THIS PAGE: Reviews of a
selection of new in print and recently out-of-print books and CDs of
interest to the vintage radio restorer/enthusiast. Looking for info on
magazines? Select 'magazines' on the above navigation panel. Interested
in finding out some of the history of Practical Wireless? Click on ''PW'
on the navigation. If you are looking to purchase
older used books on the
general subject of valve radio, click on 'OUT OF
PRINT' in the above navigation panel.
note: the items discussed on this
page are NOT supplied by Vintage Radio World
you would like to see a review of your publication featured here, please send a sample copy.
Expensive but large and packed with the details of radios from the very
earliest efforts through to the transistor era. Recommended without reservation
- it is worth every penny. Absolutely essential reading for every vintage radio
collector. Don't be without it.
by Sunrise Press. ISBN 0 9511448 71
Whisker - 50 years of wireless design
book by Jonathan Hill, detailing design points of a variety of types of radio
(crystal set, mains, transportable, battery etc) over the time period of the
title. Well illustrated with plenty of monochrome photographs.
Published by Oresko
Books, London but may be out of print or republished by others by now. My copy
is 20 years old! Worth finding.
905368 46 9
A life in Wireless
By Gerald Wells
Well known as the founder of
the Vintage Wireless Museum, the late Gerry Wells led a colourful and active life,
driven by his obsession for vintage radio. At first glance it might not seem that
such a life would make for interesting reading but make no mistake, this is one
of those rarities that, once you open its pages, you will be unable to close
them. It is by turns fascinating, funny, sad, but always well written and
totally absorbing. The only minor criticism I can make is that although the book
is well produced, the quality of the photographs leaves quite a lot to be
desired: but then the book is not about photos, rather it is about the life and
times of a unique character. Verdict, overall: quite
brilliant. Read it or miss out on something special.
Published by BVWS, free to
members and a bargain £6 to others. Check the BVWS website for ordering
great looking book, lots of superb photographs of vintage British and American
radios. My copy was purchased mint second-hand, via Barnes and Noble in America.
I could not find it in the UK, though it is rumoured to have been republished. Ask
for ISBN 1 872532 29 2. Itís published by the Green Wood Publishing Company of
author quoted. A useful though slim book in 'the Collector's Corner' series.
Some interesting material about the beginnings of radio though the odd factual
error creeps in ('An early transistor radio from just after the second world
war' is in fact a late fifties/early sixties receiver complete with miniature
transformer and ferrite rod aerial). No information on repair or restoration and
only a little on collecting. Still, good for the USA and continental coverage,
with pictures of some unusual designs. Worth looking out for.
Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84013-293-0
The above book has been published in an expanded form and with a larger format
under the same title, listing the author as Robert Hawes and the publisher as
Eagle Editions. ISBN 1-86160-523-4. Many fine photographs but the error
mentioned above still exists. Unless, of course, you consider that the later
1950s is 'just after the war'. An additional section not included in the smaller
book is entitled 'A short history of the radio cabinet'. Well worth a read, the
pictures remain the best thing about the book.
Patrick Cook and Catherine Slessor
large-format book has a number of impressive colour plates of Bakelite radio and
TV from the golden years among the large variety of Bakelite objet d'art, including some American models. The text is
informative but is, typically for these types of book, it comes second to the very
attractive illustrations. Well worth a look.
Books Ltd. ISBN 1-86160-212-X
Comprehensive Radio Valve
Guides (books 1 to 5)
by Radio Bygones from the original Bernards publications of the 1950s. See 'Radio
Bygones' magazine (near the top of this page) for address.
the time of writing, these guides are £3.45 each inc. p&p in UK. and can be purchased by post
from Radio Bygones, along with many other useful books and CD-ROMs.
out about the movements that inspired the design of radio cabinets during the
valve era. This book, covering as it does the whole of the century in which
radio itself played such a major part, is by its nature very wide ranging but it
does mention the famous names and trends. Well presented, though it can be
difficult to navigate. For example, look for 'streamlining' in the index. You
won't find it, but it's there, scattered through the famous names such as Loewy.
A good read, then, but not easy if you want to make quick references.
by Quantum Books, London. ISBN
of 20th Century Design and Designers
up 'streamlining' and 'streamform' and you'll have no trouble finding them in
this very useful dictionary-style book. Well worth having, with very readable
text and good basic monochrome illustrations. No pretensions to great
coffee-table looks, but full of solid facts and information at a reasonable
by Thames and Hudson.
Antony Kamm and Malcolm Baird
£25, this big (465 pages) book is unlikely to become an instant best seller but
if the price is not an important consideration, the subject matter
should be as Baird has come to be thought of in the public imagination as a
slightly potty old-fashioned inventor who spent his life working on a hopeless
cause, namely mechanical television.
this misconception has come about is a complex matter which this book attempts
to correct. It is extremely well researched with all sources exhaustively
defined. It is also, and this is a pleasant surprise for such a text, very well
written; the text flows easily and smoothly. I found it hard to put down. The mass of company
through the central section of the book can become hard going, though frankly
how else and how better such material could have been treated is an open
question. Here then is the John L. Baird life story in its apparent entirety,
from the earliest experiments through to his large screen colour and
stereoscopic television: the biography of a brilliant but
badly-treated man of great character, driven by his inventive genius (I
do not use the word 'genius' lightly) in his quest for television perfection. Had he been an American citizen, his name would now be revered throughout the
world, much as is the name of Edison.
very minor point of criticism: photographs
are not the strong point of this book. The half-tone illustrations do not really
inform the text and are of a
somewhat uninvolving nature, together with a few line diagrams that
paint very broad strokes - no technical detail. I understand that Baird was not
one to put his ideas down on paper and in any case it is fair to say that the book
concentrates on Baird the man rather than his inventions and developments,
though of course to a great extent the two are one.
This is an
important book and therefore highly recommended,
then, as a very good read if you are interested as I am in an amazing personal story of
intrigue, jealousy and underhand dealing, very little of which was Baird's, in
truth. Anyone who watched the TV program based on this book would find
the biography compelling. I am personally delighted that this very fine biography has
become available and I trust it will go some way toward redressing the balance
of opinion regarding this remarkable and inventive man.
NMS Publishing, ISBN 1 901663 76 0. £25. Obtainable from Radio Bygones
bookshelf. See above for address.
on this link:
for a brief appreciation of Baird's life and work.
Keith Geddes and Gordon Bussey
book chronicles the development of the British Radio and Television industry and
as such, it is a fascinating read, with the stories behind many famous makes.
Inevitably, it is more about the business and the boardroom politics than about
the technical aspects, though these are by no means neglected. One slight
criticism is that, for my eyesight at any rate, the font size chosen is rather small and
takes up a vertical column on each page which is only two-thirds the page width.
It could have been increased to fill the space without incurring any additional
pages - but then, I suppose, the layout designer would have felt the attractiveness
of the layout would have been compromised.
illustrated with lots of period material, some in colour. Highly recommended!
Buying a copy proved to be tricky. I could not find it on the usual web sites,
nor in the high street shops and although it possesses an ISBN, the same sources
could not help with ordering, either. Maybe I was unlucky. If so, I hope you
have better luck. The copy I read for this brief review was very kindly loaned
to me by a friend.
by BREMA. 0 9517042 0 6.
J CAMM The Practical Man
Gordon G. Cullingham
an oddity. Mr Camm was, of course, the man behind Practical Wireless, Practical
Television and a host of other publications. He was a truly prolific writer and
produced many books on a range of subjects as well as his radio books.
is a biography which sticks to the facts - the late Gordon Cullingham was the
honorary archivist of the Royal Borough of Windsor, where FJ and his brother,
Sir Sidney Camm (the designer of the Hawker Hurricane of WWII fame) were born
believe a biography of FJ Camm has been long overdue and in that respect this is
a welcome publication but, in
all fairness, it is not an easy read. Far too often, dry facts are repeated
almost verbatim, as though a whole stage of editing has been missed out. By the
time I reached the end I felt that I knew little more about the man himself than when
I opened the book. Of course, I knew where he had lived and worked, about the
fact that he was a workaholic, about the fact that he was a heavy smoker and
that he died probably as a result of this - but who WAS he? What was he REALLY
like? Where were the anecdotes from his many colleagues? Still, having said
that, it is to my knowledge, the only record, therefore an important one, about an
unusual, skilled and amazingly versatile man and deserves to be read as such.
recently re-read this book, I was struck by just how broadly skilled Camm was.
His graphic ability was first rate, too. I think someone should make a biopic of
his life for cinema or TV. For a potted biography of FJ CAMM, click
0 9528448 0 X
book has now been reprinted in the form of a limited edition and is obtainable
from booksellers including Amazon, or direct from
PO Box 422, Windsor SL4 3UJ.
RADIO CIRCUIT DATA
Paul Stenning, these CD ROMs contain many hundreds of service sheets and
circuit diagrams. All volumes hold a wide range of equipment with ages spread
right across the vintage spectrum of the early thirties to the early sixties.
Mostly valve-based, as you would expect, but also on offer is data for a range
of early transistor equipment. Covering a very wide range of makes, the material
is presented as high-definition files in the easily accessible 'Acrobat' PDF
format and can be enlarged considerably without significant loss of quality. I
feel these CDs would be of interest to serious vintage radio enthusiasts and to
anyone with an interest in the technical history and development of radio.
may be offers for combined purchases - see website.
A truly excellent product at a very reasonable price.
more details, or to order any of these products, visit Paul's site on:
CDs are also available from Radio Bygones magazine.
is a review of Paul Stenning's excellent web site and forum on the links and sources page.