Big, Bold and Brassy

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Telefunken Concertino made in Germany in 1955 or 56.  A beast of a machine, weighing in at an impressive 14.5 kg.

Three speakers, piano bush buttons and a bright green magic eye.  With pre-set Bass, Orchestra, Smooth and Jazz settings, there’s hours of fiddling and adjustment to keep you going whilst listening to your favourite tunes.  Who needs the telly?

1955 ahh … Tony Bennett Stranger in ParadiseJimmy Young , Unchained Melody and Bill Hayley and his Comets were definitely doing a Rock Around the Clock.  What better radio to enjoy them on.

Sadly this one is already well-loved and will soon be on its way back home to Wales but we have two or three similar in the workshop if you’re seriously smitten.

 

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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Toast

Check out the FB10 made in 1950 by Kolster Brandes.  Originally marketed as The Magic Midget and now more commonly known as The Toaster.

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Moulded in one piece with no cardboard back, it looks good from any angle and the controls cleverly sit, neatly balancing the shape, in the bottom corners like little feet.

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At only 25 x 17 x 16 cm, it is indeed a tiny little thing and a dead ringer for a 1950’s toaster, both a wonderful piece of practical design.

Push Button Perfect

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Oh I do love a piano-key push button radio.  The very latest must have in mid-fifties radio and to me they just shout sophistication. Here are two of the latest additions to the Wayne’s Radios collection and, even in their pre-restored state, these divas are just too darn handsome to be hidden away on a shelf in the store.  The smaller of the two is a Bush VHF 71 made in London in 1958 and the larger, a 1959 Diora Calypso 62015 from Poland. I think the Calypso wins hands down.  It’s big, bold and brassy. Just when I’d got that one sorted, another cat crept in, and now I just don’t know .. P1090161 If big is beautiful, the 1959 Orien from Hungary is definitely in with a chance.  This one is bigger and bolder and brassier.  With its blingy patterned tuner glass and a tantalising twelve piano keys, it must be destined to end up in a bar or cafe.  It’s sitting there shouting “LOOK AT ME” and I bet it has a sound to match.

Radio Rescue

We often buy radios to meet a specific customer’s wants or needs.  Having a request for a radio of a particular size or era, we seek out something suitable. On the hunt for a Ferguson Finesse, we spotted this collection.  Magic eye – tick, both knobs – tick,  piano keys – tick, case looks good – tick, but it’s miles away and do we really want all the others?  Of course, you’ve guessed it.  Before too long we’re in the middle of a bidding war and if someone else wants them, then of course we do too.  Think two children fighting over the teddy in the toy box.

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Having trecked half way across England to pick up the radios, our excitement quickly morphed into disappointment.  The little speaker was full of woodworm and had to go straight in the bin.  One of the bakelite cabinets was cracked beyond repair .. (there was no mention of that in the description).  The lovely Ferguson Finesse … oh yes it did have all the bits usually absent after sitting around in someone’s garage for the last thirty or forty years, but sadly the extra bit of trim that fits under the knobs and piano keys – missing.

If you restore vintage valve radios, you never say die.  Buying a collection is always, in the end, somehow so much more satisfying.  It means you get the good, the bad and the ugly and some of our more successful radio rescues have been ones that should have been consigned to the skip.

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Well, I like this one.  We’ll let you know how we get on with the other radios and if anyone out there has the missing bit for the Ferguson Finesse, you may even be able to sell us your entire collection.

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