Some Things You May Like to Know About Vintage Radios

Working or Non-Working?

Radio Health and Safety Warning – Old radios carry high-voltage current that can cause injury or death.  Unless you know what you’re doing, don’t plug in, switch on or poke about with a vintage radio, especially if it’s been languishing in a shed or attic for decades.

P1070903The design and potential state of the wiring puts you at risk of a serious electric shock. Sorry to start with a downer but we do want you to stay safe.  Whilst a restored radio may cost more than a non-working model, factor in the sourcing and replacing of parts and the time and expertise that’s gone into its restoration. All Wayne’s Radios are safety-tested and sound-checked before they leave the workshop. If you go with a prop, it may look pretty good, but trust me, you’re only getting half the enjoyment.  You want it to be safe and sound good. Only buy a non-working radio if you only want to look at it.


Designed by Robin Day

Designed by Robin Day

How Much Will it Be Worth?  To a serious collector, the value of a vintage radio could be high, depending on the scarcity, age, design, and overall condition. Some sets are sought after because they were the first of their kind, the last ones remaining, manufactured in small numbers or can be identified as designed by specific designers.


To the rest of us?

Although not measured in pounds, the value of a vintage radio can be so much more.

tumblr_my3gy0behe1rgdasjo1_1280Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder and if you like the look of it, it sounds good, it’s within budget and it fits in with your style, it’s the radio for you and, to you, will be worth a bomb. People become very emotionally attached to their radios.


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Seriously, which One Should I Choose?

Early radio cabinets were made of wood and relied on the skill and craftsmanship of the cabinet maker to produce a good looking radio.  If you’re after a classic or traditional look from the thirties to the fifties, there’s plenty to choose from. Table top or floor-standing. If you’ve got the room, go the whole hog and get a radiogram.


What about Bakelite?

To some people, a vintage radio can only mean bakelite. The development of polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, to give it its technical name, made more sophisticated moulded cabinet designs possible and brought some colour to the world of radio. P1070895Bakelite is strong, of its time and has properties well suited to the job of housing hot valves and wiring. The downside is it’s brittle and less likely to survive a knock. Oh and bakelite tends to come in any colour, as long as it’s brown or cream.


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But What if I Need Some Colour in my life?

The brightly-coloured radios in this country tend to be painted. Go for one of our radio rescues. Colourful Catalin or plastic radios exist but suggest an import.


Or If I Want Something A Bit Different?

Radio cabinet designs are distinctly different from country to country. It’s usually easy to spot if a radio isn’t British, particularly if it’s an American or European model. American radios resemble American cars.  Think industrial, chrome and grilles.  Whilst French radios were heavily influenced by art nouveau with colourful curvy lines.

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Not Different Enough?


A Wayne’s Radio Art-attacked radio could be just the thing you’re looking for. Finished with ephemera and vintage images sourced from damaged and distressed books to give you a one-of-a-kind radio and piece of art.P1090036


How much would a vintage radio cost?

All depends on your personal specification and budget.  A high-end brand or model will always cost more. As a rule of thumb, if it cost a lot when new it will sell at a premium today as the electronics and cabinet production were the best available at that time and you will be getting the best-looking and best-sounding machine for that era. Prices for a restored working or modified radio range are based largely on size and era.  The older it is, and the bigger it is, the more it’s likely to cost you. Prices range from as little as £80 to over £300.

P1090138If a good looker is most important to you, you can go for a complete restoration with restored cabinet or, if you prefer you can choose one of our upcycled or paint finished radios. Don’t worry, back in the day, radios were produced in their thousands so there are still plenty out their for the purists to get hold of and, if you’re choosing one of of our funked-up radios, you can rest assured it was so tatty, badly damaged or dangerous when we originally found it, it was destined for landfill.  We love radios.  Any radios of real historical interest are left well alone.  Just take a look at our signature radio before its transformation and you can see exactly what we mean.  We rescue radios.

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Defiance in the Face of Adversity

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Defiant

  1. marked by resistance or bold opposition, as to authority; challenging  

Our little Defiant is a MSH 248 made in 1947 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society.

The Co-operative movement were selling radios back in the 1920s when broadcasting began. Their first specialist wireless shop was opened by the Barnsley British Co-operative Society in 1925.

By the late 1920s the co-operative movement was so successful that the independent radio traders became increasingly disgruntled.   They put pressure on the Radio Manufacturers’ Association to cease supply, claiming the dividend that the co-operatives gave on sales was unfair trading.  This resulted in a boycott by the main radio manufacturers and the co-operatives had no radios to sell.

Not to be beaten, the Co-operative Wholesale Society revealed the solution to their problem at a trade fair in Manchester on 5th November 1933.   In a bold bid to get round the cartel and price-fixing practiced by the major radio players of the day, they made use of their factories already producing goods for sale by co-operative societies, to manufacture their own radios.  Radios believed to be designed by Plessey and aptly branded Defiant.

The CWS continued to be successful, boldly opposing and challenging authority and selling many radios.

Going Into the Unknown

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Today we got a great new Philco radio and can’t wait to get started on it.  Sadly so far, despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to find the model number. Please help us harness the power of the internet.  Someone out there will know exactly what it is, how to go about finding out, or a man that can and they may even have schematics.  One of the valves (or tubes) inside is marked USA and it looks thirties or forties but that folks, is all we know.

Inside and Out

An amazing radio, inside and out.  A last look as one of our first radio restorations finally leaves the workshop for the last time.  Heading off to its new home before we become too attached.  It’s been nice knowing you little 1930s GEC valve radio.  The only good thing is, it gets to make another vintage radio lover very happy and we now get to choose another personal favourite.

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Radio Roundup


387707234A little look back at Wayne’s Radios 2014.  We’ve had the good fortune to hook up with vintage radio lovers who appreciate the style and sound of a vintage radio as much as we do.  We’ve worked on radios in many different shapes and sizes, met some amazing people and travelled the length and breadth of the country.

We’re now looking forward to 2015 and getting started on one or two of these. Just a sample of our extensive radio collection.

2015

Motorised Movement

Our latest restoration is a 1938 EKCO radio complete with motorised pre-set tuning.  Just press any one of the ten buttons in turn and you can have hours of fun watching the dial whizzing round to the next setting.  I say whizzing, there is a gentle whirring noise and the pointer moves slowly round the dial before sedately settling on the selected station.  When you get tired of that, just sit back, enjoy the sound and admire the beauty of the gleaming cabinet.

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The wooden cabinet has been stripped, sanded, stained, lacquered and polished to within an inch of its life.  All the hard work has definitely paid off. This radio has enjoyed a long and active life and was sporting the scars to prove it.  Although it could never be restored to its original showroom state, the nicks and gouges have been evened out and it has now developed a wonderful warm finish bringing out the natural beauty of the wood.  Time for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

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