Ferranti Model 255 valve radio

Serial number 294634


This Ferranti Model 255 valve radio three waveband table radio - MW (190m-270m), LW (1000m-2000m), FM (87.5-100MHz) It is a 200-250 Volt 50 Hz AC only radio. The valve line-up - ECC85, ECH81, EF85, EABC80, EL84, EZ80.
Ferranti produced three electronically similar radios in September 1956:
Model 255T at 26.25 (25 gns)
Model 355G at 61.95 (59 gns)
Model 455RG at 82.95 (79 gns)
The 355 and the 455 were radiograms, the latter having twin speakers and a push pull output stage.
This set has a plain box style cabinet made from thin plywood with rather large white knobs and was one of the last sets produced by Ferranti before they were taken over by Ekco in 1957. The company was struggling at this time. As can be seen from the back cover it was made in the Ferranti Radio Works in Moston, Manchester. The factory was situated in what was a former mill which was purchased by the firm in 1935.

I was given it by Roger Clarke, who says that there is a bit of 'provenance ' to the radio which was a wedding present from an RN family friend who commanded the aircraft carrier HMS Theseus, and whose widow eventually married Vivian Fuchs, the Antarctic explorer. He didn't think this makes it any more valuable!


Underside of chassis. The electrolytic capacitor is dated 1955. Note the new three core mains cable and fixing clamp.


Part of back cover.


When I received it,the cabinet was in a grubby condition and much of the lacquer had crazed and peeled off. The cabinet was scraped and rubbed down with wire wool and so far has been given two coats of Danish Oil which has much improved the appearance.


When first energised the radio was virtually silent, though it was clear that the output stage was working and the the tone control was very noisy. The valve holder of the preceding stage was populated by the culprit shown above. Fortunately I had a live one and this brought the set to life, though not as well as I had hoped - a decent aerial was needed to get reasonable reception. The EF85 when removed and put in my valve tester was shown to have low gain. Sadly the two other spare EF85s from my collection were not much better, BUT I did have an EF183 which has the same base connections and indicated well into the green on the tester so this was pressed into service - a significant improvement!

Apart from removing a fair quantity of dust, replacing two wires on which the rubber insulation had perished and applying switch cleaner to the wave change switch wafers and the tone control nothing else has been changed. The dial lamps and some of the valves have been replaced in the past, but as far as I could tell all the other components are as originally fitted.

There are a couple of less usual features of this radio, the on/off switch is coupled to the tone control rather than the more usual volume control and there are two rather small ferrite aerial coils, one for the long and one for the medium wavebands.