Calling all Ultimate owners/aficionados (and everyone else!) Nov 29, 2018 15:11:11 GMT 12
Post by Steve on Nov 29, 2018 15:11:11 GMT 12
As some of you know, I've been working on a photo-catalogue of NZ radios over the last few years - which is currently in its second revision at www.vintageradio.co.nz
The job I'm currently doing is working through the early 30's Ultimates and trying to identify both model codes and chassis codes for those models. I know that the model code is generally the number of valves and the price in pounds (ie: the 522 is a 5-valve set costing £22 and some change), although this only holds true in Auckland as the further away from the factory you get the higher the price seems to be, which seems fair given they would have to be shipped.
I'm having to do some guessing at correct chassis codes for models based on schematics - particularly redrawn ones and I think Arthur Williams was largely to thank for some of these which include chassis and control layouts. Some I can get from John Stokes' listings in GAR and MGAR, but the rest is very much a time-consuming cross reference process, or just plain old guesswork. So, some homework for anyone who is interested and has the knowledge and/or the means, and/or the actual radios in their collection:
1. Could people who are willing to help out report back here (or email me directly through the site) with models and chassis codes (which are stamped letters at the start of the serial number as best I can make out from the few I've seen - I own no pre-'36 Ultimates myself, being an early Pacific collector, and Radio Corp NZ in general)
2. or, if the model is unknown could they provide a photo (or better again, photos) and a chassis code, which I can cross reference against advertising from the period to get the model number
3. Photos** would be great because most of what I have on the early sets is just line drawings from 1930's newspaper scans which are often only slightly legible.
4. Any other information about early Ultimates that might be useful in assembling this information
** the higher resolution the better, taken in indirect sunlight is great if possible, on a white background is even better but any old snap on a phone is better than no photo at all - at some point I intend to do a bit of a road-trip around the country with a good camera and a mobile 'studio' and visit some people with collections and get some photos but that might not be for a year yet.
- if you have rear photos, and even underside photos those are important as well (at least I find them invaluable - especially when trying to restore a badly got-at set - either by an uncaring serviceperson or an even more uncaring rodent).
I'm not just limited to accepting photos or information on Ultimate - but that is what I'm trying to concentrate on at the moment. I have a fairly extensive collection of photos of models - but mostly just what I have gathered from online auctions, old advertising and the like, so good quality photos of anything would be gratefully received.
I'm also in two minds about original photos vs. restored - where possible it would be great to either have just original photos, or both original and restored - at some point (and I'm guessing we are nearly there, if not already past it) people will forget what the original finish looked like on a particular set, and if all we have is photos of restored sets where, for example, the black sunbursting around the grill or along the edges has been replaced with clear polyurethane then the original finish is effectively lost and gone forever... but I would also be happy to showcase someones restoration if its a good tidy one, as that might enthuse someone to not just throw out a set they have. For example this Golden Knight (not mine) that popped up for sale recently, which definitely needed some love, but the rejuvenated finish is not the same as original - its nice to see both, but if you're a purist then you'd want to know how it looked originally so you could recreate it if you so desired.
As an interesting final side note - it seems that in 1932, 20% of all radios sold in NZ were Ultimates, with over 3100 radios being produced and sold that year (unclear if that is Ultimate, or all Radio Ltd brands though). Keith Wrigley had just opened a (very) small radio repair shop in Waihi that would soon become Akrad Radio Corporation, Radio Corp NZ was still just W. Marks and were barely out of the starting blocks and just making a few Courtenays, Dominon Radio and Electrical weren't even due to happen for another 7 years and I wasn't due to exist for nearly 40 years (and almost 40 more again before I was to show much interest in vintage radio).
Cheers in advance for any and all help