3-wave-band with gramophone pick-up socket.

c1950s radio: Bush D.A.C.90A, thumbnail

c1950s: Bush D.A.C.90A

1950s radio: Bush D.A.C.90A

Bush D.A.C.90A, c1950s. Bakelite 5-valve medium and long wave portable radio, one of the most popular sets, and easily obtainable 60 years later.

1950s radio: Pye Jewel case battery/mains, thumbnail

1950s: Pye Jewel case battery/mains

1950s radio: Pye Jewel case battery/mains

Pye Jewel case (battery/mains), 1950s. Popular in their time, 25-guineas would buy you this 4-valve radio.

1950s radio: Pye Jewel case, battery, thumbnail

1950s: Pye Jewel case, battery

1950s radio: Pye Jewel case, battery

Pye Jewel case (battery only), 1950s. A battery-only version of the above, costing around 20-guineas.

1952 radio: Ever Ready battery/valve, thumbnail

1952: Ever Ready battery/valve

1952 radio: Ever Ready battery/valve

Ever Ready battery/valve, 1952. One of the first 4-valve battery radios, with a combined 90-volt HT and 1.5-volt battery, which would normally last 6-months with average usage. The cost was 17-shillings and six pence.

1953:Roberts 200 Transistor radio, thumbnail

Roberts 200 Transistor, 1959

1953:Roberts 200 Transistor radio

Roberts 200 Transistor, 1959. British-made in Molesey, Surrey, this 6-transistor radio has become an icon, and similar-style sets are manufactured by Roberts today to include DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast).

c1955 radio: Grundig 2035, thumbnail

1955: Grundig 2035

c1955 radio: Grundig 2035

Grundig 2035, 1955. This radio had 3 loudspeakers, 6 valves, SW/MW/LW/VHF, with mahogany veneered plywood cabinet. Made in West Germany, it was quite a performer in its day, and cost £57 15s.

c1957 radio: Ekco U245, thumbnail

c1957: Ekco U245

c1957 radio: Ekco U245

Ekco U245, c1957. Medium and long-wave mains radio, a fairly standard model.

c1958 radio: Ecko U354, thumbnail

c1958: Ecko U354

c1958 radio: Ecko U354

Ecko U354, c1958. The Company's first single-band FM mains-operated radio.

1958 radio: Bush VHF 90A, thumbnail

1958: Bush VHF 90A

1958 radio: Bush VHF 90A

Bush VHF 90A, 1958. Mains operated FM-only radio in a bakelite case.

1959 radio: GEC BC402 mains, thumbnail

1959: GEC BC402 mains

1959 radio: GEC BC402 mains

GEC BC402 mains, 1959. FM version, medium and long-wave 6-valve AC-mains operated radio.

1959 radio: Decca TP22, thumbnail

1959: Decca TP22

1959 radio: Decca TP22

Decca TP22, 1959. 6 Transistor portable radio, using, unusually, two 6-volt batteries.

1963 radio: Decca TP85, thumbnail

1963: Decca TP85

1963 radio: Decca TP85

Decca TP85, 1963. One of the earliest transistor radios, made in the UK.

1963 radio: Grundig Elite Boy, thumbnail

1963: Grundig Elite Boy

1963 radio: Grundig Elite Boy

Grundig Elite Boy, 1963. MW/LW/SW/VHF mains or battery operated, smaller than the others here.

1963 radio: Grundig City Boy 1100, thumbnail

1963: Grundig City Boy 1100

1963 radio: Grundig City Boy 1100

Grundig City Boy 1100, 1963. a modern portable 3-wave-band radio which could also work off the mains. The FM range extended to 108MHz.

1966 radio: Grundig Concert Boy 1100, thumbnail

1966: Grundig Concert Boy 1100

1966 radio: Grundig Concert Boy 1100

Grundig Concert Boy 1100, 1966. a bigger version of the same family of Grundig radios, was good value and had excellent sound quality.

1968 radio: cGEC 7 transistor, thumbnail

1968: cGEC 7 transistor

1968 radio: cGEC 7 transistor

GEC 7 transistor, 1968. a long- and medium-wave radio using a PP9 battery which could last years.

c1970 radio: Hacker Sovereign 2, thumbnail

c1970: Hacker Sovereign 2

c1970 radio: Hacker Sovereign 2

Hacker Sovereign 2, c1970. British, one of the best quality radios of their time, using two PP9 batteries. Some models had a mains option available.

  

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is Pat Cryer.