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THE “DIRECTORY-GENERAL” OF VINTAGE SERVICES

Welcome to this "Directory of Specialist Suppliers and Services", originally created by Andrew Emmerson, and now maintained here on the Radiocraft site. This even bigger than before since Andy's former vintage television directory has also been incorporated. This is THE comprehensive directory for anything in the vintage-technical field.

There's nothing to match it on the internet. Enjoy!

IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE:
  • There's a search facility further down this page for when you can't immediately see what you're looking for.
  • This directory is a free service. It is maintained by... YOU !   The data cannot continually be checked. Some of it will undoubtedly be inaccurate or not up-to-date.  We rely on users to to inform us of any errors !
  • This is intended to be a useful list of services only. These individuals or companies are not endorsed by us.
  • The time-frame of vintage technology covered by the services listed is taken to be pre-1960. For later periods it's pot luck what you'll find here.
  • Please click here to let us know if you spot any errors, or would like to be included in the directory yourself.

  • WE CANNOT DO RESEARCH, RECOMMEND SOURCES, NOR OFFER ADVICE ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS, AND WILL NOT RESPOND TO ANY SUCH REQUESTS.

INTRODUCTION

CLUBS

EQUIPMENT SALES AND HIRE

LITERATURE

REPAIR SERVICES

SPARE PARTS

SWAPMEETS & TRADING

OTHER CATEGORIES


If you can't see what you're looking for above
click here to SEARCH this site - or the rest of the internet !
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This gives access to all the information we have. Please note we do not provide an individual researching service for special requirements...

Hints for using this guide, by Andrew Emmerson

This directory is one of my secret weapons! The information isn't secret really but you'd be surprised how many people don't know where to go, in particular for specialist and hard-to-find parts and services.

Dealers are the obvious first port of call; although bargains can sometimes be had in general antique shops, their merchandise is frequently suspect in condition or authenticity and often overpriced. Specialist dealers, who rely on repeat business, cannot afford to be so lax. Swapmeets are another excellent source of plunder, as is the National Vintage Communications Fair held twice yearly at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. Details of all these are to be found within these pages.

For specialist military and avionics radio equipment the specialist swapmeets devoted to these hobbies (aerojumbles and the like are well worth visiting (read Flypast magazine for dates and locations). Autojumbles are good for car radios and enamel signs from the time when automotive garages were also wireless dealers, whilst some interesting items also turn up at toy fairs (don't ask me why but they do!). Your local paper and the specialist hobby publications have details.

Don't be afraid to do some lateral thinking when you are trying to source uncommon parts. The high voltage wire used in television sets and some transmitters is readily available from electronics parts supplier such as Maplin but it does of course look modern. If you are seeking something that looks older, how about trying auto ignition wire? Not the kind with carbon filament but the old-fashioned type used in earlier cars up to the 1980s. This stuff was designed to handle voltages of 15,000-plus without breaking down and you might try car breakers, autojumbles, a long-established car repairer (or marinas or airports where they do repairs). Rubber feet for telephones... today's neoprene ones look too fresh and shiny? Then what about the black rubber bumpers for protecting doors at your local hardware shop? A good hardware store or a specialist furniture shop is where you will find felt feet. They're just what you need for the older type of wireless or to add to a telephone whose original rubber feet have dried rock solid.

Ignore the fact that several of the dealers listed in the pages which follow are in the USA, not in the British Isles. Apart from the novelty of phoning, faxing or writing to the States, there's no reason why you too shouldn't buy from the USA. They have a lot of products not available here and often the price is still low, even after accounting for the postage. Small shipments seldom attract the attention of H.M. Customs, by the way, so don't worry about having to pay duty. Most of the businesses mentioned accept British credit cards, so you don't have the problem of getting hold of American money, and if they don't, you can always buy dollar bills from your bank and send these in a letter; it's a lot cheaper than buying international money orders.

Another thing. Because the market is larger over there, many of the American dealers issue free or low-cost catalogues that are a revelation to European eyes. These catalogues contain useful information and are well worth requesting.

Lastly, there is a notion that dealers are parasites and genuine collectors should not patronise them. Ah yes. The American author Mark V. Stein has some very apt words on this subject.

He says: A word about dealers and dealer prices: expect to pay a premium when purchasing from a dealer. The dealer offers you the luxury of eliminating the time-consuming hunt through yard and estate sales, flea markets, antique shows and the like. It is he who goes through the trouble of rooting out those hard-to-find itemsóones you might not happen upon except after years of hunting yourself. Dealers' inventories represent long hours and related expenses, and so their prices must reflect those additional costs.

Do please note that inclusion in this list does not imply any endorsement of the firms concerned. Please be understanding, too. It is inevitable that this information will go out of date and there's not a thing the publisher can do about that! New suppliers will come along, others will change address or call it a day. Many of these traders are in the business more for the love of it than just to make money; if the latter was their aim, they'd probably be better advised to put their money in the bank. What this means is that some businesses go as suddenly as they come, and some of these firms may in fact be part-time businesses working from home (so turning up unannounced may not bring the welcome you might expect). This is also the reason why some entries have only a telephone number or a P.O. Box number. Even proper shops may have idiosyncratic opening times, so it's always worth making a phone call before travelling long distances. Finally, if you do find errors or omissions, please feel free to write in with your corrections so the list can be updated. Write to Steve Ostler at steve@radiocraft.co.uk .


Internet sites on collecting in general

Auction sites, for obtaining old equipment, ephemera, other hardware and so on

Happy hunting!


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