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Old 1st Aug 2008, 7:03 am   #1
John12868
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Default Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

Hi Guys,

A quick question about the relative rarity of early 60's Roberts radios. I've noticed on other forum posts that the Roberts R500 is concidered something of a rarity. Also on other resources on t'internet, that Roberts appear to have released a new model transistor radio every year, ie RT1 1958, R200 1960 etc. Does anyone have a possible reason for this?

Also, is the R300 a rare model?

Many thanks for your input

John

Last edited by Darren-UK; 1st Aug 2008 at 11:56 am. Reason: Given more search-friendly title.
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Old 1st Aug 2008, 12:25 pm   #2
Darren-UK
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

Hi John,

The R500 isn't rare as such, it's just less common than other models of the same period.

The R200 seems to be by far the most common model, more specifically in its second and third forms with AF11x transistors. After some three years in production it was superceded by the R500 during 1963.

At a time when inflation was steady and retail prices rarely increased to any significant degree, the R200 was a popular radio and sold well.

The R300 is something of an oddity. It was really little more than a reincarnation of the R200 (third variant) in a restyled cabinet. It was introduced in 1964, a year or so after the R500.

Regarding this......
Quote:
Roberts appear to have released a new model transistor radio every year, ie RT1 1958, R200 1960 etc. Does anyone have a possible reason for this?
...... there's no mystery here at all, such as your comment "possible reason" implies.

It was quite usual for manufacturers to introduce a new model each year, be they valve or transistor models. Fashion was a major issue during the 1960's and a new model for each year was the norm - be it radios, clothes, furniture or whatever.

There was also the matter of foreign competition. British manufacturers struggled to compete and one way of competing, so they believed, was to keep their range 'fresh'. Roberts Radio Co. Ltd would've been no exception.

Hope that answers your questions. Please keep this thread on the subject of Roberts radios please folks .
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Old 2nd Aug 2008, 1:28 pm   #3
Paul_RK
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

Hi Darren,

The R500 didn't actually supersede the R200, the R300 did: if anything the 500 superseded the RT8, maintaining the choice of two models comprising the Roberts range. A far cry from today's situation!

For my sins (which would definitely be off topic ) over at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/robertsradiogroup/ I've been keeping a database of Roberts serial numbers from all periods. Numbers of sets currently on file there for the early transistor models are:

RT1 (1958) 63
R200 (1960) 135
RT7 (1960) 9
RT8 (1962) 15
R500 (1963) 23
R300 (1964) 48
R404 (1965) 16
R700 (1966) 16
R303 (1967) 17
RIC1 (1968) 41.

The large number of R200s is pretty well accounted for by the model having had four years as Roberts' standard transistor set: the RT1 just had two years, the R300 three but perhaps its dated style was starting to tell against it. None of the models are rare exactly, but the general pattern is that the line of basic models (RT1 - R200 - R300 - R303 - RIC1) sold well, while the larger RT7/RT8/R404 and the R500 with short wave, which were offered alongside the basic sets, weren't as popular. There aren't so many R303s around simply because the set only enjoyed about a year in production before its replacement by the RIC1.

Regards,
Paul
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 6:38 pm   #4
John12868
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

I wasn't implying that there was a big conspiracy about the relatively short production runs of the relative models, it just seemed odd that Roberts would introduce new models so fast. If you look at other areas of manufacuring in Britain at the time, model runs were fairly long especially in cars and motorcycles etc, baring in mind this is the early '60's.

Does anybody know at which serial number the R200 changed from OC series transistors to AF series?
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 6:46 pm   #5
howard
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John12868 View Post

Does anybody know at which serial number the R200 changed from OC series transistors to AF series?
The R200 had AF117s fitted from serial no 70001 in January 1962.

The R500 is not that rare but sure is rare in good condition and much the same goes for the RT7 and RT8 models. The R200/R300s are far more common and one should be able to find a nice one without too much trouble plus plenty of reproduction parts are available for them and the RT1.

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Old 10th Aug 2008, 6:54 pm   #6
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

The R500 is rare because it was a more upmarket set and sold in relatively small numbers.

The R200 sold in huge numbers at a time when many people were buying their first transistor set. Roberts seem to have made a good job of courting a particular market segment at that time and continued to supply them as they got steadily older through the 70s, 80s and 90s. It's relatively recently that they've started to appeal to much younger style conscious customers via the retro image.

Paul
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 7:59 pm   #7
Paul_RK
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

There really wasn't that much in it on price between the R200/300 and the R500, but the extra money bought short wave reception, of interest only to a small part of the buying public in the '60s, and a slightly larger set which probably wasn't an appealing factor to many folk either. Similarly of late in the Revival series the R200/250 models have greatly outsold the R500/550 with their bigger cabinets and better loudspeakers.

Paul
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Old 17th Aug 2008, 9:57 am   #8
John12868
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

What were the changes made within the R200 range? And why would the R200 be seen as an embarrasment?
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Old 17th Aug 2008, 10:59 am   #9
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

Hardly anything changed cosmetically through the R200's run, but the circuit underwent various changes major and minor: a different wavechange switch was used from serial 26705 onwards, a somewhat different circuit from 36547 with OC81D and OC81 driver and output transistors in place of the early sets' OC78D and OC78, then as Howard says came those AF117s. The transistor changes by Roberts and other manufacturers I take it would have been in response to recommendations/availability from Mullard.

I'd hardly say the R200 came to be an embarrassment: just someone would have decided it could do with a minor facelift after four years in production, and perhaps making it look more of a partner to the R500 by changing the grille shape was a factor. Rather more of a facelift was deemed necessary when the R303 came along. Nothing unusual there at all, witness the very late RP10 Hacker Herald outwardly tweaked so as not to look so out of date beside the new Mini-Herald, or Hacker's dramatic change of style between Sovereigns II and III (mentioned only to illustrate how all manufacturers changed their models in line sometimes with technical developments and sometimes with the fashions of the day - we'd need a new thread to discuss those).

Even the Roberts Revivals have been through several changes already

Regards,
Paul
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 7:09 am   #10
John12868
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Default Re: Roberts transistor radios; model rarity.

Does anyone know when Roberts started to offer the R300 in black? The brochure on the Roberts radio forum on Yahoo only indicates red, green, blue and tan.
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