For the first 30 years or so of public broadcasting, wireless sets were an expensive item to buy. Often costing a working man several weeks wages even for a basic set, people looked at other means of "listening in". One option was for people to build their own sets, but by the mid 1930's the industry was producing sets of a quality that most amateur constructors could not equal. Radio Rentals saw this as an opportunity to provide a service by renting out sets for a fixed weekly cost. The sets were maintained by Radio Rentals field technicians so the listener would not get any unwelcome repair bills as he might have done had he purchased the set outright. Renting also meant the listener could upgrade the set as new developments became available, and it must be remembered that during the 1930's new facilities were being offered on almost a yearly basis.
Radio Rentals commenced operations in 1930 and at first offered standard models from the Ekco range as rental receivers, but once they realised that this could form the basis of a sustainable business and rental contracts grew they started having sets manufactured especially for them. Ekco built many of these sets, and the designs were certainly very similar to Ekco models of the time, but with slightly differing cabinets. The model 694 is a four valve plus rectifier set made in about 1936, and provides for reception on medium and long wave only. This set has something of a curious chassis design. The picture left shows a view from the top, where it can be noted all five valves are squeezed into one corner of the chassis. It is not obvious to be why this may have been done, as it must have made the original assembly of the set harder, and yet there is plenty of unused spare space elsewhere on the chassis. Valve line-up is FC13C, 9A1, 10D1, 7D6, IW4/350
Continue to the Radio Rentals model 797
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