The Future Could Well Be Orange


The clever bit of these iconic designs is the production process which enabled both glazed and matt finishes to be produced on the same pot.  Each of these Hornsea Pottery pieces has had the pattern screen printed onto the surface with specially developed ink designed to withstand high temperatures.   After the pattern was printed the pots were dipped into tubs of glaze. The ink used to create the patterns contained oils and waxes which the glaze ran off. Simple. This technique combined with the limited palette of contrasting colours, created the Hornsea signature relief pattern and look.

Hornsea pottery is a great thing to collect.  It was mass produced, so readily available after being stored in the back of grandma’s cupboard and it’s cheap and hard wearing enough to be used every day.

As the classic Bush TR230 was first produced in 1971, it could be the perfect radio to add to your Seventies set.  If it’s John Clappison’s pottery that brings a smile to your face, the simple shape and styling of this little transistor would fit in perfectly and, what’s more, set against Saffron or Heirloom pottery, this radio is just the right shade of orange.  Are you ready for the Seventies revival?


Pretty Perfect 1961 PYE Vintage Radio


Whilst out and about we’ve found a beautifully clean PYE Table Receiver which we believe was built in 1961. Unlike so many other radios, this one has obviously been well loved.  No time spent in a dirty shed or outbuilding collecting woodlice and spiders.  We’ve just given it a little tickle with a feather duster and voila. We haven’t got the back off yet, but fingers crossed.

1961 saw four Elvis Presley hits, Are You Lonesome Tonight, Wooden Heart, Surrender and His Latest Flame.  Shirley Bassey was belting out Reach For The Stars/Climb Every Mountain and The Everly Brothers were Walkin’ Back To Happiness.  

In the news, John F Kennedy was inaugurated as president of the United States, Harold MacMillan was Prime Minister in the United Kingdom and it was the year the Berlin Wall was built.



We spent yesterday on a work’s outing to a Radio Fair.   Disneyland for Vintage fans or chic geeks.  The highlight for me was Nipper, the iconic logo who, along with his gramophone became the trademark for His Master’s Voice in 1900.

Nipper was painted after his death by the artist Francis James Barraud.  Barraud is said to have remembered his brother’s dog turning his head and listening to the sound coming from the gramophone and there is some suggestion that the dog and the gramophone are depicted on the top of his brother’s coffin, hence the title “His Master’s Voice”.

If I had three hundred and fifty pounds to spend and could have got this chap under my arm, he would be sitting with me right now.  Instead I’ve got this one who has just been in the garden eating mud.


 The Sound of Music

All this talk of vinyl got me thinking about my first ever LP.  It was the soundtrack to The Sound of Music.  I knew every word, of every song.  It was my birthday present, along with a trip to the Pictures in 1965.


No ordinary trip,  we didn’t take our sandwiches and a flask to our local flea pit,  but went on a great adventure all the way to the big pictures in Blackpool. Imagine the enormous, red velvet seats, the feeling of grand occasion and the six year old me wallowing in wonderment.   The sights and sounds of Julie Andrews and all those children singing their socks off on the silver screen. I’m not sure we even had a telly at home then.  It was that big a deal.  It was the greatest day of my life.

Now imagine a split second later.  No one had warned me about this.  I was in utter turmoil.  What to do for the best?  Whilst the entire rest of the cinema were standing up for the National Anthem, my lefty parents stayed firmly rooted to their seats.  A simple little Catholic girl, I’d spent every Sunday until then dutifully standing up when everyone else stood up and sitting down when they sat down and just when I’d cracked it … this happened.  I was certain every eye in the cinema was on us.  I felt as red as my seat, bobbed up and down a bit and was finally mightily relieved when it was all over.  The music stopped, I wasn’t dragged off to the tower but could have been emotionally scarred for the rest of my life.


Until 1977 and along came the Sex Pistols.  I didn’t have to think about standing up for this rendition of God Save the Queen, I instinctively knew what to do.  I just pogoed.  Bobbed up and down a lot, but this time everyone else joined in.

Tell me about your first record.

Your Radio Memories



Wouldn’t it be great if there was an archive of photographs and stories showing vintage radios as they were used in days gone by.  We could take a peek into the lives and homes of our ancestors, or a trip down Memory Lane.  I find the day to day life of Harry Normal as fascinating as the lives of kings and queens.

Within an incredibly short time there has been a massive change in how ordinary people live their lives.   Before the explosion of new technologies at the end of the 20th Century, much of everyday life was focused around the home.  Radio broadcasting in the United Kingdom began in 1922 when the BBC was formed and by 1933 half the households in Britain had a radio.  Radio listening was a family affair, until the introduction of the transistor radio when teenagers could slope off somewhere else. 

If you have photographs in your family showing the changes, please share them, tell me your family story.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

BENDY Radio Mascot designed by Maxfield Parrish

Let me introduce you to Bendy.  This little chap stood 47 cm high and was the American GENERAL ELECTRIC RADIO’s advertising mascot, used to hold cards at point of sale and presumably frighten you into submission. He was made in the 1920s, a fully jointed doll wearing band leader’s uniform complete with tall hat, gold buttons and baton.  I was amazed to discover that he was designed by Maxfield Parrish, a famous American artist best remembered for paintings like waterfall.

Waterfall, for the 1931 General Electric Edison Mazda Lamps calendar

Although I find it hard to believe that they could be by the same artist,  Parrish’s paintings were commissioned by General Electric for their Mazda Lamp Calendars from 1918 to1934.  Parrish was a profilic artist and had an unusually commercial approach to his art.

This character is even scarier and attributed to the same chap.  He is said to have designed four different ones, so there are two more out there somewhere. They look like early Star Trek to me.

There was also a lightbulb display designed by Maxfield Parrish for General Electric in 1925 and used in hardware stores for customers to test their bulbs before purchase.

I prefer this little chap myself, but that’s another story ….

Picture of the famous dog Nipper - His Master's Voice