London Bound


We’re heading for Old Spitalfields Market on Saturday with a selection of vintage transistor radios and this 1959 Ultra 101.

A first generation transistor portable radio in a veneered plywood case and finished with a gold trim. Just take a look at the back …


I guess they couldn’t agree which design looked best, so they used both.  What a smart looking thing it is too.  Do you think radios might age better than people?

Is This The Most Successful Radio of All Time?


The DAC 90 was a very popular little valve radio which was first produced by Bush Radio in London in 1946.  It originally cost eleven pounds and eleven shillings.

The first DAC radios came in black and amazingly, considering the number of radios we’ve got piled up on the shelves in our workshop, we’ve never actually come across one – but we’re not giving up.   The brown and cream ones are still relatively plentiful.  Unlike other vintage valve radios, I bet no one could bear to throw this one out.

This little lovely was believed to have been designed by Frank E Middleditch who was awarded the British Plastics and Moulded Products Trader award in April 1937.  The aim was to satisfy the demand for a small, transportable, plug in radio. They still wanted it to have the familiar bush “tone” but wanted it to look good and above all be reliable.

Bush’s advertising saw the tree as  “The symbol of reliable radio”.  They prided themselves on rigorous quality control.  Ferranti offered a ninety days warranty, Bush offered its customers a whole year.

ImageThe original control knobs on the black sets were completely smooth but had to be redesigned because  the Mrs in the kitchen trying to turn the knobs found them difficult to turn with wet or greasy fingers. The next generation of knob was ridged and the radio produced in brown and cream.