Ferranti Nova

Although not one of the biggest names in radio, Ferranti certainly has claim to being one of the oldest. Ferranti was founded way back in 1882 by Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, although of course in those early days radio transmission was not yet  understood. However Ferranti was already researching into electrical and telegraphic properties, indeed the year 1885 saw him (and George Addenbrooke) granted a patent (No 14917) for improvements in telegraphy and telephony by use of transformers. Ferranti himself died in 1930, but by then the Ferranti company was already producing radio receivers. The picture right shows the book "The True Road To Radio", a volume first published in the late 1920's. This book explains all the main principles of radio reception including the various stages of a radio receiver, as well as examples of the calculations necessary to derive the data with which to construct components like transformers from first principles. With illustrations of receivers and components from Ferranti of those important years it now forms a valuable reference work, and is much sought after. 

The first Ferranti radio production works was at Stalybridge, and in 1935 the company moved to premises at Moston near  Manchester where they remained until 1956 (when the company was taken over). The receiver pictured left  is the Nova Consolette from 1936. This receiver is encased in a very distinctive bakelite cabinet, which has obvious similarities with the Chrysler building of New York pictured right, also built about the same time. The similarities are particularly evident in the ridged sides as they reach the top of the cabinet. The tuning scale is simulated Mother Of Pearl, and three of the knobs have chrome inserts resulting in a very stylish set with obvious Art Deco associations. The little window above the tuning scale is the Ferranti Magnascopic Tuning system, whereby the short wave wavelength was projected onto a translucent screen by use of lamps and mirrors. The distinctive cabinet, often referred to as the Ferranti "Jelly Mould", was to reappear after WWII as the model 145. By 1945 the cabinet was looking somewhat dated, and it is near certain that the cabinet style was only used again due to lingering wartime constraints. Nonetheless, like the pre-war Nova, the 145 is now very collectable, even though the 145 is a lot more common than the pre-war Nova.

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