Thursday, July 30, 2009

There is crisis in Europe

I've got many copies of Wireless World magazine from the 1930s and 40s, including the famous A C Clarke issues. Mostly I find these of interest for the technical material, but there are a few adverts that can take your breath away for various reasons. Here's one from November 1935.
Giving you - in addition to ordinary programmes -
Political Propaganda Broadcasts, in English,
from the Dictators of Europe

TO-DAY there is crisis in Europe ... and the air is alive with the broadcast news and views of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini ! But the dictators of Europe use the SHORT WAVES for the propaganda, and you cannot hear them on an ordinary radio set.
At this critical moment Burndept have produced an ALL-Wave Radio Receiver for everybody—and at NO extra cost! For £8 8s. you can buy the Burndept All-Wave Battery Receiver which not only gives you all your favourite home and Continental programmes as usual, but receives as well the world-wide Short Wave stations on which you get the dance-bands of New York direct, the politics of Europe, the last-minute news of all the world. The Burndept All-Electric All-Wave Receiver costs -£10 10s.
It requires no extra skill to receive the Short Wave stations, on this Burndept All-Wave Radio. You tune them in like any distant ''foreigner " -- and you have at your fingertips a new and never-failing source of radio interest and entertainment. Ask your nearest Burndept Accredited Dealer or POST COUPON BELOW for full details.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Other folks projects

When I wonder if the time I spend on my projects is worthwhile it's great to read about daft/strange/incredible things that others are doing.

Here's a couple -

The Toaster Project - hey the electric toaster is 100!!!
Maybe the end result will have a retro look - how about these? 1920s Toasters
See the Toaster Museum at

The Impossible Project - "shake it like a Polaroid picture"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Beat Generator

Not sure if the Marconi Beat Frequency Oscillator in my "lab" is the one shown in this picture, but it's probably from the same batch.
This week I got it working again. Not sure if it was built to last, or just to prevent theft. It's very heavy - lots of iron components and plated thick brass sheet for the chassis and control panel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Smeaton's method

This week I'm on holiday; one nice thing about living in Devon is that holidays can be very cheap, as there's no need to go away. So I get to relax, reflect, mess about, enjoy the countryside, fresh air.... without leaving home. As I sipped a beer in the late afternoon sunshine I thought about what I might do tomorrow and the "engineering method" came to mind.

For those who believe the "scientific method" lies behind the modern world, perhaps they also need to sip a beer and reflect on the genius of John Smeaton.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Modern Quality Receiver - 1935 and today

Another W.T. Cocking design from 1935. Unlike the 1934 Quality Amplifier it would be asking a bit much to build one of these from scratch today. Getting the valves would be fairly easy, but all those special variable selectivity transformers - not a hope.

Fortunately all sorts of things show up on Ebay......

The Wireless World 1936 Monodial A.C. Super