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PAM 710- Britain’s 1st Transistor Radio

Throughout the 20th Century few inventions had as much long-term impact on the communication and technology sectors as the transistor. Invented by Bell Labs in the US in Dec 1947, its arrival eventually saw the wholescale transition away from cumbersome glass valves, kick-started printed cardboard circuit boards, and helped the miniaturization of our everyday tech. […]

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Cold War Espionage & the 1950s Minifon Wire Recorder

Back in the 1950s and 60s no self-respecting Spy Agency would leave home without their trusted Minifon wire-recorder. Indeed while the Cold War was in full swing, these little devices had the somewhat unique kudos of being used (probably simultaneously) by the CIA, FBI, KGB and Stasi among others. At only 7 inches long and […]

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The CB Radio Craze

(as featured in West Country Life- June 2018) Mention ‘CB Radio’ to most people and they will instantly mime holding a mic and spew phrases like ‘breaker-breaker-9’, ‘big 10-4 rubber duck’ in a bad US accent or even start singing the theme tune to ‘Convoy’.  Interestingly for a craze that burned out over 30 years […]

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Space Age Electronics

  When you think of space age design, it is usually the 1950s or 60s that will instantly spring to mind. Who can ignore those spindly atomic legs on a sideboard, bold geometric patterns on the curtains or Jetsons-style tailfins on the Cadillac. Indeed as the world geared up to watch the first rockets orbit […]

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The Seiko TV Watch- The World’s Smallest TV

        (As published in West Country Life- April 2018)   If you wanted to wow your friends back in 1982, then few items would impress them as much as the Seiko T001 TV Watch. At first glance it looked much like any other stainless steel digital watch of the time and offered […]

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Vintage Computer Games as Collectables

  Over the last few years the retro computer game (retro gaming) scene has exploded in popularity, not only among a nostalgia-fueled middle-aged demographic who remember these things first time around, but among younger millennials as well. Perhaps it’s the wonderfully primitive and pixelated graphics that appeal, the simple yet frustratingly challenging quests, the magnetic […]

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When Computers Learned to Draw

(as published in West Country Life- March 2018) The early days of computing were very much about pushing the boundaries of what the new electronic binary machines could actually do. While much of that pioneering work took place during normal office hours and often involved very mundane administrative and mathematical tasks to service the needs […]

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The Gramdeck- An early tape recorder

  (As published in West Country Life- Feb 2018) So it is the late 1950s and only a few years back you spent a small fortune on the latest radiogram that sits proudly in your living room. It has all the features a modern family could want including a multi-speed record player, world radio and […]

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Cassette Culture- the recent resurgence in Vintage Cassette Tapes

  Famed as much for their ability to stretch, jam and tangle their way into your prized music players, the humble cassette tape has been firmly lodged into many people’s hearts. Who of a certain age can’t remember rewinding the tape on a pencil to save batteries, the endless joys of creating your own mix […]

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The Funny Side of Early Computing

  The early days of computing are a fascinating period in history. Beside the giant machines themselves, we are thankfully left with the photographs, scientific papers, advertising, newspaper reports and technical manuals that were all created as a natural by-product of this emerging industry. These extensive primary sources can offer a great insight into the […]

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