The Italian Job

Delighted to have been tasked to source and modify a radio for a vintage van lover from Italy.  The spec was for  a modified mustard coloured Roberts radio to team up with his 1978 Fiat Pulmino 900T Classic Van.

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So happy that we were able to track down this little beauty, play swapsy for a few parts to get it working and send it on its way.

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What’s made it super special is that the proud new owner has taken the time and trouble to send us photographs showing just how happy he is …

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… and we can see the radio looking right at home.

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Big is Beautiful

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In spite of spending the best part of the last fifty years at the back of the garage, this seriously sad and lonely 1954 GEC vintage valve radio has now been completely transformed.   Thoughtlessly abandoned in the swinging sixties, it was tossed aside the minute that newfangled tiny transistor radio upstart turned up, all clever and full of its own importance.   

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Where is that trendy upstart now eh? … Landfill.  The valve radio is having a revival.  The GEC is back to claim its rightful place.  Big is beautiful once more.  

Wayne can always see the true potential of a radio.  You can’t fool him with missing knobs and dusty dials. Not only is he a wizard with a soldering iron and an oscilloscope, but he also has an amazing eye for detail.  He can recognise a good bit of design when he sees it and another Vintage valve radio lives to play another day.

 

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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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Revamped Bush Transistor

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All the way back to the swinging sixties with the latest in our current phase for Vintage Transistor Radios. Up for grabs, a 1960 TR91 made by Bush.

This Bush Transistor Radio was looking worse for wear.  Although the front of the radio still looked good, the rest of the outer casing had badly discoloured and looked a rather grotty nicotine yellow.  The front was scrubbed and polished and the back is now a shiny black.  We used a contrasting colour rather than to try to match the front and back.

The simple styling and splash of blue makes for a good looking set and its now fully restored and modified so that you can use it with your iPhone or mp3 player.

Back in 1960, the first episode of Coronation Street was shown on the television in grainy black and white, Roy Orbison was singing “Only the Lonely”  and Proctor and Gamble launched their new Fairy washing up liquid.  Their latest slightly irritating advert cleverly marks the passing of time with different radios.  They should have focused less on the mother and daughter and more on the radios and produced a far superior advert in my book.

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Radio Road Trip

The portable transistor radio out on a road trip.

Radio Road Trip

The first transistor radio was developed in 1954.  Taking the world by storm.  Portable transistor radios were manufactured in their millions in the ’60s and ’70s and were a must have accessory for every hipster.

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For the first time, people were able to listen to music on the go and this reflected the new found freedom enjoyed by the post-war baby-boomer teenagers.  The golden years of the portable radio continued into the mid 1960s with radios getting ever smaller and generally, with some notable exceptions, concentrating on portability rather than sound quality.

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The invention of cassette players and ghetto blasters in the ’70s, which ironically got bigger and bigger to the point where they could hardly be carried, sadly slowed down their popularity and many ended up in the bin, up in the loft or in the back of the garage collecting dust.

Appreciating the style and design of the early portable radios, we’ve started seeking out the good looking and better sounding ones, dusting them down and getting them going.  Some transistor, some with valves.  We’ve also found a gizmo to use them with MP3 and pick up DAB.

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Do you think it might be just a matter of time before the boom box makes a comeback?  I can’t see a revival of the hairstyle or flares any time soon but then again …

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