Marconiphone and HMV products often used identical chassis and similar cabinets - although any link between the companies was officially denied!

In the 1950s HMV and Marconiphone were taken over by Thorn, who also owned the Ferguson and Ultra brands. From this time the products of all four companies were, not surprisingly, extremely similar.


Wavebands - LW, MW

Valves - U12, MKT4, AC/TP, VP4A

Date - 1931

Status - Contributed photo and description

Colin Carmichael kindly provided the photograph and the following description:

One of the most valuable sets in my collection and the oldest! The styling is unique and I find it very attractive.

The circuit is a 3 valve TRF and it gives reasonable results for this type of set. The sound quality is adequate but lacks bass. There is no shortage of volume! It is beautifully put together and weighs a ton.


Wavebands - LW, MW

Valves - VHT4, VP4A, TDD4, PX4, U12

Date - 1934

Status - Contributed photo and description

Colin Carmichael provided the photo and following description:

This gorgeous set must have been near top of the range in 1934, costing over �14. It is well equipped with a fluid light tuning indicator, 9 inch speaker (with plenty of oomph!!), "bass compensation effect" and a static suppression system.

Performance is superb for a set of this age, with excellent sound quality and sensitivity. Plenty of refinements too! The fluid light tuning indicator shows a rising column of light as the station is tuned in. As usual for Marconi, it is well made, reliable and well designed.


Wavebands - LW, MW, VHF

Transistors - unknown (ICs, probably)

Date - 1970s ?

Status - In my collection

I bought this set for a couple of pounds at the bring-and-buy stall at Wootton Bassett in July 2002, for around £5. It works from mains or batteries and was working on the stall. I actually intended to take it into work to use in the R&D lab, rather than as an addition to my collection, but I bought a box of trannies in the auction later which included the HMV 2185 and also something more modern and horrible which I took into work.

The 4153 looks like the baby brother to the HMV 2185 (they are both Thorn Group products), however looks is where the similarity ends. The 2185 is a really good sounding set, whereas the 4153 is a typical tinny trannie. The 2185 is made in the UK and the 4153 in the far east....


Wavebands - MW

Valves - X17, W17, ZD17, N17

Date - 1947

Status - Supplied photo and repaired for a customer

This set is electrically very similar to the P20B below, but built into a different shaped case. It is electrically identical to the Ever Ready Model B.

This photo was kindly supplied by Michael Lawrie. There are a number of photos of his these sets, which is in near mint condition with box, here.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - X17, W17, ZD17, N17

Date - 1948

Status - Repaired for a customer

This is one of the battery portables I was referring to. The set is very small - about 6" by 4" by 2.5" and uses a combined HT and LT battery. The speaker is only 2.5" in diameter and the output transformer is minute at about 1" cube, so the sound quality is nothing special. In particular it is lacking in bass.

The set contains four valves, an air-spaced tuning capacitor and the usual IF cans etc., and it is quite impressive that all this has been fitted into such a compact case while leaving room for the battery. The chassis is adequate for the job and the layout of the small components is not too tight.

The aerial is contained in the lid, which is conveniently positioned vertically when the lid is open. The set is switched on automatically when the lid is opened.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - X142, WD142, WD142, N142, U142

Date - 1949 ?

Status - Contributed photo and description

Richard Lamsdale kindly provided this nice photo and the following description:

It is cream-painted Bakelite (was Bakelite ever painted?) and I guess is from the early 1950's. The inside is accessed via a cardboard base (rubber feet attached to the cardboard base, so it has sagged over the years), and the whole chassis can then be dropped out of the bottom as one unit, including the chassis-mounted speaker.

It seems very well thought out inside, and is very compact compared to my Bush DAC90A's. It has a large dropper resistor mounted vertically, and the output transformer is mounted just behind the speaker. I'm not sure of the valves, as they are original one with Marconiphone stickers on them, but no recognisable numbers. It works quite well.

Yes - Bakelite was painted. It was quite common on late 40s and early 50s sets, because it was cheaper and easier than real coloured Bakelite Sometimes the whole case was painted, sometimes just the front (see the T37DA below). At this time the moulding of other plastics had not quite reached a stage where items of this size could be produced consistently and economically. Bakelite is also much better able to withstand the heat produced by the internal circuitry than the softer thermoplastics.

The Marconiphone service manual is dated 1949, so it is likely that the set was released the same year. The valve numbers are taken from this service manual.


Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - X142, W142, DH142, N142, U142

Date - 1954

Status - In my collection

This attractive little set is actually quite badly designed in a number of areas. Most of the valves are inaccessible with the back removed - the frame aerial and dropper resistor heat deflector are in the way! It is therefore necessary to remove the aerial to change two valves, and to remove the chassis from the cabinet to change another two.

The voltage selector is accessible through a cut-out in the bottom cover of the set. This is a jumper-plug type, and this arrangement is clearly not acceptable by today's electrical standards. The feet are also mounted on the bottom cover which, being a thick cardboard material, is not strong enough to take the weight and has buckled. I suspect this is an afterthought to improve ventilation, since the set would sit nicely on the Bakelite case without these feet.

Part of the loudspeaker grill was broken on my set, but fortunately the missing piece was rattling around between the grill and the loudspeaker cone. I have now glued it back into place with Superglue. The knobs were also wrong. I have now fitted some different, but still wrong, knobs which don't look so out of place.

The green coating on the dropper resistor has crumbled away, but the wire itself does not appear to be broken so the component may still be serviceable. To operate the waveband switch it is necessary to press the tuning knob inwards (except that's not possible with the incorrect knobs fitted...). This causes the shaft to engage with the switch shaft, allowing the switch to be turned by operating the knob.

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Last updated 14th April 2006.