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Some time ago...

Discussion in 'classic' started by Jim Audiomisc, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    sideshowbob and joel like this.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Excellent stuff! Are you going to do the stuff in the middle? They made some seriously nice looking and very well regarded valve power amps that are now highly prized and collectable, 1950s I guess. Exactly the sort of thing I’d like to stumble across at the local auction!
     
  3. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    My current "cunning plan" (TM) is to next cover the war and what Armstrong got up to then, followed by how they recovered their consumer market afterwards. i.e. the 1940s. Then at a later date the 1950s. Doing it in this order because the earlier times are a period which people know the least about.

    For me, the real snags have been a lack of access to *good* archive material. The ARH are impressive, but many of their scans are low quality *and omit the ads*. I now think the company started in 1926 but haven't found anything at all before 1933 as yet!

    Their 1940s sets are relevant because these do have model numbers and the domestic ones have Armstrong's name on them. So people interested in valve kit can identify remaining examples.
     
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Its all far further back than I have any reference material for so I’m unable to help. Really I start in 1958 with the introduction of stereo, but I’ve got some stuff from the early to mid 50s (Gramophone, incomplete set of HiFi Yearbooks etc). I actually had no idea Armstrong was around so early, it clearly predated Leak, Quad etc. Fascinating stuff and as ever history that really deserves writing up and preserving. You are doing a good job!
     
  5. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I have some issues of Wireless World from the late 1930s into the 1950s. But with gaps. Hence I was able to find some items to scan myself. Plus finding some from the MoC. But I haven't found any source of the printed issues which include every issue back to 1926. And the ARH site is frustrating because many issues lack the ads and/or are poor monochrome scans. I did join the BVWS in the hope a member or two of that might help. But they don't seem to communicate by means other than their quarterly 'Bulletin' journal. Which is a very slow and clumsy way to try and organise any co-operation. Amazed they don't even have an email list for members!

    A lot of the early Armstrong history is well below the horizon of people's awareness. During WW II they did war work which, for obvious reasons, didn't get into any magazines. So you have to read between the lines of what little appeared. e.g. When they were advertising during the war to *buy back sets they had made* from the public because the 'Government' wanted them. Couple that with the fact that one of their specialties was 'colonial' radios. i.e. ones built to work in very hot/cold/dry/wet conditions with a lousy supply of power from some odd source and low signal levels.

    I now kick myself I didn't ask more about these things when I chatted to Ron and Ted in the 1970s.
     
  6. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I used to work for McMichael, who had a similar story of wartime production.
     
  7. cjarchez

    cjarchez pfm Member

    I've only bumped a very few Armstrong products, all trade ins.
    In particular a 600 series receiver (no i can't the exact model) taken in as faulty against some budget kit.
    Our engineer fixed and refreshed it and we all thought it was far better than the new product purchased.
    I was unaware they had a history extending to war/pre-war.
    Let us know when the next installment is published.
    All good interesting stuff.
     
  8. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    If the RX had AM as well as FM it was a 626. If not, a 625. Essentially identical apart from the presence/absence of the AM tuner boards. The 600 is in my biassed opinion far better than many realise, and sold in large numbers, so there should be a few about cheap-as-chips. The later versions better than the early ones. Provided they are in good nick, the main limit is that they can't deliver sustained high output because the heatsinks are too small. Designed for the era when music had a high peak/mean ratio, not modern compressied-to-clipping pop. 8-]

    I hadn't realised until I found one of the ads that they went back to 1926! I'd though they started in 1932. But I've found no details at all so far of the time before 1933. Later on they made TVs as well for a while. *And* the signs are they exported these to the USA for a few years before selling them in the UK! Quite remarkable how many things they did which have largely been forgotten!
     
  9. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    My reaction is that it needs recording/collating/documenting to avoid the history being lost!
     
  10. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Much is lost, thanks to the chain of mergers that consolidated many premium consumer brands McMichael, Marconi, Radio and Allied Industries, Sobell and many others into GEC (Weinstock married Sobells daughter), before GEC abruptly vanished into a black hole.
    I remember Sobell coming in to the office well into his nineties.
     
  11. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    The problem is that documentation gets dumped or lost, and people don't realise someone involved needs to make some kind of record of what happened, etc... until it is far too late. I was lucky to some extent in that I realised whilst a few of the older people involved were still around that the history would 'evaporate' unless *someone* made an effort to record and publish it. But by then all the old works documents had gone and much had been forgotten.

    What annoys me is that academic historians seem to take zero interest in areas like UK manufacturing history of such items. Some museums collect kit. But no-one collects the memories, paperwork, etc, from the people involved. The result is that we end up with a few old adverts, pamphlets, etc, that don't reveal the details of how things were actually designed or made, or who did what.

    WW2 is a particular problem because the changes aren't shown clearly by normal adverts or magazine articles of the time. So once the people working there at the time have gone, who knows *what* they did as 'war work'?
     

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