Broken Glass

Our latest challenge came from the beautiful island of Madeira.  We received an email from a man looking for a replacement glass panel for a Diora Calypso 62015 which has great sentimental value for his family but was sadly now broken.

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As a rule, we’re loath to break up restorable sets but can’t resist a sob story.  We had an “oh go on” moment and the glass was duly removed, protected by some serious packing, double boxed until it was almost the size of the original radio and shipped off to Madeira with fingers crossed.  The glass on a vintage radio is always the most difficult to replace and the first thing to get broken.

It was a nailbiting wait.  At one point the radio was lost in transit and we thought it had all been for nothing until it was finally tracked down at the airport.

At last we were able to breathe a great sigh of relief when we received the news that it had been located and had finally arrived in one piece.  One happy radio, customer and his Dad and that’s what makes this job so worthwhile. 

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Worth the money, to see my father remembering my grandma and his childhood.

The only problem  … we’re now looking for a replacement glass panel for a Diora Calypso 62015.

Vintage This and That

Busy making space for radios.  Some of our vintage this and that has got to go. After an extended period of extreme dithering, we’ve finally started adding to our Etsy shop.

First up is a set of 4, Kathie Winkle Woodland plates, in the Riviera Shape from 1969.P1130017Kathie Winkle is a very well-respected English designer who produced many designs used in mass-production from the late fifties until the early seventies.

Kathie’s Woodland design has stylized Elm leaves coloured with autumnal orange & greeny-yellow leaves around the plate edge, stamp outlined in black and then coloured by hand before glazing. This is a less common pattern which is a great example of mid-century British design.

Marked on the back of each plate – Broadhurst, England, Ironstone, Riviera Shape. A Kathie Winkle design. Handpainted Underglaze. Colour is detergent and dishwasher proof.

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P1130020All four plates are in good vintage condition.

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Some minor sign of wear but no chips or cracks.

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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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R D Russell Modernist Radio

 

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We’ve finally got round to rescuing a wonderful radio, created by architect-trained designer R D Russell. This radio is one of a range of Modernist radio cabinets designed for the Murphy Radio Company and recognised as an iconic design.

Unfortunately, as you can see, we found it in a rather poor condition but I’m hopeful that with a bit of hard work it can be restored to its former glory.

Richard Drew Russell

The designer Richard Drew Russell was born in England in 1903.  He was responsible for designing cabinets for The Murphy Radio Company throughout the thirties.  Russell’s cabinets reflected his passion for design and craftsmanship and were built from the best materials.  The wooden cabinet of this radio is no exception, being made from the walnut favoured by cabinet makers for high-end furniture.  In contrast, as part of the modernist design, the sides are painted black and highly polished.  

The radio could originally have been purchased in 1937 for the princely sum of £6 10s 0d.  Its cost today, seventy six years later, will very much depend on how many hours I have to spend stripping, sanding and refinishing.  Although it will obviously also be a labour of love.  I’ll keep you posted.

Murphy Radio Cabinets designed by R D Russell

Rare Robin Day Radio

Take a look at our newly restored iconic Transistor Radio designed in 1958 for Pye Ltd by the inspirational designer Robin Day.

This sleek minimalist design was made in anodised aluminium, leather and plastic. Just like his furniture, Robin Day’s radio designs were way ahead of their time.

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Robin Day is regarded as one of the most influential British designers of the 20th Century.   Although perhaps best remembered for his polypropylene moulded stacking chairs designed in 1963 and sold in their thousands, he was a massive influence on modern post-war design. From 1957 to 1965 he also designed radios, radiograms and televisions for Pye Ltd.

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“There’s this vulnerable planet of ours with finite resources.  Architects and designers have, I think, a fair responsibility for conserving energy and materials and making things durable”.
Robin Day

Fifty three years later whilst millions of poorly designed transistor radios have fallen by the wayside, this little beauty is still going strong.  It may have temporarily dropped out of fashion, sometime around the 80s when the world went slightly mad, but is now back once more to its rightful place as an object to be desired, which is appreciated for both its function and its style.

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If you want one of these chairs, available from twentytwentyone, the Transistor PYE 444 will be the must have accessory.

http://twentytwentyone.com/product/robin-day-reclining-chair