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Old 4th Jul 2022, 2:25 pm   #1
Paul_RK
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Default Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

I'm not even sure which section this item belongs in, so mods. please move if you think fit!

Its appearance would say "microphone" to just about anyone, but I'd be interested to hear if anyone has seen another like it, also any views on its period (I'm thinking mid to late '30s), the likely context for its use and whether it would have produced as well as received sound. As the third photo, with the cloth-covered back removed, may show, the "drive unit" for want of a better word looks for all the world like a moving-coil tweeter with a very large and heavy magnet. Unfortunately a certain round-about-ten-year-old vandal, please don't ask his name, thought the oak would be improved by a coat of polyurethane varnish, but at least he didn't destroy it or do it any other sort of harm and he still has it with him fifty-odd years later...

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Old 5th Jul 2022, 7:48 pm   #2
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

It looks rather like a 'scientific' type of demo piece with that particular style of manufacturer name plate and wood finish (varnish coat accepted), dating from the late 50s/early 60s. You've probably already researched the company, which later traded as Ambassador Radio & TV, and later taken over by Hartley, who also took over Baird. I think that it could possibly be from a bit of scientific demo apparatus just by the look of it, but I could be very wrong.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 8:41 pm   #3
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

Just thinking about this again, it looks like Fitton became Ambassador around 1950, so unless they carried on using the Fitton name for commercial stuff while using the new Ambassador name for domestic stuff, it couldn't be late 50s and has to be pre 50s, but later than 1929.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 9:17 pm   #4
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

Thanks for your interest, I'm surprised nobody has confessed to having met anything much like it! When it came my way c.1969 it already seemed to be carrying a good few years, I think the felt underneath was already well moth-eaten, so I've not suspected it might be significantly later than WWII. The "woven string" front grille seems typically late '30s - '40s, likewise the cloth at the back. I don't think I had ever extracted the driver (?) before, but here it is: "1/43 12" written on the cone in yellow pencil, which could mean January 1943 or something else entirely.

I've owned a few Ambassador sets and still have a 651 console, but haven't come across any other of their non-domestic products.

Paul
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 11:02 pm   #5
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

What's the resistance of the voice-coil?
There does not appear to be a transformer or "induction coil", nonetheless it would work as a microphone, but how well?

I'm going to be a maverick, and suggest in spite of its form-factor, perhaps it's intended use was a loudspeaker.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 11:40 pm   #6
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

It's about 16 ohms. Long coaxial lead, on the end of which I think it originally (when I bought it) had a Bulgin quarter-inch jack plug - or did I attach the plug, to try to use it as a microphone? Long time ago...
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Old 6th Jul 2022, 12:16 am   #7
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

I also think it's a speaker, although as a kid I used to use a large 12" speaker as a microphone, hidden behind a chair in the living room, with a long flex going upstairs to my bedroom where I had it connected into the gram socket of my old HMV radio so that I could listen in to what my parents were saying when I was out of the room. This speaker was one of those early ones with the reversed cone with the transducer inside the actual cone, so could have been a higher impedance than normal type.
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Old 14th Aug 2022, 7:07 pm   #8
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Default Re: Vintage R.N.Fitton microphone (?)

I have an old Grampian microphone in a square metal case which contains in effect a moving coil unit like a loudspeaker with a light coloured paper cone. The edge of the cone is not attached to anything. I cannot imagine what the frequency response or directional behaviour would have been!
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