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Old 27th Feb 2017, 8:30 pm   #1
DuncanLeece
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Default 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

Dear all,
I wonder how many of you are familiar with the 1930s Bestone B698 clock and radio combination? I have just completed repairing my example, which was missing its knobs, and I would be most grateful for a photo of the correct ones, as they have to fit in a very tight space rebated out of a door in the cabinet. I have found two that fit, but sadly they don’t match one another.
All in all, however, I am delighted with the results. The clock mechanism is a Hammond Synchronous movement (yes, Hammond of organ fame) and is much better quality than the wee radio chassis, which I suspect was something of a sales gimmick to sell the clocks…..price £7 7s 0d in 1937!
The radio is a three-valve TRF with MW only. A most unusual valve set, with a 12A7 combined mains rectifier and output valve, I had never come across before, and according to the excellent Radiomuseum website it should be a pair of 6C6s, but mine has a 6D6 and 6C6, and the valve bases are clearly factory-marked as such. My 6C6 was physically broken, but luckily my good mate and fellow forum member David Simpson got me a replacement. Apart from the wiring being lethal, the only other real job was the usual cap replacements, and those in this set were some of the most leaky I think I have ever found.
But now it is all working and the case has responded well to a good polish. I like it, and will be happy to add it to my collection. Hope you don’t mind me sharing my ‘triumph’. If only I could get the right knobs though!
Best wishes
Duncan
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Old 27th Feb 2017, 8:41 pm   #2
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

Very nice, Duncan. Hammond clocks are a very rare sight over here. I presume yours is designed for 240V and 50c/s?

The case looks superb. How did you polish it?

Nick.
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Old 27th Feb 2017, 9:53 pm   #3
DuncanLeece
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Default Re: 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

Nick,

Thanks for the compliment........just careful use of T-cut on the original finish, then lots of beeswax and hard work! The case veneer is very nice quality.

I know zero about clocks so was relieved when the Hammond mechanism just needed a good clean and new wiring. Yes, it is clearly marked made in USA, but also 240/50 so obviously made for UK. Radio chassis is also marked made in USA, but has a transformer so no horrid line cord dropper.

best wishes
Duncan
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Old 27th Feb 2017, 10:35 pm   #4
Nuvistor
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Default Re: 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

It does look very good, the cabinet is immaculate.

Frank
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Old 6th Mar 2017, 6:29 pm   #5
usradcoll1
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Default Re: 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DuncanLeece View Post
Thanks for the compliment........just careful use of T-cut on the original finish, then lots of beeswax and hard work! The case veneer is very nice quality.

I know zero about clocks so was relieved when the Hammond mechanism just needed a good clean and new wiring. Yes, it is clearly marked made in USA, but also 240/50 so obviously made for UK. Radio chassis is also marked made in USA, but has a transformer so no horrid line cord dropper.
Many of the Hammond clocks, didn't survive here either, as they weren't self-starting. You had to spin the start knob to get it into sync.
Great job of restoration! I looked over all the pictures and can't see the speaker location. Most radios that used the 12A7 valve used a high impedence magnetic speaker. I was never fond of them, as they had a tinny sound.
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Old 7th Mar 2017, 9:48 pm   #6
DuncanLeece
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Default Re: 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

Thank you for your kind compliment re my restoration. You are absolutely correct that the clock doesn't self-start, and a knob is provided to spin the mechanism over by hand, at which point the motor takes over and keeps it going. Unfortunately, in the Bestone design this start knob is deep inside, and you have to reach over the mains transformer and the valves to get to it. The sticker on the back of the clock warns not to do this with the radio section switched on, for fear of electrocution!

The loudspeaker is a little 3.5 inch diameter mains-energised model facing downwards in the chassis, with a speaker aperture made underneath the clock. Being honest, it doesn't sound great, but then I am sure this was only ever meant to be a bit of a novelty radio rather than a serious listening set, and the sound quality is way better than many large-selling 1960s transistor sets.

best wishes
Duncan
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 3:56 am   #7
usradcoll1
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Default Re: 1930s Bestone clock radio combo.

Thanks for the picture of the speaker used. Those speakers usually sounded rather good. Most of the radios, using that type of output valve, used the nasty magnetic pin-drive speaker.

The radio chassis was probably made by a firm known as one of the Chicago independants. There was several firms of the type, that only made private labeled products.
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