So a couple of weeks ago we got a phone call out of the blue from BBC Radio Northampton. They needed an ‘expert’ to talk about the new Bluetooth Cassette Tape players which have just been launched after crowdfunding.
Research done and notes made I was ready for my big interview…….then with an hour to go before the broadcast I was pulled for another guest, but they did reschedule for the next day. Cue an evening and morning of nerves and impromptu dieting as I couldn’t eat anything.
Eventually the researcher phoned back and said we were a go. Had a lovely chat with the DJ about these new cassette players and he was great at giving the business a plug – more than I was! Fortunately he were also interested in what we are doing; rescuing all these beautiful old radios, speakers & telephones from landfill and converting them for use today.
So it all went swimmingly and luckily they didn’t ask too many difficult questions. If you would like to have listen to the interview follow the link below:
Lazarus our latest transformation from wrecked radio to Bluetooth Speaker. Found in a house clearance at the back of a garage
where it had probably lived for many years this old radio has been rescued, repaired
When we bought it we thought
it might be beyond economical repair but the knobs were worth rescuing!
We did some investigation and we identified it as a GEC BC4040 valve radio made by General Electric Co, London in 1939. It is a big beastie measuring 18.5 inches long (45cm) and very heavy
Once we got it back to the workshop we realised that the Bakelite was in OK condition, a few wounds and scars but no breaks or bits missing. The speaker had had it and the dial was illegible – both had suffered over the years and were covered with mould. The base & back were the same and the internals were all rusty, but on the plus side it did have all its knobs!
As we had a bit of a break in our busy schedule we decided to bite the bullet and tackle the renovation. The radio was taken apart, the innards were scrubbed down, Bakelite was washed, dried and polished. The material was replaced and we upgraded it to stereo adding a speaker each side – it would have been mono originally. We sprayed the original glass to hide the gap from the missing dial and installed bulbs behind so it still lights up. The Bluetooth technology was added with new wiring and the result is the pretty beastie below.
We love it and have obviously named him Lazarus. It sounds fab and is another gorgeous Art Deco, pre WWII radio saved from landfill.
A lot of people ask us at our shows about converting a vintage radio which belonged to their parents or grandparents. We are happy to do this and have done many in the past.
If you want a conversion carried out we can convert your radio in one of 3 ways:
Bluetooth with Aux in
If you are interested in having a conversion carried out you can bring your radio to one of the shows we are attending where we can assess its viability. Alternatively send us detailed pictures and we can let you know if conversion is possible.
A standard conversion starts at £80 but the final cost will depend on the following:
the size of your radio – if it is very small it maybe too difficult to get the extra tech inside
whether the speaker still works or is unusable – we can replace the speaker with a suitable alternative if it is torn but most of the time the original speaker is usable
whether you want the exterior cleaned/ restored.
Once converted the radio will be able to connect to any portable music player including iPad, tablet, smartphone or any other Bluetooth device including Amazon Echo. It will no longer work as a conventional radio, though you will be able to stream digital radio through your phone or tablet using an app such as iplayer or BBC sounds.
Timeshift – Dial ‘B’ for Britain is a really cool and fascinating insight into the history of the telephone.
First shown on BBC4 on 20th April 2017 this programme tells the history of the British telephone line over 100 years and the telephone on the High Street and in British households over this period. If you think the problems we have today getting a phone line installed are something new – think again, the infrastructure has always been expanding and demand always seems to exceed the supply. From being a plaything of the wealthy the telephone became a necessity of the 20th century and though mainly used for connectivity today it is still very much part of our lives.
The program takes us into the exchanges, talks to engineers, switchboard operators and experts and contains a fantastic array of vintage clips of the telephone in all its glory. Included in the program are a number of phones which we lent the BBC in making the program.
Since we started adapting and converting vintage speakers, radios & radiograms to MP3 players they have always been wired, using the headphone socket on a mobile phone or MP3 player as the connection. However as our experience has increased and with Apple taking this facility away on their iPhones and iPods we are now offering our MP3 conversions with Bluetooth.
It has always been or ultimate aim to do this however it has taken a while to source the most suitable hardware to make this work with the vintage technology we are adapting.
Currently we are introducing this option with our range of table top radios and standalone speakers.
We have an alternative add-0n solution for radiograms, which connects to the headphone socket and this can added to new conversions and can also be retrospectively supplied for any of our existing MP3 conversions.