Blog Archives

Unusual WWII American Glass Alarm Clock

Rare WWII glass mantle/alarm clock by Gilbert Clocks, Connecticut, USA

Great example of this rare clock in fabulous condition – no chips or nicks to the glass. It comes with its box, original instructions and information about its production and can be dated between 1942 – 45.  

Unlike other clockmakers who stopped production and were drafted into the war effort Gilbert carried on making clocks as alarm clocks were deemed essential to wake up the workers. To avoid the use of restricted materials such as metal and wood, they made their clocks out of papier maché and moulded glass. Buying one of these clocks was also seen as helping the war effort.

The clock has a mechanical wind up movement with separate winder for the alarm. Both the clock and the alarm are in full working order.   

Currently in stock in our shop.



Lazarus the Radio

This is 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 & renovated.

Original Condition

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.

The Finished Article

We love it and have obviously named him Lazarus. It sounds fab and is another gorgeous Art Deco, pre WWII radio saved from landfill.

More information about this radio can be found on the fab radio museum site https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/general_el_bc4040_bc_4040.html



Can you Bluetooth my Grans Old Radio?

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 only
  • Wired only
  • 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.

Contact us if you are interested https://retro-bazaar.co.uk/contact-us/

 



Retro Bazaar Playlist

When we are selling our wares at events round the country many customers and traders compliment us on the music we use to demo our Bluetooth speakers. We take time putting together an appropriate list of music to play and this is now available on Spotify. Add it as one of your playlists by following the link. Enjoy!

Retro Bazaar Playlist



Using your Retro Bazaar Bluetooth Speaker

We are often asked about our Bluetooth speakers and how difficult are they to use – especially if you are a bit of a technophobe. In all honesty they are quick to connect to your devices – whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or even an Amazon Echo. Below are some helpful tips and hints for getting started and some of the most asked questions.

Getting Started

Due to the differences in today’s Smartphones & tablets, these are general instructions, intended to assist in the connection (or pairing) of your device to your speaker. This normally only needs to be done once per device, as the information is retained once the process has been completed.

Activating your Speaker
  • Ensure the power lead is connected to your speaker. The power lead plugs into a small circular connector on the back. Ensure you push it in fully, sometimes giving the plug a twist as you connect it can help it go in all the way.
  • Turn on your speaker using the volume control, or ‘On/Off’ button, and wait for around 20 seconds to allow the Bluetooth device to initialise.
Connecting your Phone or Tablet
  • Check that you have activated Bluetooth on your phone or tablet.
  • Open the settings screen and select the Bluetooth page. You should see a device called “KRC-XXB” where XX is a number. Select this to pair your phone or tablet with your speaker.
  • Once your device has connected turn the volume up to its loudest
  • Open your favourite music app and start playing; the music should now come through your speaker.
Turning your speaker off
  • To turn the speaker off, turn the volume control fully anti-clockwise, you will hear a click.
Reconnecting your Phone or Tablet
  • When you turn the speaker on again, (after you have paired it with your phone), the speaker will automatically connect to the last device used.
Auxiliary Input
  • If your Bluetooth Speaker has an aux in option please ensure Bluetooth is turned OFF on your Smartphone or tablet before you use speaker.

Frequently Asked Questions

My speaker is too quiet

Turn up the volume on your phone. The volume can be adjusted either by using the volume control on the speaker or on the phone.

I can’t connect to my speaker

Only one device can connect at a time, make sure a different device hasn’t connected. The last used device will be the first to be connected the next time it’s switched on.

The AUX in isn’t working

Make sure you have turned off Bluetooth on your phone, the AUX in will only work if no Bluetooth devices are connected.

Can I adjust the Bass/treble?

Most devices and streaming software allow you to set this in the App i.e. Spotify, iTunes

Can I connect my speaker to an Amazon Echo or a Google Home device?

Yes, the output from the Echo or Home will be sent to your speaker when it is on. Refer to your device’s instructions for pairing instructions.

The cable you have supplied is too short. Can I get an extension?

The cable is kept short for safety reasons, however we are able to make extensions to your exact length requirement, contact us for details.



Getting Ready for the Season….of Shopping!

The summer break is over and the shows are ramping up. We will be attending a furniture and homewares show every weekend for the next 8 weeks around the country. We will be visiting London, Bristol, Leeds and Cambridge (Details on the Events Page )

We’re looking forward to bringing our great stock to lots of new and existing customers. We love the vintage fairs, although setting up in time is always a bit of a trial! Naturally we’ll be bringing our great range of Speakers, Radiograms, Lighting, Furniture and much, much more.



Art, Antiques & Interiors Fair

This month we will be attending the Antiques for Everyone Interiors Fair again. Taking place at Excel, London the fair is an eclectic mix of Antiques, Art Deco, Vintage and Midcentury Modern and Interior Design plus talks by a host of antiques experts including Mark Hill and Judith Miller. AFE 2018

As an exhibitor we are allocated a number of complimentary passes to the show. If you would like to attend please contact us at enquiries@retro-bazaar.co.uk and we will email you a ticket.

This ticket must be printed out, one per person, and brought to the fair to allow entry.



Dial ‘B’ for Britain

Timeshift IntroTimeshift – 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.

Timeshift Series 200The 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. Timeshift Trimphone2

If you want to watch; it is still available on the BBC iplayer for a few days – Timeshift – Dial B for Britain

 



Vintage Speakers & Radios now with Bluetooth!

3 Speakers

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.DSC_1516

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.



More Fun at the Fringe

We are happy to be returning Edinburgh Fringe this year with Judy’s Vintage Fair.

Being held over the first weekend of the festival – 6th & 7th August – in the the uber cool ‘Out of the Blue & Drill Hall‘, the fair is a great way to start the festival with a bang. The Drill Hall in Dalmeny Street was built as a military drill hall in 1901 and between 2003 and 2010 was redeveloped to become the vibrant arts centre it is today. It also has a great cafe serving home-made fare using fair trade & organic produce.

Along with us there will be over 30 amazing stalls featuring vintage clothes, jewellery, homewares, furniture, lighting, record players and vinyl from 1920s to the 1980s! Should be a weekend packed with retro & vintage treasure.

The fair will be open 11am – 4pm, Saturday & Sunday. See our events page for all details on the fair.

Check out the Fringe site to book shows after you have finished all your essential retro shopping!