01 August 2012


Founded in Toronto in 1908, Brandes formed a British subsidiary in 1924 that moved to its Foots Cray, Kent, manufacturing plant in 1928. The subsidiary became Kolster-Brandes Ltd when its parent merged with the Kolster Radio Corporation of Newark, New Jersey.

In 1930 KB supplied 40,000 two-valve sets to tobacco company Godfrey Phillips Ltd as a promotional give-away for their BDV (Best Dark Virginia) cigarettes - the coupons from 500 packets of ten got one a radio. KB later won the contract for the internal communications equipment on the RMS Queen Mary.

The four-valve KB BM20, pictured above, was introduced in 1947. The cabinet is formed of two identical halves that bolt together, and the radio can be found in a wide range of, often speckled, colours, in Bakelite and other plastics. This example has an almost lacquered finish.

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