1961 Vintage Transistor Radio

Way back in 1961, Dansette most famous for record players, took their brand new transistor radio to the National Radio Show at Earls Court in London.

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In 2014 in our Vintage Radio workshop, we have a beautiful example of just how lovely one of those radios would have looked.

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From 1961, but still looking amazing, a tiny 222 Dansette Transistor Radio.  We’ve had one or two through the workshop, but usually showing much more sign of wear and tear.  Radios have always been well loved and an important part of everyday life, and as a consequence many are covered in paint spots and nicotine, have chunks out of them, dints in them and the covering is ripped or torn.

This one is going to have an mp3/ipod input added so that its owner can, not only continue to enjoy looking at that classic sixties styling, but also listen to some great 1961 classics from the ipod.  I’m thinking Elvis Presley’s Are You Lonesome Tonight, or maybe the Everly Brothers singing Walk Right Back …  He could make a playlist starting with 1961 and going on from there.

What would be on your playlist from the past fifty years?

Ringing the Changes

We like restoring vintage radios to their former glory.   Not only bringing the sound back to life but also working on the cabinets, both bakelite and wood. These radios appeal to traditionalists and purists and are a joy to work on. Every radio tells a story and provides a very positive and tangible connection with the past.

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On the other hand,  we like to ring the changes and take every opportunity to take a distressed radio and bring it back to life, be creative and add our mark.

Some radios have damaged or wormy cabinets and they give us licence to perform a major face-lift.  Take one plain Bush vintage valve radio from the early 1950s and add a different touch.  It could be Nordic Blue,

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Seville Orange,

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or even Gingham.

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Working on these radios is particularly exciting.  How they will end up has only been in our imagination and we have to wait with bated breath for them to be reassembled.

Add an mp3 or iPod and we’re down with William Morris having nothing in our home that we don’t know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.  We haven’t been disappointed yet.

Comic Strip Radio

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With my very own Superman, I’ve just had a go at breathing new life into a vintage extension speaker. These can sometimes be found lurking in the back of junk shops gathering dust.  Not wanting to see anything that can be used or re-purposed go to waste, we took up the challenge and ta da ….

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Meet our latest iPod/mp3 amplifier.  Cheerfully finished off with a collage made from a tatty and dogeared 1968 annual.  Once drab and dreary, beige and broken, it couldn’t look more different.  Now fully functioning and looking seriously smart.

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And as for Batman and Superman, why they’ve hooked up together and got involved with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? Perhaps the inspiration for the story came from a particularly trippy sixties dream.  If only they’d got hold of Doctor Who … now that would make complete sense – Time Lord and seasoned time traveller.
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Sights and Sounds

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Trying to think of different ways of showing how great a vintage radio is can be quite a challenge.  Of course our radios are strikingly good looking, but they are so much more than ornamental.  Our modified Vintage Valve Radios are a great way of using your iPod or computer to listen to your music with the added bonus of a warm valve sound.

There has been much debate about the quality of sound in serious music listening circles.  I just know what I like to look at and listen to.  The valves slowly warm up and you know what they say …  “Real radios glow in the dark”.

Blue and White Spotty Handbag Radio

Today’s spotty blue and white, vintage handbag radio dates from the late fifties and is an early example of a  portable transistor radio made by Dynatron.  All the electronics and the large elliptical speaker are packed neatly inside and it produces a great sound.

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Dynatron was the trade name used by Ron and Arthur Hacker who, despite being self-taught, were always at the cutting edge of radio technology.  They began making radiograms and wireless receivers in a room above their father’s grocers shop in Maidstone in the South of England.

In 1928, when they were both still teenagers, they built their first factory in the back garden of their family home.

The Hacker brothers left Dynatron in September 1959 and set up the highly regarded Hacker Radio Limited. The Nomad radio is likely to have been one of the last portables produced by Dynatron before the brothers moved on.  They continued  to produce some of the best sounding British portable radios using high quality materials, components and design.

Unusually this radio still has its original handle and has been cleverly converted to play from MP3 or iPod.

The Return of the Radiogram

ImageAccording to The Sunday Times, Sideboards have finally made a comeback. 

“Homeowners have an on/off love affair with the sideboard. Adored by the G Plan generation, and a staple of smart homes in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, it got the cold shoulder in subsequent decades, consigned to the same design limbo as three-piece suites and linoleum. When midcentury modern style made a comeback in the late Noughties, however, those pared-back 1950s shapes began to look newly alluring, and we rediscovered a lust for long, low-slung cupboards — invaluable for everything from storing china to supporting the telly.”

So why not go one step better and make it a radiogram.

The once forgotten radiogram is back,  bang on trend, and look what we’ve got ready and waiting for a new home.  Load it with cocktails and sit right back and enjoy the sounds of the sixties.  If you can’t be faffed with playing records, we can take out the record deck and make even more room for storing the glasses and icebucket.  You can plug in your iPod or MP3 player and off you go.