Radio Rentals model 66

Serial number 17461

Radio Rentals model 66 This is a 5 valve (including rectifier) superhet radio AC mains operated 195- 250 volts 50 Hz covering the long and medium wavebands. Valve line up: ECH42, EF41, EBC41, EL41 and EZ40. There appears to be nothing particularly remarkable about the electronics. I like the simple lines of this little mains operates table top radio and the mechanical construction which has some interesting features which would help the service engineer.

Radio Rentals was a firm which British people would have been very familiar as the firm had showrooms on the High Streets of most towns.

The removal of two screws is all that is needed to remove the back cover and withdraw the chassis complete with knobs from the Bakelite case. The mains supply cable can be plugged into the rear of the chassis which is equipped with 3 pins of which only two are exposed depending upon the position of the voltage selector. The external loudspeaker socket is designed to accept a two pin plug which can be twisted to silence the internal speaker.

The chassis has an integral illuminated scale with with frequencies and check points marked. Unusually the variable tuning capacitor is mounted vertically, perhaps this would keep dust out off the vanes. The loudspeaker is connected via a 4 pin plug which mates with a socket on the top of the chassis.

Although the set worked well after lubricating the wave-change switch and the volume control with switch cleaner the chassis was rusty and dusty. This view shows the effect of using a single application of silver coloured "Goldfinger" rub on metallic paste manufactured by Daler Rowney on two patches of rust.

The underside of the chassis shown here, reveals that the components appear to be original and have been untouched since the day the radio was manufactured. The majority of the wiring is cotton/cloth insulated. The wires to the dial lamps were rubber insulated and perished and have now been replaced. I have not replaced anything else though perhaps an improvement in quality might result from some capacitor replacement.

The valves are all of Mullard manufacture. The glass scale and the plywood loudspeaker baffle board are held in place with spring clips which mate with projections on the interior of the Bakelite cabinet. Spare projections have been provided in case of breakage, a nice touch.

Radio Rentals Ltd was started by Percy Perring-Thoms a radio dealer in Brighton in August 1930 and by 1936 had become a Public Company with about 50,000 rental customers and by the firms Silver Jubilee in 1955 had over 280,000 radio subscribers. Their radios were made usually by E.K. Cole Ltd (who made "Ekco" radios) or Mains Radios and Gramophones Ltd, a Yorkshire firm, which it acquired in 1945. Radio Rentals was one of the first companies to concentrate on the rental of television sets after WW2 and Mains Radios and Gramophones started television manufacture in 1948. Radio Rentals Ltd ceased renting radios in 1965 to concentrate on televisions. See report of monopolies commission 1968

Mains Radios and Gramophones Ltd was established in 1929 had Works in Manchester Road Bradford. During WW2 the firm was one of those that manufactured the "utility" radio (U31) and changed its name to Baird Television Ltd in 1961 when Radio Rentals acquired the name from Hartley Baird Ltd. The Bradford factory, which by then was at Beckside Works, Lidget Green, Bradford closed in 1978. Information about Baird Television here