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Old 18th Jun 2021, 11:16 am   #1
the_snark
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Default Unknown valve radio - New old stock.Barker 388.

A friend of mine had this radio in his loft. It came from a radio shop that closed down and was still in its original box. It had never been sold. It is virtually brand new. Unfortunately it has no clues to the manufacturer apart from 388 in big friendly numbers on the dial. Does anybody recognise it? I shall do some more investigation to see if I can find a date on any of the capacitors.
The valves are as follows: ECH35, EF39, EB35, ECC32, 2xEL33, IW4/350 the magic eye was obviously borrowed at some time and never replaced. There's 10 brownie points for whoever can tell me what it is.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 11:23 am   #2
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Cosmetically it looks like a variant of the Barker 88.

Lawrence.

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Old 18th Jun 2021, 11:38 am   #3
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

WOW!

What a find - lovely.

Steve.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 11:59 am   #4
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Great find. Regardless of what make it turns out to be, why would anyone produce a radio like this with no ID on it? The only thing I can think of is that it was made by a manufacturer who made radios for a number of customers and they put their own decals, stickers, nameplates etc in place at their own factory/warehouse. That being the case, it seems that it may be one that 'got out of the back door'.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 12:21 pm   #5
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Not sure the back cover is correct looking at the colour but certainly a Barker I too believe.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 12:51 pm   #6
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

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Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
Great find. Regardless of what make it turns out to be, why would anyone produce a radio like this with no ID on it? The only thing I can think of is that it was made by a manufacturer who made radios for a number of customers and they put their own decals, stickers, nameplates etc in place at their own factory/warehouse. That being the case, it seems that it may be one that 'got out of the back door'.
Amazing find. I tend to agree with Steve that it may have been produced for someone else. I recently restored an almost identical set for someone, but the dial glass was different. Same valve line up and cabinet. So sorry, cannot remember the make of the one I did.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 1:03 pm   #7
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Thank you for the swift replies.
It certainly looks just like the Barker 88 though according to another article on this site the Barker 88 had a different valve lineup. At the moment it looks like Lawrence gets the Brownie points but if anyone else knows anything I will be glad to hear it.
I'm going to go and reform the smoothing caps prior to powering it up so so if it works.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 1:39 pm   #8
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

It's a Barker 88 or at least a variant of it. I have one that looks the same. Valve line-up is slightly different but there were quite a few variations of it. The 88 = 8 valves (including the tuning indicator and rectifier) 8 watts. With a bit of restoration (replacing the paper caps) the push-pull EL33's should give a good account of themselves.

Mine has push-pull 6v6's with a 6J5 phase splitter. There were different versions of output stage not all of which appear to have been documented. I resorted to drawing out the circuit for mine.

I think they were built by Plessey and sold through the Barker furniture stores.

The back cover looks original....mine is the same style made of wood.

What a great find!
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 1:44 pm   #9
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Fab condition. Barker sets were made (I think by Plessey) for the Barkers Department Store of Kensington, since closed. None of the ones I have come across have ever had any identification other than the '88' logo centre screen. There were several variants including a later one (1955) with mainly B7G valves. I have come across them with 6v6, 6F6, KT61 and EL33 output valves. This is the first variant I've seen with a 388 logo and a 4-volt rectifier, which indicates it might be early although the nominally early variant described in Trader Sheet #747 released in 1938 used a 5Z4G. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 1:50 pm   #10
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

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a 4-volt rectifier,
Mine has an AZ31 which is 4 volt heater so there is another variant!
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 1:58 pm   #11
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

I was going to say Plessey, but I didn't as it's such a cliche when talking about radio and TV set chassis made by CEMs for others. But yes, it most probably is Plessey made.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 2:06 pm   #12
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

I'm in a quandary what to do with it. My friend will want to sell it and it may be quite valuable due to its rarity. If I start removing wires from the smoothing caps so I can check them for leakage do I reduce its value because of losing its originality. Then there's the coupling caps to the output valves and the 2 core mains lead. At one time I would have bought it off him but I am trying to downsize my collection of valve radios in favour of transistor radios.

Suggestions please!
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 2:08 pm   #13
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_snark View Post
I'm in a quandary what to do with it. My friend will want to sell it and it may be quite valuable due to it's rarity. If I start removing wires from the smoothing caps so I can check them for leakage do I reduce it's value because of losing it's originality. Then there's the coupling caps to the output valves and the 2 core mains lead. At one time I would have bought it off him but I am trying to downsize my collection of valve radios in favour of transistor radios.
Suggestions please!
If that belonged to me I would want to leave it exactly as it is.

Lawrence.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 2:30 pm   #14
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

It's definitely a Barker-88-alike: the rear panel [which is plywood rather than the more-commonly-found pressed cardboard] is a dead giveaway.

I note here https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/barker...radio_838.html the mention of a Barker 838

[I've got one of the later 88's here, it's one of the B7G types with a pair of N78 valves as output and a 5Y3 as rectifier]
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 2:44 pm   #15
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_snark View Post
I'm in a quandary what to do with it. My friend will want to sell it and it may be quite valuable due to it's rarity. If I start removing wires from the smoothing caps so I can check them for leakage do I reduce it's value because of losing it's originality. Then there's the coupling caps to the output valves and the 2 core mains lead. At one time I would have bought it off him but I am trying to downsize my collection of valve radios in favour of transistor radios.
Suggestions please!
All said and done I wouldn't say it has what you'd call a high value. If it had been a boxed, unused say, 30's HMV set then yes. Sadly rarity doesn't always mean high value. This set's value is in its pristine, NOS state. I'd leave it as it is, untouched as the day it was made. If someone wants a 'virgin' set, then it's no longer that if wires are unsoldered and re-soldered.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 3:23 pm   #16
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

I think it is best to leave it untouched, I wont even risk powering it up through a lamp as one of the caps has leakage around the rubber seal.
I just checked on eBay and the EL33s and the ECC32 are probably worth about 250 on their own. Sadly that maybe more than the set itself.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 3:25 pm   #17
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

A thought, the three is a stylised "B", perhaps it was a demonstrator for potential re badgers? And this is the first time I have seen a "virgin" 'speaker cloth.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 3:29 pm   #18
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

Quote:
I think it is best to leave it untouched, I wont even risk powering it up
I think that is wrong, this is a radio and deserves to be such.
Quote:
and the EL33s and the ECC32 are probably worth about 250 on their own
Easy to make an adaptor for more modern valves that would do the job, then it is a win-win, 250 and a working set. I wouldn't do that if it was mine though.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 5:07 pm   #19
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

I would change the o/put valves grid coupling caps and the smoothing caps if needed and chances are it will fire up nicely.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 5:45 pm   #20
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Default Re: Unknown valve radio - New old stock

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I would change the o/put valves grid coupling caps and the smoothing caps if needed and chances are it will fire up nicely.
My 1950s B7G Barker-88 had a triple-capacitor smoothing-can that definitely needed replacement - it went too-hot-to-touch after an hour or so of being powered-up.

The caps from the 6AT6 phase-splitter to the output-valves' grids were probably US-WWII-surplus Sprague 400VW items - opinion varies on these [they're the kind with a dull plated metal body, paxolin end-plates and red printed lettering] - some claim they are paper-in-oil so should be good even after all these years - but I replaced them with modern 630V-working yellow Kemet ones just to be on the safe side.

And I agree - this radio needs to be used, rather than being sat on a shelf to be worshipped like some sacred relic.

"If it doesn't work what's the point of having it?"
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