Radio Accumulators

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Thread Topic: Radio Accumulators
Topic Originator: Mike Laughton
Post Date November 4, 2015 @ 10:02 AM
 Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
  Radio Accumulators
 Radio Accumulators
  Radio Accumulators
 Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 Radio Accumulators
  Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators
 RE: Radio Accumulators

Mike Laughton
November 4, 2015 @ 10:02 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Does anyone else remember the old radios (wirelesses) that use to run on accumulators? This was in the days before electric and battery operated radios. (The 1940s and early 50s)
One of my weekly errands as a small boy way to take the wireless accumulator to Harrison and Dunn to get it charged up.
The accumulator was  rather like a large square shaped glass bottle with a handle on the top for carrying it. Inside were the components that made the wireless work surrounded in acid. I think the radio had two accumulators. It ran on one while the other was being charged. The accumulator had to be charged every week.
The old fashioned wireless would also have an aerial to pick up the radio signal. The aerial was a very long wire that stretched across the room and outside the house.
Many homes would still have been using an accumulator driven wireless up until the mid 1950s.

Richard Campbell
November 5, 2015 @ 9:15 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

My Grand Parents lived in Gloucester Rd and only had gas. Grand Dad used to get his accumulator charged at Frisby's I believe.
I can remember the gas lights and the requirement to always have spare mantles. Electricity became available in the mid 50s and my Father wired the house as he was an electician so no more accumulators.
Grand Dad always used to ensure that he had a new accumulator so that he could listen to the football results on Saturday teatime to check his pool coupon.
Can see it all now  including the soot marks on the ceiling over the gas lamps.

Mike Ireson
November 7, 2015 @ 5:18 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Hello Mike, you are right about people having two accumumlators. I worked for Ted Frisby in St Johns street from 1954 -1956 and one of the last jobs on Saturday afternoon was to connect up the Accumulators for charging, topping them up were necessary. Some types were known as dry accumulators were sealed. I think they still needed topping up with distilled water from time to time. The wet types needed their specific gravity checking.  The customers I think were charged 6d per charge.
Hope this helps

Mike Ireson
November 7, 2015 @ 5:25 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Forgot to mention in my reply that each accumulator had the customers name painted on it.

November 8, 2015 @ 2:20 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I can remember taking our accumulators up a load of wooden steps in Hallidays Yard, and didn't Mister Newton do some kind of collection in his car?

Betty Haddon
April 11, 2016 @ 7:12 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I remember taking an accumulator to be charged, were they heavy ? I took it down on the old pram to Dennings in Broad Street I think. Around 1953-4  I reckon, the old pram was used to fetch a sack of coke on occasion too !

John Tyers
April 12, 2016 @ 1:59 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Before my dad invested in an electric HMV radio we had a Cosser battery set and would get our batteries charged up for 6d by Alf, Mr Hawley's assistant and fount of all knowledge. It was my Saturday chore but I did'nt mind as it gave me the chance to peruse wistfully, the Hornby trains and new bikes. Besides the "wet" battery, there was also the Grid Bias and the large, heavy High Tension. When the latter went on the blink, it was a major crisis as even then they cost a quid to replace.  What a revolution when we had the new HMV complete with Short Wave by which I tried to tune in exotic foreign stations; just my luck when a couple of valves blew when I was listening in and got the blame for it!  Happily Claypoles from whence the set was purchased, replaced them free of charge.

P Verard
July 28, 2016 @ 12:07 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I've just had a conversation with my 92-year old aunt about accumulator radios.  I'm 81 and was a child during the war and thought I remembered taking something called an accumulator battery to be recharged at the local garage in London.  My aunt has no recollection of this and I thought I must have invented it.  So pleased that others have similar memories.

leigh gulliver
November 27, 2016 @ 5:58 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

My maternal grandfather had a very small lock up 'accumulator shop' shop somewhere around Mitcham in the 1940's and 1950's, where he would recharge and then deliver them back to their owners on a bike with a trolley sidecar.

Does anyone remember any such shop?

John banks
December 2, 2016 @ 4:49 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Hi ,in the 50 we  had wireless run from an accumulater ,
a Mr Blyth from Hawes would come every Friday
Night and change it .My sisters and l would  get cross
because he all ways came when Lost in space was on.
One of our favouritesite. No TV. In those days.

David Wells
June 23, 2017 @ 9:35 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

As with your other comments I used to take the glass accumulator to Burts Garage on the corner of Station Road, Totton every 3 or 4 days. Mr. Burt would exchange it for a freshly charged one at a cost of 3d.  I had to be very careful not to splash any of the electrolyte onto my trousers or skin.  The sulphuric acid would burn holes on my clothes and leave nasty blotches on my hands and arms.  The " good old days"

October 2, 2017 @ 2:18 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Oh! yes Acumulators. Grandad needed to hear the news. I must have been all of 5 or 6 years old. My duty at the weekends was to ride Aunt Dora's bike standing on the pedals with one accumulator on each handlebar. Pollards were the only place in our village where they could be recharged, they were a good mile and a half from the house. I went willingly as I got 1d. for the task.

Richard Campbell
October 18, 2017 @ 10:39 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

You could go to Frisbys electric shop and buy a crystal and cats wisker and make a crystal set which did not need accumulators.
Mr Frisby had two Scott motorcycles on display in his shop.

John Tyers
October 23, 2017 @ 8:28 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Was it not also Mr Ted Hayes who seemed to be a fount of all radio, TV and electrical knowledge also in the shop?

Bill Stephenson
March 14, 2018 @ 7:41 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I remember helping my mother carry the accumulator to Parks Garage on Norham Road in Percy Main, Northumberland during the 1940s. It was a walk of well over a mile. The wireless was an essential piece of equipment so that my father and I could listen to sporting events. I remember listening to Test matches from Australia,football scores on "Sports Report" on Saturdays, and boxing from the USA (where I have lived since 1978).

John Pollard
March 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I remember, in the early 1950s, the electrical shop with the name "Newton and Gentle" over the door.  It was in Scotgate on the South West side, next door (or very close to) Ron Good's Newsagents.  I am certain that I once (at least) took a 2 volt "low tension" accumulator down from where we lived in Orchard Road for a recharge.  One of the proprietors was lame with a built up shoe: I have recollections of him riding his bicycle (mounting and dismounting was a bit of a struggle) with - if memory serves - freshly charged accumulators to return to customers.

They also sold the expensive (16 shillings or so) "high tension" battery with its tappings for various voltages up to about 200 or so.  This would have been a major budget item for people without a mains set.   The battery sets (portables) also needed a 9 volt grid-bias battery - a bit bigger than the current big boxes of household matches - which lasted virtually for ever.

I can't remember the shop selling anything but the batteries. I suppose that we were not alone in buying our own accumulator charger so trade probably tailed off. I guess the shop had disappeared by the early 60s.

John Pollard
March 20, 2018 @ 1:55 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

It must have been around 1948 that some evenings Dad went to a meeting just off the Lowes and Cobbolds Lane/ Passage. The tall brewery chimney was there then, and at the very top was a television "H" aerial which, even at its considerable height, was noticeably bigger than subsequent ones erected locally.  This was because it pointed to - and was tuned for - the only operational BBC TV transmitter at the time: Alexandra Palace.  The aerial elements over 10 feet long were nearly 3 feet longer than what was subsequently required for Sutton Coldfield reception.

Other attenders at that meeting included Ted Hayes and "George" who worked at Fancourt's garage in St. Pauls Street.  I should imagine that Peter Fancourt also attended. The project that attracted Dad was the building of a television receiver based on ex WW2 radar sets.

Actually many such were built, but not all dependent on receiving signals from over ninety miles.  So it was a real pioneering effort.

This may be too much information but the picture tube (some may remember them) was ex-radar, probably with a green "black and white" picture.  What magic!

Sutton Coldfield went "live" in September 1949.  I think a second aerial was erected on the brewery chimney to receive the new service.  At any rate there was an aerial up there for a long time afterwards.

We were one of Ted Hayes' first customers for a TV set in early 1951.

John Tyers
April 13, 2018 @ 8:21 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

"George" who kept the books at Fancourts was Mr Coleman who lived in Conduit Road.  A very knowledgeable gentleman who coached me in maths at which I was pretty much of a duffer at Stamford School.  One evening he took me down to the Toc H in Castle Street where they were building a TV set.  I remember Colonel Pollard down there and Mr Ted Hayes among others at the time.  Whether the sets they tinkered with ever worked I know not.

Peter Fancourt
April 22, 2018 @ 11:48 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I read your post with interest, particularly the reference to 'George' who worked for my father at Fancourt's Garage (initially for my father, later for me). His full name was George Coleman and he lived at 37 Conduit Road. He had a keen interest in electronics and a very sharp mind; I learnt a lot from him, quite often when we were in the office and supposed to be working on garage business! He was also one of my oldest friends and I miss him still.
I did not attend the meeting that you mentioned but knew all the people you named quite well.
Happy days!