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 Post subject: Obscure early battery sets
PostPosted: Sep Sat 12, 2009 11:36 pm 
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Posts: 1237
Location: Townsend, Ma.
Due to succes of the Superhet thread in which you guys showed us some great stuff, I am starting this one in order to show some rare early stuff from my collection and hopefully yours. I am always looking for company history and correspondance with owners of similar sets. I plan to post 3 or 4 a week. Join me! I haven't researched this one as yet.
This is a one tube set made (or marketed) by N.R.Briggs Electric Co. Boston, MA
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Last edited by Merrill Bancroft on Sep Sun 13, 2009 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 13, 2009 2:41 am 
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Location: Pocasset, Cape Cod, MA
I'd like to know more about a "Peco" circa 1925. It's not accessable for a photo at present, but uses an untuned-RF circuit somewhat like the Operadio, and its cabinet is covered in embossed black leatherette.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 13, 2009 5:50 am 
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I have some things that would fit this thread well, unfortunately they won't be available to photograph anytime soon.

But the panel and cabinet of that Briggs set look like they were made by R. Mitchell (See-Ar-Dee brand), also of Boston. It's the way the panel is drilled and engraved, and to a lesser extent, the way the cabinet is made. That's a hint about which set of yours I'd like to see here next for comparison, Merrill.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 13, 2009 6:16 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
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Location: British Columbia
I know what you are trying to seek, and I hope you succeed, but as Mr. Douglas can attest there were so many start up and fly by night companies set up in the early to mid 1920s that we may never find out who all of them were. It seems almost as though every man and their dog was starting up a radio company in their basement or garage, in some cases they may have built a dozen radios and then quit when they realized that there was more to making and selling a decent radio then bending a few wires. Most seem to have been made with standard circuit designs and proprietary parts, almost like better finished home brews, some were worse.
Best Regards
Arran


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 13, 2009 9:12 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Townsend, Ma.
It DOES remind one of a SE-AR-DE. I don't beleive there is a connection but I could be wrong. I will put a couple SE-AR-DE sets on here eventually which were a kit, as they all were, but these were very nicely constructed by the same person from the cape (not Alan). I have 1922 and 1923 SE-AE-DE catalogs which show a lot of stuff but nothing close to the Briggs except for the peepholes configuration.
Its time to make a trip to the Boston Public Library I guess and do a newspaper search. My collecting motto is "If it is in a price book, its too common".
Maybe I should have been a detective.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 13, 2009 12:20 pm 
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Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
The superhet thread was great, and I hope this one brings some obscure sets out of dusty hiding places. This Solex is one of only two battery sets that I own.

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cheers

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 13, 2009 8:36 pm 
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Location: Northport wa. USA.
I have a one tube radio with a Chelsea/Armstrong tag inside. The panel has no markings.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 4:12 am 
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Location: Pocasset, Cape Cod, MA
Wasn't Solex in New York City?

I think Chelsea sets often had few or no markings. That's a company that should have been in my books, but I couldn't find out enough about it to write anything useful. I don't remember if I've ever seen an ad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 5:15 am 
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Location: British Columbia
John Bartley wrote:
The superhet thread was great, and I hope this one brings some obscure sets out of dusty hiding places. This Solex is one of only two battery sets that I own.

Image

Image

cheers

John


I wonder if the "Solex" was a bootleg copy of a Northern Electric? Given the "Peanut" tube one would think that it was a Canadian set. There was a set out West that was a N.E ripoff called a "Voice of the Prairies" built by an outfit called W.W Grant of Calgary, they lasted about a year or two before being taken to court and then shutting down.
Speaking of which I wonder why the name"Solex" was so popular for so many unrelated items? There was "Solex" tinted glass put out by PPG. A "Velosolex" motorized bicycle/moped built by the millions in France and now other countries. There was also a brand name of carburetor called a "Solex" used in many British and French cars, no relation to the motorized bicycle manufacturer. Then there is your little radio tuner emblazoned with a very official looking etched brass plaque, which was obviously intended to be ganged together with other related components judging by the two sets of terminals.
Best Regards
Arran


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Location: Townsend, Ma.
Jim Berg wrote:
I have a one tube radio with a Chelsea/Armstrong tag inside. The panel has no markings.


Jim:
Could we see a picture of it? I have some early Chelsea catalogs and might be able to pin down a model no.
Merrill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 1:21 pm 
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Merrill,

Do you have a one tube "Mortimer" in your collection? If yes, could you post a picture or two?

Dale


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 1:43 pm 
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Location: Townsend, Ma.
Is that a Melco Dale?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Quote:
Is that a Melco Dale?


Yes, or at least the Mortimer Co. became Melco.

.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Location: Townsend, Ma.
Dale
Can we see a picture?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 28, 2008 2:49 pm
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Location: Phoenix, AZ 85085
This is an interesting thread. Great radio Merrill. I also have a Solex identical to the one in this thread so they made at least two.

This set pictured below I would say justifies as obscure. It is a Wireless Appliance Type 102.

I have never seen any info on this set or another one like it. Appears to be late 1920 early 1921


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Unfortunately someone added a trimmer variable capaciter to the set.

Cheers,
Alan


Last edited by bigalarsen on Sep Mon 14, 2009 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1237
Location: Townsend, Ma.
I suppose it was conceivable that Solex was produced or marketed by a Radio Row establishment. I am always suspicious when sets bear the name New York City. At any rate, I have never seen an ad for one that I know of.
My then new wife and I rode Solex motor bikes on our honeymoon in Bermuda in 1969 but I doubt there was any connection there. I wasn't even thinking about radios on that trip anyway!.
By the way we need to keep our pictures down to about 600 pixels on the longer side to fit well here. Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 14, 2009 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 28, 2008 2:49 pm
Posts: 737
Location: Phoenix, AZ 85085
Merrill,

I don't think your Briggs set was related to Se-Ar-De. Other than the tube viewing holes there aren't any other similarities.

Here is some pictures of my Se-Ar-de

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Image
Image

Cheers,
Alan


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Tue 15, 2009 12:33 am 
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Posts: 4989
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Merrill,

I don't know if or not this is a Mortimer, Possibly/probably its just a Mortimer look-a-like. All I can tell you is the front
looks a lot like the Mortimer shown in advertising pictures. Some on the Forum have already seen some or most of the
pictures I'm posting.

This set was found about fifteen years ago, by a friend when visiting the Brimfield Flea Market. The poor old thing looked
as if it had spent most of the last couple of decades at the bottom of a farm pond.

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When I looked at the back it got worse, only part of the components were still attached; nothing was left of the
vario-coupler but the shaft, knob, and a skeleton metal frame:

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I wasn't even sure I wanted to mess with restoring the beastie - - - it looked a bit like a homebrew but what did remain of
it showed good, probably "factory" workmanship. Two or thee years later I happened to notice the set's similarity
to a tiny drawing of a Mortimer in an advertisement reproduced in vol. II of Alan Douglas' "Radio
Manufacturers Of The 1920's."



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Enlarging the tiny drawing produced a better idea of what a Mortimer looked like:


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I then compared the receiver to the the blowup of the advertisement:


ImageImage


Pretty darned close I thought; the only significant differences being an extra binding post on the lower right side of the
panel's front face, different placement of the rheostat, and some differences in where the panel screws seemed to be
located. Intigued anew, I went ahead with the restoration.

I fabricated a variometer from the remains of the original and stuff scrounged from the junk box. The thin sheet of copper
or bronze, originally glued to the back of the panel was in tatters so a replacement was fabricated from sheet brass shim
stock. Most of the other bits were either already at hand and could be reclaimed, or could be fairly easily deduced and
fabricated.


The cleaned up Mortimer (or whatever it is) looks like this now:


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Image

So - - I don't know if or not the set is a Mortimer, a factory set that looks like a Mortimer, or just a better-than-average
home brew single tube receiver. My uncertainty is why I asked if you or anyone might have pictures of an original Mortimer
receiver.

.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Tue 15, 2009 1:30 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2129
Location: Campbellford, Ontario, Canada.
Here are a couple that I have.

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This is a Pearson 5, made in Toronto about 1925. It came with the olive drab front panel and had been brush painted black over the walnut case, hinges and all. It has been restored to the unpainted colour inside the case.

Image

This one is a Beverly (medallion on the front panel), other than that no other markings. The knobs are Splitdorf.

Ed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Tue 15, 2009 2:04 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1237
Location: Townsend, Ma.
Here is a one tube radio made by The A. W. Bowman Co. of Cambridge, MA in 1923. They also made a crystal set, a detector and an amplifier to match this set. The tube protrudes from the top and the front panel has to be removed for acess. A little company history follows the photos.
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[This is the text of a letter received from the son of A.W. Bowman, dated March 3, 2003. Mr. Bowman's son is 87 years old at the time.]
My Dad was a Die & Stamp; Tool maker as a young man and worked for the Mason & Hamlin piano company. He saw opportunity in the growing technology of Radio and decided to set up his own business. With only meager capitol he set up shop in an old barn on the property of the home he rented in Lexington, MA. The exact date I do not recall but it had to be either 1912 or 1913. At first he concentrated on components for radio reception equipment only and did obtain several patents. I can still see him, assisted by Mom, making fixed capacitors from melted paraffin wax and other materials at the kitchen table. The project grew and in time he rented space for a small factory in Cambridge, MA. Here he manufactured crystal sets, two types of telegraph keys, the heavy marble base spark key and a lighter model; oval metal base with a shorting bar. His last product was the old familiar five tube (201-A) hetrodyne, battery operated receivers. The plant was open half day on Saturdays and may Dad would take me with him when he went to work. I had my first indoctrination into Radio watching the men putting together and wiring the Broadcast Band receivers. Also the Plating area of the plant where the key components were chrome plated intrigued me no end. When the 1929 depression hit things went down hill. Unable to collect on outstanding invoices from many of his customers the cash flow ceased. He put a great deal of his personal moneys into an attempt to save the business and keep his 14 employees on the payroll. This went on for a few months and as the situation showed no signs of improving in the near future he accepted the advice from his lawyer and closed the plant.


Last edited by Merrill Bancroft on Sep Tue 15, 2009 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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