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On the bench - Ferranti 547

This stylish Ferranti 547 valve radio arrived recently. It makes a nice change to be working on something other than a Roberts radio!

It's not working, and internally it's already been hacked about quite a lot. Externally it's quite tired - so all in all, not economically viable to restore to its original working condition. Therefore it's going to become a rather nice Bluetooth speaker.

Noticing that it has a local retailer sticker on the back (Medlicott Brothers, Shrewsbury) I posted a photo onto a local interest Facebook group. One of the group members replied:

"I remember my Dad telling the story of the cursed Ferranti 547 that he rented to Powys Hall in the late 1950’s. After the big fire all that was left was the radio, not a mark on it. Refurbished and with a bit of Brasso to clean off the smoke marks it was then rented to Shelton hospital, again sadly the hospital burned down. To everyone’s surprise the radio was found in the wreckage almost better than when it was rented 3 years previously. Finally it was rented out again to the manager of Welshpool’s crematorium who used it to start the gas burners every day...... Until he took it home one Christmas only for his family to find his body burned better than his Turkey with the radio on his lap? Again the radio was immaculate without any damage. All of the Medlicotts staff, including Keith & George have always wondered where the cursed radio of death went? Then again the one you have it’s probably a different radio?"

What a great story! It's interesting that radios were so expensive that renting them was (presumably) common, and that they weren't simply thrown away after becoming damaged, as would be the case nowadays.

The plan with this radio is to isolate the existing radio internals, removing the mains power socket so it can't be powered up again, clean it up a little (being careful not to remove an more of the flaking paintwork), replace the damaged speaker driver, fit a bluetooth adaptor, replace the existing switched potentiometer for a new one, add an LED to illuminate the tuning guide panel, and add a low power (5 Watt) amplifier, with the stereo output from the Bluetooth adaptor being summed to mono. The knobs are in quite a sorry state but I don't want to clean them up too much, or change them, as they're unusual in that they're flanged which keeps them "captured" behind the facia.

Watch this space - it should appear on the products page soon enough!


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