14 February 2012

An Ekco of Lost Style

Ekco, E(ric) K(irkham) Cole Ltd, manufacturer of radio and television sets, was founded in 1926. Its Bakelite cabinets were pressed by AEG, in Germany, but high import duties introduced in 1931 encouraged Ekco to invest in its own presses, under AEG control, at its Southend-on-Sea factory. To counter any notion that Bakelite cases were a poor substitute for wooden ones, Ekco had these designed by leading Art Deco and International Style architects.

These included Wells Coates (Isokon building, Hampstead) and Serge Chermayeff (De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea). The Ekco AC (alternating current) 85 of 1934 is said to have been designed in-house, but was either by, or heavily influenced by, Coates. It was available in mottled brown, as in this example, black and chromium, and a very rare ivory (just one known). Options were an AC/DC version (AD85), a battery version (B85) and a wooden stand. Art Deco radio at its best, enough to inspire extravagantly fast behaviour.


abijsmith said...

"By George old man"... although - she isn't looking at the radio set - she's enthusing at/over the framed painting. This reminds me of 'spot the ball' from the 1970's!

John Burke said...

I somehow remember "spot the ball" as being slightly different... Perhaps she is carried away by the first episode of The Archers?

YMGW said...

Sorry John, the first live pilot of The Archers wasn't broadcast until 29 May 1950. She's clearly a 1920s radio enthusiast!