Ferguson Radio started radio production in Chiswick London
in 1932. Although comparatively
late on the radio scene in the U.K. the name had been established in the U.S.A
in 1923. The company was taken over
by the Thorn group of companies in
1936, still retaining the Ferguson name. Thorn
was involved in production of a diverse range of electrical appliances and
spares, and radio production never seemed to gather much momentum before WWII.
As a result there are comparatively few Ferguson pre-war sets about.
The example shown is the Universal version of model 378 from 1936 and is a monster set
standing 22” high, 16” wide and 12” deep.
The model 378 Universal chassis is fitted within the same cabinet as the slightly
more common model 378 AC version. The model
378AC was an eight valve including rectifier receiver which cost 16 1/2 guineas, a
significant sum in 1936. I have been unable to find a price for the much rarer 11 valve (including
rectifiers & barretters) Universal version shown here, but it is safe to assume it would probably be
closer to £20. A console version was also available which featured a
12" loudspeaker and cost 22 guineas. The Daily Telegraph newspaper
was impressed when it reviewed the model, commenting "My first
impressions were of its great power and range. Under suitable conditions
there must be few sizeable short-wave stations in the world beyond its
A console version was also available which featured a 12" loudspeaker and cost 22 guineas. The Daily Telegraph newspaper was impressed when it reviewed the model, commenting "My first impressions were of its great power and range. Under suitable conditions there must be few sizeable short-wave stations in the world beyond its reach".
It features a pleasing fretwork speaker grille with aeroplane type tuning dial. As well as the volume, tone and wavelength selection controls, it also has dual speed concentrically mounted tuning knobs and a sensitivity control. The Universal receiver features 11 valves including two rectifiers (type 12Z3). The volume output is extremely loud, realistically more than might be required from a domestic wireless set, provided by two type 42 output valves operating in push-pull through a 10” speaker, delivering 8w undistorted class A power. I imagine this receiver would be more appropriate for a small hall, perhaps with extension speakers, or for a country house with large rooms, as it is very loud in operation. The valve range used in the receiver is the UX series, an American base configuration rather than British, perhaps reflecting the fact that the Ferguson company in 1936 was still heavily influenced by its American founder. In 1937 the company moved to larger purpose built premises on the A10 road at Enfield, and after WWII became a significant manufacturer of radio and television receivers. However it must be said that they never produced any particularly notable receivers after the war (with the possible exception of the two tone 203U from 1947). The Ferguson works was demolished in the 1990’s to make way for a retail park, and a large branch of Morrisons supermarket exists where once had been the main Ferguson road frontage position. Valve line up is 12Z3, 12Z3, 6D6, 6A7, 6D6, 75, 76, 42, 42, Bar, Bar.
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