Wireless thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Wireless

1932 (made), 1931 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This radio, or wireless as it would have been known when it was first made, combined new technology, materials and style. The Ekco Consolette number SH25 is an early example of a mass-produced mains table wireless, and was the first set to have the stations marked on the dial. The Art Deco case, designed by J. K. White, exploited the possibilities of Bakelite, a new plastic which enabled complex shapes to be moulded in high-speed industrial processes. The Art Deco style was popular for such small decorative household objects. Radio broadcasting had been made possible in the UK only in 1920, as a result of Marconi’s experimental radio station in Essex. Radio rapidly became a popular form of entertainment, following the founding of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), the widespread use of short-wave radio in the mid 1920s and an increase in the number of broadcasting stations throughout the country.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Compression-moulded phenol-formaldehyde ('Bakelite'), copper, woven fabric
Brief Description
Brown bakelite Art Deco wireless set with silhouette of trees on speaker, designed by J. K. White for Ekco Plastics Ltd., Britain, early 1930s
Physical Description
Brown phenol-formaldehyde ('Bakelite') wireless with a compression-moulded case and a circular dial in the centre. The dial has a circular panel in the middle with a metal panel of trees in silhouette against a fabric backing; the ring around is is printed with the names of radio stations.
Dimensions
  • Height: 45.5cm
  • Width: 41cm
  • Depth: 24.5cm
Style
Credit line
Given by E. K. Cole and Company
Object history
Given to the Museum in 1966 by Messrs E.K. Cole [66/1367].

Subject depicted
Summary
This radio, or wireless as it would have been known when it was first made, combined new technology, materials and style. The Ekco Consolette number SH25 is an early example of a mass-produced mains table wireless, and was the first set to have the stations marked on the dial. The Art Deco case, designed by J. K. White, exploited the possibilities of Bakelite, a new plastic which enabled complex shapes to be moulded in high-speed industrial processes. The Art Deco style was popular for such small decorative household objects. Radio broadcasting had been made possible in the UK only in 1920, as a result of Marconi’s experimental radio station in Essex. Radio rapidly became a popular form of entertainment, following the founding of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), the widespread use of short-wave radio in the mid 1920s and an increase in the number of broadcasting stations throughout the country.
Bibliographic References
  • p.99Hawes, Robert and Sassower, Gad. Bakelite Radios (Edison, New Jersey, 1996)
  • p.77Hawes, Robert, Radio Art (London, 1991)
  • Hogben, Carol, The Wireless Show!: 130 classic radio receivers, 1920s to 1950s, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1977
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.755-1966

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record createdDecember 13, 2006
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