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MARCONI TRANSISTOR RADIOS


by Aldo Andreani

(First issue July 2, 2001; last revision March 9, 2013)

Guglielmo Marconi (Nobel Laureate for Physics in 1909) is almost worldwide considered the inventor of wireless telegraphy and radio. He was born in Bologna (April 25, 1874) to an Italian father (Giuseppe) and Irish mother (Annie Jameson). When he died in Rome (July 20, 1937), he was given the unique tribute of a two-minute silence by all radio stations throughout the world.
Since the first transistor radio is dated 1954, it is clear that Marconi didn't know the transistor age, however I saw several transistor radios with the brand Marconi. This made me curious and I begun a series of searches. In particular I was interested to know who had title to use the name of Marconi in the production of transistor radios and which models have been produced totally.


In England

The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company became Marconi Company near the end of the 19th century. A Department of this Society (Marconiphone) produced domestic equipments from 1920 and was sold to the HMV in 1929. The HMV became part of Columbia Gramophone Company that acquired therefore the right to use the Marconiphone brand and the logo G.Marconi


The Gramophone Company became EMI from 1931 to 1956 and then became part of the THORN group. Therefore all the production between 1929 and 1979 has nothing to do with the Marconi Company. In 1979 the Marconi Company bought back the marks Marconiphone and G.Marconi.

In Canada

The Marconi English Company generated in Canada the Wireless Telegraph Company that became Canadian Marconi Company at the beginning of '900.



Thanks to an agreement stipulated in 1954 with the Emerson Radio Export Corporation of New York, CMC acquired the right to use the Emerson licences to produce and to sell in Canada receivers with the brand Emerson. I didn't find trace of any agreement with Toshiba probably because Marconi/Toshiba sets were produced directly in Japan.

In France

I didn't make any search in France but I saw a radio made in Singapore. The model is XP 702.  



It is probable that, given the dissemination of marks EMI and THORN, what happened in France happened in other Countries too.

Conclusion

Marconi remains associated to his companies in the entire arc of his life even if in a measure smaller and smaller. What happened after his death is a mystery. For sure at the beginning of the transistor age (second half of the 50's) more than one Company was authorized to use the name of Marconi for its products.


The radios

Unfortunately I didn't find any catalog. The following document was supplied by a Canadian laboratory that had stopped its activity. It is a booklet



which reports the circuit diagrams of the models 2000-2007, pertaining to the Toshiba period. I wish to point out that Marconi 2001



is identical to the Toshiba 6P-10 reported on the book by Mose' (1) at page 225 and also on the book by  Marty (2) page 277, on that by David (3) page 111 and on that by Norman (4) page 110.

The following 2002 model belongs to Bob Airhart (bairhart@telus.net):



The following radios (2000, 2003, 2006, 2007) belong to Tino (10): the model 2003 corresponds to Toshiba 7TP-440LO reported at page 225 (1). 

Marconi 2000


Marconi 2003



Marconi 2006




Marconi 2007




Marconi 2007
with its rare packing box (from Bob Airhart)



Trancel is a brand owned by Toshiba and Trancel 6L-400 corresponds to Marconi 2007.
The following pictures were saved from an Ebay auction:

Trancel 6L-400





The following radios (2004, 2005) belong to Richard (11). The model 2004 correspond to Toshiba 7TH-486-S (12) whereas 2005 corresponds to 8TL-463S as you may see at the addresses

http://www.m151a2.jp/audio/big28.html
http://www.m151a2.jp/audio/kokusan.html


Marconi 2004 


Marconi 2005


The previous collaboration with Emerson previewed that the CMC produced and sold in Canada radios marked Emerson. But in this period CMC must have produced also radios with the brand Marconi instead of Emerson. The most famous is the Marconi 488, absent in all the catalogues I know, but identical the Emerson 888 Pioneer, reported at page 50 (1), 85 (2), 42 (3) and 26 (4).




This Marconi 489 Constellation belongs to Bob Airhart (bairhart@telus.net) and is identical to the Emerson Satellite 888



To the Emerson period belongs the Marconi 455 too. It is almost identical to the Emerson 555 reported at page 49 (1), 82 (2), 40 (3).





The Marconi 588 should belong to this same period but I didn't find the corresponding Emerson model. According to Eddy Clément (eddy.clement@sympatico.ca) who owns this model in four different kinds of wood, this was an original CMC project produced in Montreal (around 1957) in less than 1000 pieces.





Beyond the series reported on the above booklet, should belong to the Toshiba period the following models:

Marconi 450 corresponding to Toshiba 6TP-357


reported at page 279 (2), 112 (3), 115 (4) and at page 9 of the book by Eric (5). This radio is known also with the Penney's brand 6TP-408 shown at page 79 (3).

Marconi 451 corresponding to Toshiba 8TM-373S




In the following 1962 leaflet, five models have different names:
451 = Windsor
2003 = Royalmont
2004 = Triumph
2005 = Regency
2006 = Imperial







Marconi 2010




Marconi 2011
(6)






Marconi 2012
corresponds to Toshiba 9TL-489R
http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/toshiba_9tl_489r.html
which, in turn, is similar to Toshiba 9TL-365SA
http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/toshiba_9tl_365sa9tl365s.html




Marconi 2013
(7) corresponds to Toshiba 8M-210S reported at page 12 (5)




Marconi 2014
: this radio belongs to Joe (9) and corresponds to Toshiba 8L-420R reported at page 13 (5)




Marconi 2100
: this radio belongs to Nick (12) who told me that it corresponds to Toshiba 62VT95




Marconi 2101




Marconi 2102




Marconi 2105




Marconi 2106


corresponding to Toshiba 8TP-686F reported at page 113 (3) and 13 (5). This radio may also be found as Philco NT-814BKG as confirmed by Nick (12).


Marconi 2108



I saw few sets from UK (Marconiphone):

G.Marconi 4114 (showing inside the stamp 4AUG1964)




G.Marconi 4173




I saw the model T82B for auction on July 2002. It was described with the max. dimension of cm 27 and working with a couple of 6V batteries





This is the model 4104




From Eric Wrobbel, July 2005: "This attractive 4104 model is very similar to the Philco T66. I am curious about this and wish I had one of these Marconiphones to examine up close. I can tell you from the picture that the chassis are different, as the Marconiphone is obviously powered by 9 volts while the Philco takes a pair of penlite batteries for a total of 3 volts. This radio is perhaps the result of a relationship similar to the CMC/Emerson arrangement mentioned above. While curious about the origin of this Marconiphone, I can say with certainty that the Philco T66 is US-made and is featured in my book American Shirt-Pocket Transistor Radios http://www.ericwrobbel.com/"

 

References and acknowledgements(HTTP and email addresses valid in July 2001)
1) Antique Radio, Transistor Radios: guida pratica per chi acquista e per chi vende, Mosè Edizioni, first edition, 1999.
2) Marty and Sue Bunis, Collector's Guide to Transistor Radios, Collector Books, second edition, 1996.
3) David R. Lane & Robert A. Lane, Transistor Radios. A Collector’s Encyclopedia and Price Guide, Wallace-Homestead, 1994.
4) Norman Smith, Transistor Radios 1954-1968, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1998
5) Eric Wrobbel, Collectible transistor radios from Toshiba and Trancel, 1995 http://www.ericwrobbel.com
6) Photos taken from eBay http://www.ebay.com/
According to Andreas (8) it correspondes to Trancel (another Toshiba brand) T-11
7) These photos come from Alan Kastner (wallah@gol.com
http://tabiwallah.com/radiowallah/)
8) Andreas Kay (heike@nbnet.nb.ca)
9) Joe Burtinsky, Toronto, Canada (jburtinsky@front.net)
10) Tino Zottola, Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada (zottola@yahoo.com)
11) Richard Smith, Peachland B.C., Canada (oksmiths@silk.net)
12) Nick Bruyer (njbruyer@msn.com) http://www.dreamradios.com/

I wish to thank:
- Louise Weymouth, Company Archivist, Marconi plc UK louise.weymouth@marconi.com
http://www.marconi.com
- Judith Tulloch, Historian, Parks Canada, Judith_Tulloch@pch.gc.ca
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/
- Greg Burge BurgeG@emigroup.com
http://www.cmcelectronics.ca/
- Mary Thomson (CMC) Mary.Thomson@baesystems-canada.com. Since April 11, 2001 the address is Mary.Thomson@cmcelectronics.ca
- Helen P. Graves Smith (hgraves_smith@technomuses.ca) Canada Science and Technology Museum http://www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca/
- Len Hohner, Eyebrow, SK, Canada, for helpful discussion





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