Thursday, November 13, 2008

The 1930's Battery Radio

The Phillips 1934 Battery Radio Set.

Having touched on the new church organ of the 1930’s. My thoughts go back to my early school days, which finished then at 4:00 p.m. In the afternoon, my thoughts turn back the autumn and winter months, when one hurried home to a nice warm log fire and tea. Because at 5:00 p.m. on the radio was “Children’s Hour”. Yes that was the time of day when all childish activity came to a halt, and silence reigned supreme.

In this section I am going to cover the radio itself, as it was far more complicated to use than the transistor frequency modulated unit that you carry in your pocket and are available today.

First of all, not every home was equipped with electricity, and others like the farm workers cottages at White Place Farm cooked and lighted their homes with paraffin, and “Valor” paraffin stove for heat. I guess we were fortunate to have mains gas and water at Widbrook. So that left those without electricity the problem of how to power a radio set.

The Six Volt Lead-Acid Battery.
The power that was required had to come in three distinct voltages of direct current from a battery source. This meant three separate batteries, the first being the six-volt lead-acid accumulator to power the cathode heaters in the valves. The next was a much smaller nine-volt electrolytic dry-cell battery to supply the valve grid-bias voltage. The third and final battery was known as the “High Tension Battery” which was again a dry-cell one hundred and twenty volt direct current battery, which supplied the required valve plate voltage.

The High Tension and Grid Bias Batteries.

The two electrolytic batteries lasted quite a while; it was the accumulator that had to be charged every week at the local garage in the village for the big charge of six pence per charge. We had three of these batteries, so that we always had one ready when the one in use ran down. This was my job every Saturday morning to take one battery in to be charged and pick up a charged one.

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