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.
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.
I love a radio with a back-story. We recently acquired this beautiful tiny EKCO transistor radio and it came complete with this little tale from its previous owner.
“I‘d love to tell you a story about it. The back panel was held on with bailing twine and the thing was black when I got it. It came to me from a farmer who told me that it had lived in his tractor since the ’60s. The only reason he was selling was because he’d just got a brand new tractor with a CD player in it. Ha”.
I had to check out what this tractor might look like and imagine my new radio taking pride of place in the cab.
I couldn’t help wondering about the 2013 version complete with four wheel drive, air conditioning, radio, CD, aerial and speakers. How times change.
What about the 2013 radio.
“Easy to use, compact radio with great audio and chic design Featuring a kitchen timer, alarm and auto-dimming OLED display, input for your iPod and takes an optional ChargePAK rechargeable battery pack for portable listening. Intellitext for on-demand access to stored scrolling text from participating broad-casters, textSCAN to pause and control scrolling text, Light sensor adjusts the display brightness to suit the light-levels in your room, dedicated kitchen timer button tone or radio alarm and 30 presets (digital or FM)”
There are more bells and whistles on the portable radio than on the tractor – but you can still give me a vintage radio any day.
A change is good as a rest here at Wayne’s Radios, so our attention has temporarily turned to a cream and brown bakelite Vintage Clock Radio built by EKCO in 1956. Comparatively small, it just fits neatly on a bedside cabinet.
Whenever possible we like to keep everything as it was originally, but sometimes the only way we can prolong a radio’s useful life is with sympathetic alterations. This little lovely will therefore be restored and modified by the addition of a modern amplifier. This moderation will enable the radio to be used with an MP3 or similar device to make it possible to enjoy your own music collection, or access DAB radio with a simple plug in.
The vintage radio continues to be both beautiful and useful and there will be one less radio that ends up in landfill. Groovy and green. How good is that.