08 August 2013

Ekco - Rounds Three & Four

Taking full advantage of the plastic properties of Bakelite, Ekco introduced in 1934 the first round radio, the AD65. The cabinet of this was largely designed (two years earlier) by the ex-patriate Canadian architect Wells Coates, famous for his Isokon building, Hampstead - the Lawn Road Flats in which lived Agatha Christie. Coates was interested in circular motifs, at the time to the fore in the drum-shaped London Underground stations of Charles Holden, best seen in Arnos Grove and Southgate, on the Piccadilly Line.

Over the next eleven years, Ekco brought out another four round designs. The AC76 (left) was released in 1935, and sold for eleven guineas. A black and chromium version was £12.1s.6d. An AC/DC version was available as the AD76, and a wooden stand, rather like a stool, could be bought for £1.5s.0d.

The AD75 (right) was released in January 1940, its rather plainer design and smaller diameter, 14 instead of 15½ inches, a reflection perhaps of wartime economies. It sold for seven guineas. The set was re-released in October 1946, now four guineas more, and can be distinguished from the 1940 version pictured by an on/off switch to the side of the cabinet.

Note: Ekco's ADs ran on both alternating and direct current, whilst their ACs ran on alternating current only.

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