Most of the Ferguson sets I have seen were fairly cheaply made. I think they were an economy brand, trying to produce sets similar to those made by Bush, Philips and Ekco, but at a more affordable price. And overall I think they succeeded, because many of their sets are quite attractive, and tend to be reliable.


Wavebands - SW, MW, LW

Valves - UCH42, UAF42, UL41, UY41

Date - mid 1950s ?

Status - Repaired for a customer

This set is definitely an exception to my comments above. Although it has a simple, low cost circuit it gives surprisingly good performance on all bands (from my experience many sets don't do much on SW).

This is particularly surprising, considering that the set is a short superhet (in other words, it has no audio amplifier stage between the detector and the output valve). I understand the UAF42 valve was specifically designed for use in this application however, which could explain why the set works so well.

This set was a repair job for a customer - and I would like to get hold of one for myself! Incidentally the only repairs needed were a new mains suppresser capacitor, dial lamp and plug fuse! All other caps - including the normally troublesome waxed paper variety - were in excellent condition.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - OC44, OC45, OC45, OC81D, OC81, OC81

Date - 1960

Status - No longer in my collection (sold at Autumn 2001 NVCF)

Another from the lot of six trannies I bought from an auction for about £8 - just over a quid each! The most interesting think about this set is the tuning scale which is marked out from both sides. This allows the scale to be readable with the set laying on its back in a car glovebox. A car aerial socket is provided for this purpose.

The set operates from two PP1 6V batteries in series, with the centre-tap connected to the speaker. Since these batteries are no longer available, I will probably fit two holders to take four AA size batteries each.

The set is in generally good condition, although the handle is loose. It works fairly well, but with a significant amount of colouration to the sound (it sounds like it's playing through a plastic tube). Replacing the electrolytic capacitors in the audio amplifier negative feedback circuit and decoupling will probably sort this out.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - UCH81, UBF80, UCL83, Metal Rectifier

Date - late 1950s ?

Status - Repaired for a customer

This is a cheap-and-cheerful set, produced in the late-50s and probably intended for use in the kitchen or bedroom. The UCL83 triode-pentode was probably the smallest mains output valve Mullard produced, providing a maximum output of 2.5W, but this is more than adequate for the intended purpose.

The large knob on the front is the tuning dial, and the wavechange switch and volume control are mounted on either side with recessed knobs. The tuning know looks like it should have had a brass trim cap.

It works well, although the set I repaired sounded much better with the output valve cathode bypass capacitor removed to give a bit of negative feedback.

The repair of this set is detailed in the Recent Repairs section of this website.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - UCH81, UBF80, UCL83, UY85

Date - late 1950s ?

Status - In my collection

I repaired one of these attractive burgundy and cream painted Bakelite sets for a customer a few years ago. I had been on the lookout for one for some time, when I found this one listed on the Wireless Works website. It was in as-found condition - complete but untested.

The colour is more red than it appears in the photo. Full details of the repair and restoration are in the Recent Repairs section.


Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - UCC85, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UY85, UM80

Date - 1956

Status - Repaired one for a customer

By comparison to other manufacturer's sets of similar style, I think the Ferguson is too thin and flat looking. The cabinet and trim is cheaply made, and does not survive the years too well. The sound quality is nothing special either.

The main problem with this set is mechanical rather than electrical. The waveband knob is coupled to the switch by means of a small nylon gear wheel, and this will almost inevitably be broken. I have not found a way around this one - for the set I repaired I managed to find a brass gear from something else that could be modified.

This photo was supplied by Tim Pullin. Details of his repair of a 382U is in the Recent Repairs section.


Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - UCC85, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UM80, Metal Rectifier

Date - late 1950s ?

Status - No longer in my collection

This set was made in a modified version of the 382U cabinet. This has an extra piece fitted to the lower front of the cabinet that contains the piano-key switches and edge-adjusted volume and tone controls. The two knobs on the tuning scale are used for MW/LW tuning and VHF tuning. I think the whole effect is rather messy, and the extra bit on the front looks like the afterthought it is. Clearly, they had a load of 382U cabinets left over and decided to adapt them for this set.

I have seen several of these sets however, so they must have sold well. They were probably much cheaper than similar style sets of other makes. They seem to be reliable (apart from the usual capacitors), which could also explain why so many are still around. Even the metal rectifiers do not seem to give any trouble - surprisingly!

Details of Tim Pullin's restoration of a 384U are in the Recent Repairs section..


Wavebands - MW, LW, SW

Valves - ECH81, EBF80, PCF80, EL84, EL84, EZ80

Date - 1955

Status - Contributed photos and description

Thanks to Make Allard for the photos and the following information:

When it was purchased from a car boot fair, it was sold in two parts, The cabinet was on the table, and the 'innards' were all mixed up in a box of junk. Fortunately, all of the parts were recovered and rebuilt and the lid required a complete stripping and re-lacquering.

I have had no problems with this set, and it still has the wax-paper capacitors fitted. The only trouble I did have originally was to get the EBF80 valve as it was missing. This was not used in too many sets so not easily 'borrowed' from any of my others, and doesn't seem to have many equivalents.

The sound output is excellent, and the 2 EL84's in push-pull deliver somewhere around 6 watts RMS.


Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - UCC85, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UY85

Date - 1959

Status - Repaired for a customer (left) and in my collection (right)

This is one of the nicest Ferguson sets I have seen. There is also a Marconiphone version with a horizontal tuning scale (I cannot remember the model number). It works well and sounds good.

It is built on a PCB, and the output transformer is mounted on the speaker frame. The usual problems are open-circuit wirewound resistors, capacitors (as always!) and arcing on the waveband switch. Fortunately, removing the switch and cleaning it thoroughly with WD40 and an old toothbrush seems to cure this one.

I managed to fine one of these to buy, at last, in the auction at the Winter 2001 Wootton Bassett swapmeet (right photo). Although I still think the grey colour is nicer, a black one is better than nothing. I might paint it grey...

It was sold in the same lot as a Philips set, and the Philips was clearly the star of the lot, being in better condition and complete, but not of interest to me. The Ferguson is missing its back. I stopped bidding at a fiver and someone else got the two for £6. After the auction I spoke to the successful bidder and found out that he was only after the Philips. I agreed to buy the Ferguson from him for £3, so we were both happy.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - AF127, AF127, AF127, OC81DM, OC81, AC127

Date - 1962

Status - In my collection

My partner bought me this set for a Christmas present (2003) on eBay. I hope he didn't pay too much for it because it is in a poor state.

The innards are loose with wires disconnected, the silver case trim is coming off, the handle is missing as is the screw which holds the back in place. I have not yet tested it, but since it uses AF127 transistors in the IF/RF stages and has a transformerless audio stage, it will probably work well when everything is reconnected. It uses a PP6 battery which is unavailable now, so a PP3 and a piece of foam will do instead.

3308 "Minigram"

Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - UCH81, UBF89, UCL83, UCL83, UY85

Date - 1963-64 ?

Status - Contributed photo and repair details

Details of Nigel Hughes' repair of a Minigram are in the Recent Repairs section.

Note the similar speaker grille design (round holes with brass trim) as the 3110 transistor portable above.

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No part of this website may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from Paul Stenning.
All details are believed to be accurate, but no liability can be accepted for any errors.
The types of equipment discussed on this website may contain high voltages and/or operate at high temperatures.
Appropriate precautions must always be taken to minimise the risk of accidents.

Last updated 14th April 2006.