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 Replica radios - their place in collections
 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 10:59 on 31 August 2008.
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
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Replica valve radios have been commonplace for a very long time now, typically about twenty years. They have been available for this length of time in department stores such as Big W, Harvey Norman and Grace Bros.

More often than not they take the shape of the gothic cathedral radios of the early 1930s and are equipped with AM and FM radio plus either a cassette or disc player on the side. At the bottom they sometimes have a gimmicky brass plate with names such as "Collector's Edition" which I, as a collector of valve radios, believe could not be further from the truth.

I have written an article about the recent wave of replica radios that have hit auction websites over the last two years or so. These are not the type we've seen in the shops but imitation Bakelite receiver cabinets with either genuine 1930s or 1940s valve chassis installed or a transistorised chassis imported from a production line in China.

As I mention in the article, whilst I can understand why people want to produce replica radios they certainly are not for me and I have made a pledge never to add one to my collection, for reasons I outline in the article.

What do you think? Do you feel the love for a cheaper copy or is only the genuine thing good enough? Please read the article and have your say in this thread.

Link: Replica radios.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 21:43 on 11 June 2009.
ZScan's Gravatar
 Location: Toongabbie, NSW.
 Member since 11 June 2009.
 Member #: 501
 Postcount: 6

Firstly, Id just like to comment on what a wonderful site this is. Secondly, the Safety Articles are excellent. Good to see some people out there have their head screwed on. This is my first post to this forum, and I appreciate the opportunity to do so.


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You can call a cow a chicken, but do not expect it to lay eggs for your breakfast.......

 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 17:38 on 25 June 2014.
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 Location: Central Coast, NSW.
 Member since 18 April 2014.
 Member #: 1554
 Postcount: 215

HUmm
Actually I didnt realise it was that big but sure I thought people would be trying to replicate them

I have nothing against that in its self, just so long as its sold or resold as such and ideally marked as such on Chassis and case in an indelible way..

So very true there will be those that through, ignorance or pure dishonesty will resell as originals.. Ignorance I can forgive but dishonesty ..Burn them at the stake

sadly as time goes on and they become harder to find originals & thus more expensive as demand increases, so I think there is a place for replicas

So too, many of the older beaten up ones will need to be partly at the lest restored from replica parts

So that clouds the issue even further for originality

Howe much of a Radio must be original before you can call it original?

To my way of thinking 2/3 of each, most of the chassis and case

I guess a chassis with a fully replicated case deserves the title "Rebuilt" original not replica
(Edit and I mean those made in the Day and sold in the Day, that time has taken its toll on)

But not the title of "Original" unless it is an original case, a re-case
I still think then if known a full disclose of the Radio is necessary to whom ever buys it..if known

Maybe the HRSA needs to define clarifications for restored Radios since a lot will be rebuild in one form or another..

Electrically there is not much you can do but service rebuild from new components
This for, in as much standards and todays safety reasons..aside from getting it functionally Working

I guess to safe Guard all, sites like this that can by their existence and information along with Photos, help safe guard the community as to what defines a truly original Radio and what (hopefully) defines the replica's

I think in time they will have there own place in History but lets make it their place as to what once was

I actually had thoughts on building valve radios but if in my wildest dreams that was ever to come true it would be as a homage to them & the Golden Age crafted in the here and now

So they would be distinctly different.... a reflection of the past
But made for today

Thanks for the interesting read Brad

Cheers Smile


 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 04:20 on 28 March 2016.
ZScan's Gravatar
 Location: Williamsburg, US.
 Member since 28 March 2016.
 Member #: 1896
 Postcount: 1

I think that replica radios have a place ,but only to call attention to the fine craft of radio manufacture of the past. When the Grundig mid 50's replicas entered the market ( I'm not sure about OZ but they were for sale many places in the states) people had an awareness of how excellent the post war German receivers were.

However they were pretty much poor quality Chinese copies. The RF sections were very weak and sound only fair. Its hard to copy many coats of hand rubbed lacquer!

The Crosley brand (originated in my hometown of Cincinnati,OHIO ,USA) are retro in looks but barely modern in performance. The catlin plastic FADA radios have been copied and give an access point to a deco piece, and at the same time offer FM and some cases a CD player that make them more user friendly .

I have enjoyed your site !


 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 19:56 on 28 March 2016.
's avatar
 Location: Latham, ACT.
 Member since 21 February 2015.
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 Postcount: 815

Every electrical item at one stage or another needs repairing which sometimes means installing newer components. Even reproduced dials and the cotton covered 3 core power cords should not effect its originality as these are relevent to keeping the radio operational. Reproduction cabinets are a no no to me unless they are upto the standards set so many decades ago, this is the only area where I would be adamant about the product. CD players and FM where it has never been are just not to my liking.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 11:58 on 30 March 2016.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
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This replica is a hybrid of integrated circuits with valve output:

http://www.tesslor-usa.com/r601/


 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 13:12 on 30 March 2016.
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW.
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I am sure these are a 'copy' of the AWA 500 Series Radiolette though I seem to remember it saying somewhere that this set is based on a different receiver. That said, it's hard to ignore the similarities between this and the Radiolettes of the late 1940s.

I like how they said 'hand-finished' in the item's description. I saw one once and they appear to be made of moulded craftwood (MDF), with perhaps a light sand before painting with a spray gun on the production line being the hand-finishing they refer to.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 10:47 on 7 April 2016.
's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 16 January 2008.
 Member #: 219
 Postcount: 38

The ultimate replica radio:

http://archive.siliconchip.com.au/cms/A_109837/article.html

(Note: This is the "archived" version of the page, however it shows you more of the article and if you click on the link below you can access the photo gallery, which is not available on the "current" version)

http://archive.siliconchip.com.au/cms/gallery/article.html?a=109837&i=2

I wrote this article back in 2007, although I must point out that what Silicon Chip actually published doesn't bear all that much resemblance to what I actually wrote! They paid me well so I shouldn't complain, but if you see a technological "howler" in an otherwise well-written article, don't automatically assume the author was responsible!

Everybody I've shown this radio to seemed to think the home-made cabinet was the best feature, so why SC referred to it as the "Cabinet" is beyond me.

Main differences:

º My original title was: "The 2008 All-Australian Three" because that was the naming convention magazines used in the old days eg "1956 Countryman Five"

º There were two versions of the original circuit; one used a 60VA multi-tap transformer, a standard 6V heater line and a tripler to produce the HT, the other (the one actually published) used a separate 24V AC plugpack, series heaters and a voltage quadrupler for the HT.

º The original purpose of the article was more to demonstrate how you could still build valve equipment using readily available modern parts and materials; it wasn't specifically an article on how to build a radio.

º The bit where "I" said the "Super" in Superheterodyne means "above" is a commonly quoted and quite incorrect explanation that wasn't part of the original text. (Superheterodyne is actually a contraction of "Supersonic Heterodyne"; it is annoying to say the least have crap like that added to an article with my name as the author!)


 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 14:56 on 7 April 2016.
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Sub-editors do have a habit of changing things to suit themselves.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 15:12 on 7 April 2016.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
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it is annoying to say the least have crap like that added to an article with my name as the author!)

Editors should check with authors before making material changes to any submitted work, and that includes removing stuff to reduce the word count.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 15:17 on 7 April 2016.
's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 28 January 2011.
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3821

I am sure these are a 'copy' of the AWA 500 Series Radiolette

Certainly a homage to that model, but wasn't the AWA model's cabinet based on a USA design?

The Tesslor's internals are a hybrid of IC and valve technology.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 16:07 on 7 April 2016.
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW.
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Certainly a homage to that model, but wasn't the AWA model's cabinet based on a USA design?

The R29s were similar to the Air Kings of the same period but I don't know any radio similar to the 500s. You could be right though, there's probably dozens of American radios I haven't seen.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 13:10 on 9 April 2016.
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 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 16 January 2008.
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.GTC
"Editors should check with authors before making material changes to any submitted work, and that includes removing stuff to reduce the word count. "

Yep, and for the three articles of mine they published, they sent me a PDF of the proposed article, and I carefully made a list of all the errors, which was completely ignored in all three cases!

The most annoying example was my 2005 article on the first atomic bombs. To me, the most interesting part was the sheer amount of sophisticated electronics they used, particularly in the Fat Man bomb. But that was almost completely deleted; for an Electronics magazine! Plus the fact that there were actually three bomb designs: Little Boy, Thin Man and Fat Man. Thin Man was a plutonium "Gun" type weapon similar to Little Boy, but the design was abandoned when they realised it would to be so long and heavy that no aircraft would be able to carry it. OK not a show-stopper, but it's an interesting sidelight that rarely gets mentioned.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 15:44 on 9 April 2016.
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I watched a documentary on YouTube the other night that explained how the B29 that carried Little Boy to Hiroshima was prone to crashing when attempting to take off so the bomb was carried in an unarmed state until the plane was in the air. About two hours away from Japan a couple of blokes went in and placed the cordite charges inside the bomb, pulled the safeties out and replaced them with metal pins that completed an electrical circuit, all of which made the bomb ready to let go when the time came.

Details such as this have been missing from the other couple of docos I've watched in the past on the same subject. It makes me wonder if there are inaccuracies and hidden facts in just about every doco I've ever watched.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 15:58 on 9 April 2016.
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 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW.
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It makes me wonder if there are inaccuracies and hidden facts in just about every doco I've ever watched.

I think you can bank on that.

Documentarians, like historians, inevitably spin a story to suit their view of history whether they realise it or not. Add to that the limitation of time and resources allocated to film makers and you can imagine what never gets included in the first place, or that gets left on the cutting room floor, as the old saying goes. On top of all of that, there's the unreliable memories of people who are interviewed, few of whom ever have personal diaries, etc, to reinforce their version of events.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 16 · Written at 13:10 on 10 April 2016.
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 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 16 January 2008.
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.Brad
"About two hours away from Japan a couple of blokes went in and placed the cordite charges inside the bomb, pulled the safeties out and replaced them with metal pins that completed an electrical circuit, all of which made the bomb ready to let go when the time came."
Oddly enough, that part did get left in my article. The reality was, the Little Boy bomb was a ludicrously unsafe weapon. Anything that could have accidentally set off the cordite charge (fire, vehicle accident or attack via conventional explosives) could have produced a full-yield nuclear explosion. If it fell into the sea, the water could acted as a "moderator" for the highly enriched uranium, producing a blast of gamma rays that would have killed everybody nearby.

Ironically the more powerful Fat Man bomb was a lot safer since it required 32 TNT shaped charges (about 2,500kg) to go off within 10 nanoseconds of each other, an incredible achievement for 1945.

Another thing they left out is the details of the neutron initiator assembly, without which a plutonium bomb simply won't explode! Basically I wanted to show that an atomic bomb is a vastly more complex device than the average science textbook suggests, but no we have to dumb it down at all costs....

SC also left out the information that the atomic bombing schedule was originally three attacks 10 days apart: Hiroshima on August 1, Kokura Arsenal on August 11 and Nagasaki on August 21, to give the Japanese government time to "reconsider". However bad weather fouled up the schedule. On the August 9 Fat Man run they couldn't find Kokura because of heavy clouds and were running low on fuel. Since they had to dump the bomb somewhere if they were going to make it back they took a rough guess at where they thought Nagasaki was and managed to score a direct hit on the Mitsubishi Arms manufacturing plant.

Another thing they left out was that the original estimation of the yield of the Fat Man type bombs was 6 kilotons. The yield of the original "Gadget" test is estimated to be about 21 kilotons, but they don't know for sure, because a lot of the measuring equipment was overloaded or destroyed! Not a lot of OH&S went on in those days Smile


 Return to top of page · Post #: 17 · Written at 13:25 on 10 April 2016.
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 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 16 January 2008.
 Member #: 219
 Postcount: 38

.GTC

"Documentarians, like historians, inevitably spin a story to suit their view of history whether they realise it or not"

Google News search has a function that lets you scan through old newspapers right back to the 1700s!
When you go to to the trouble of digging out news items WRITTEN AT THE TIME, you will nearly always find details that have been progressively glossed over or forgotten entirely. Most people's "research" is just basically re-packaging other people's "research".

It's like the common statement that "People used to believe the world was flat". Actually, nobody ever believed that, (if they thought about it all). That notion first appeared in a pamphlet published in the early 1800s by the writer Washington Irving, in his largely fictionalized account of the voyages of Christopher Columbus. It's been widely repeated as fact ever since then, but it's completely untrue.

The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes actually calculated the circumference of the earth, reckoned to be with an accuracy of about 5%, around 2,500 years ago!


 Return to top of page · Post #: 18 · Written at 18:24 on 10 April 2016.
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 Location: Toowoomba, QLD.
 Member since 1 December 2015.
 Member #: 1834
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"The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes actually calculated the circumference of the earth, reckoned to be with an accuracy of about 5%, around 2,500 years ago! "

I've found it interesting that in the Bible ~ 3000 years ago, the phrase 'as far as the East is from the West' is used and no similar reference to North and South which wouldn't be infinite.
Ps 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 19 · Written at 18:38 on 10 April 2016.
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW.
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The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes actually calculated the circumference of the earth, reckoned to be with an accuracy of about 5%, around 2,500 years ago!

If only he spread that news to the Spaniards and Portuguese during their takeover of South America. I think the Spaniards sailed one way, the Portuguese sailed the other and then believed for a time that they each hit different dirt until they started climbing mountains and met in the middle.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...


 Return to top of page · Post #: 20 · Written at 20:30 on 10 April 2016.
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 Location: Sydney, NSW.
 Member since 16 January 2008.
 Member #: 219
 Postcount: 38

"the Portuguese sailed the other"
Would have been one hell of a hike, since there weren't no Suez canal in those days!

Remember that with the primitive navigation equipment of the time they didn't really know where they were. Columbus originally thought he'd landed in some remote part of India, which is why the natives are still called "Indians". Anyway, he apparently never hit the mainland, only one of the Carribean islands.


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