Decca Radio Model 55

Shown above is the Decca Universal 55, which cost £9.9.0 in 1937.  This receiver is a 4 valve plus rectifier plus barretter receiver suitable for use on AC or DC mains.  The receiver is very compact, particularly for a pre-war set.  The front of the  set is completely utilised by the rather attractive elliptical tuning scale, which is protected by domed glass.  As a consequence the speaker is at the right hand side of the set.  The receiver is covered in figured rexine, and as well as the black version shown, it was also available in blue and maroon.  The set features long, medium and short wave reception, as well as a gram pick-up, rather surprising for a portable receiver.  However the reason for this becomes clearer when it is realised that the same chassis was used in the model 66 receiver from Decca.  This was an upright table receiver that appeared in a veneered Walnut cabinet, again with the oval tuning scale.  Although neither the 55 or 66 are common, I have seen more of the 55ís over the years, so it presumably sold better than the table version of the set.  Buyers must have been keen for the option of portability as the portable was only about 10% cheaper than the Walnut veneered table receiver.   

When operated on AC mains HT current is provided by the UR1C rectifier, when operated on DC mains current is regulated by the C1 barretter.  The remaining valves have their heaterís wired in series.  There is also a 15w 240v lamp to illuminate the tuning scale, so as might be imagined there is a lot of heat being generated inside the cabinet. Although the sides and rear of the cabinet are made from thick fibre mesh, it is said that many of the receivers succumbed to fire due to excessive heat build-up inside the cabinet.  Valve line-up is TH2320, VP13C, 10D1, 7D6, UR1C, C1 Barretter. The Decca company first traded in 1928, but never really made an impact in radio production before the war, though of course they did rather better with their gramophones and records. Pre-war Decca receivers rarely turn up these days, and because of the vulnerability of these particularly desirable sets (either from damage to the exposed glass elliptical tuning scale, or fire risk from overheating) they generally command a premium nowadays.

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