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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The Perfect Home

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The wonderful world of vintage radios has afforded us the privilege of being connected, albeit tenuously, to some fascinating people. The smallest of radios has introduced us to the works of two talented folk.  Artist Fiona Charis Carswell was on the hunt for a vintage radio to use in her studio. Our emailing to and fro led us not only to Fiona’s heart-lifting work …

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http://fionachariscarswell.com/

… but also to the work of her equally talented brother Hugh who creates beautiful music in an ancient cottage on the Isle of Jura.

http://iansonmusic.com/

In turn we were able to introduce her to a Roberts R300 originally built in 1964.  I can’t think of a better home for a vintage radio than an artist’s studio.

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Except perhaps a cottage on the isle of Jura.

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Que Sera Sera. A Blue Spot Radio

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This is our newly restored 1950s vintage valve radio made in Germany by Blaupunkt.  Although the radio came to us looking very dirty and distressed we knew it would be worth spending time on.  The  name Blaupunkt came from the blue spot that was used by the “Ideal” company to mark products passing quality control.   The blue spot became synonymous with quality and innovation.  People started asking for blau punkt products and inevitably this became the company’s trademark and name.  As you can see it’s now looking lovely once more and sounds as good as it did back in 1956 when Doris Day was singing Que Sera Sera. 

The blue spot also featured in the collage we used for our Christmas card this year by Maddie Gosling. You can see more of Maddie’s work  at http://maddiegosling.tumblr.com/  and also on some of our radios.

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Art Attacked Vintage Radios

In their original state, some radios are no longer working and the casings appear too damaged to restore. Amazingly these radios can be rescued from the scrapheap by artist Maddie Gosling,   She carefully selects images taken from, equally sad looking, vintage books. After hours of patient work and several coats of varnish, the rebuilt cases have been transformed.  Reunited with their repaired electronics they become fully functioning, one-of-a-kind, iPod docking stations with an impressive valve sound.

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