Unknown 1940s HMV or Marconiphone

This "Recent Repair" was kindly contributed by Colin Carmichael.


This set came to me in good complete condition. The only problem was that there were a few cracks on the speaker grill. The grill on this set is very thin Bakelite and it is very fragile. The other problem was that the mains was applied via a small 2 pin connector which was missing! The chassis is inverted which makes an unusual change!

Electrical Repairs

Photo of SetThe first job was to disconnect the old socket at the back and connect the mains lead to the switch, making sure the live wire went to the switch as this set is AC/DC. I kept the old socket at the back of the set in case I ever come across a replacement. Fortunately there was a hole in the chassis that would accept the new mains lead and this was used.

The back panel was falling apart due to the heat from the dropper resistor, this was strengthened using bits of a back from a scrap set and at the same time I made a discrete hole for the mains lead. The dropper resistor in this set is another unusual feature of this set. It consists of about 8 lengths of coiled up resistance wire,they remind me of the elements in a fan heater or a hair dryer.

The chassis was in very good condition and it responded well to the usual cleaning. The wax-paper caps were leaky and were replaced. This was a fairly easy job, considering the up side down chassis!! The smoothing and reservoir caps tested fine. Now it was time to apply the mains!

At first the dropper resistor smoked a bit,this was to be expected as the set had probably not been used for years. After a few minutes the set came to life on short wave but medium wave was dead and the controls were crackling very badly. The crackles cured by cleaning the controls with contact cleaner and on close examination I found that a coil had a break near the end which was easily repaired. After this,the set worked very well with good sound quality.


The case was cleaned inside and out with the aid of a scrubbing brush, and warm soapy water. After this it was polished with bees wax, this gives Bakelite a lovely shine and I recommend using this but use it sparingly other wise you will end up with a greasy cabinet which is easily finger marked.

The cracks in the grill had been repaired very well in the past and were finished off with dark brown wax. They are very difficult to see now and the sets look splendid!! Overall, this was an easy restoration which has resulted in a great looking Bakelite set that works very well. I wish they were all as easy as this!

All I need now is for someone to identify the model number of the set, if anyone knows,then please send me an email: senga (at) greenhills.fsnet.co.uk

Text and Photograph Copyright © 2001 Colin Carmichael

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Last updated 14th April 2006.