17 November 2013

Ekco & Animation

The Ekco AC86 was released in 1935, a year after the AC85 of which it was a restyle, the cabinet design undertaken by Serge Chermayeff. The set was available in both walnut (pictured) and black Bakelite, the latter with chromium detailing.

The AC86 could also be had in AC/DC (AD86), battery (B86) and export (SW86) versions. It is known to vintage radio enthusiasts as the 'Dougal'. When first bought, the set would have swallowed 13 guineas, about £820 in today's money, and three to four weeks' of the average wage of 1935. Quite how much LSD was ingested by the radio's namesake from The Magic Roundabout is not known.

The AW70 was released in 1939. It operated only on alternating current, but was available also in battery form (BAW71). By this point, immediately pre-war, Ekco was no longer producing black and chromium variants, although it did so again in 1945 with the A22.

The set's dial features the word "Aircraft" at 900 metres. A feature first introduced in 1934, this marked the frequency at which one could listen to traffic between airborne 'planes and the control tower at London Airport, Croydon, unthinkable in today's controlled world. It was presumably the AW70 that inspired the design of the alarm clock merchandise spin-off from Aardman Animations' 2000 film Chicken Run, being spirited away by Fetcher and Nick

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