I've been collecting vintage appliances for some time now, and these are just a few items from the collection. A few of these are used everyday, while others I daren't try to plug in - no matter how appropriate death by vintage appliance would be to me! Click on the name of the appliance you want to see, or simply scroll down. On the right are links to related pages on the website - scans of advertisements dating from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, feature pages on the Goblin radio Teasmade, Kenwood Chef A701 food mixer and the Russell Hobbs K2 kettle, pages documenting Hoover vacuums (featuring short clips of them in action!), and a section on obsolete plugs and adaptors. Enjoy!
On this page:
  • Stereomate personal stereo
  • radio alarm clock
  • Purifyre fan heater
  • Cavendish fan heater
  • Ely electric fire
  • HD1 Hairdryer
  • Lincoln electric fire
  • Maddox kettle
  • radio alarm clock
  • HK4100 hairdryer
  • Philishave SC 7860
  • Pifco:
  • foot massager
  • Princess hairdryer
  • Ranger 'hairdrying gun'
    Russell Hobbs:
  • K1 kettle
  • Supertrim shaver
  • Trinitron 1320 colour television
  • Siren kettle
  • Related pages:
  • Selling your vintage appliance
  • Sunco Electrical Catalogue 1939
  • Advert and Brochure Archive
  • Goblin Radio Teasmade 870
  • Ekco ADT 95 Radio
  • Kenwood Chef
  • Russell Hobbs K2 Kettle
  • Plugs and adapters
  • Binatone Stereomate personal stereo 
    Binatone are still going today, of course, and this late seventies contraption represents their answer to the ubiquitous Sony Walkman. It's a pretty blatant rip-off, with the plastic case using exactly the same colours of plastic as the first-generation Sony machine, but it's about four times the size! It in fact came with a strap so that it could be hung from the shoulder, and to all intents and purposes resembles a mutant car stereo. It also features a couple of blatant design flaws - there's an easily knocked speaker button, which allows you to blast other people with your music without you even knowing, and the top loading design allows it to be filled with water if you wear it while it rains... so perhaps it's suprising that this example still works!
    Dansette radio alarm clock 
    Dansette were best known for their wobbly record players of course, but this digital-analogue radio alarm clock must have been a pretty late product for them, as this design dates from the turn of the 70s. It's Korean made, by the once-great Rank Organisation, who were once responsible for everything from films to motorway service stations. This model was also sold under the Bush and Murphy brand names, which were almost identical to this one, but with differently coloured cases.
    Goblin Purifyre fan heater 
    Goblin's most famous product is undoubtedly their iconic Teasmade, but the company produced a variety of different appliances, including this electric fan heater. The white plastic and rubber trim, plus the passing resemblance to a television set suggests that this was a late 1950s confection, and it gets its name from the four carbon filters that surround the air intakes of the fan. This machine was intended to be dual-purpose - as well as being intended for use as a standard fan heater, it was also designed to be used for drying laundry, in the days before the tumble dryer caught on - hence the two speed fan.
    HMV Cavendish fan heater 
    Although this little fan heater dates from the late 1940s, it still manages to have had very high survival rates - there are normally several of these on Ebay at any one time! It's pretty basic, with a single speed fan, but runs very quietly indeed. A nice touch is the orange lightbulb inside it, which adds a nice warm glow when switched on. I had to replace the knackered flex when I got it, but it runs like new.
    HMV Ely electric fire 
    I think this one bar electric fire might just be pre-ww2, perhaps as a baby version of the better known Bruton model, which dates from 1939. It has apparently been rewired, and was bought from a fairly well-known memorobilia stall in the Snooper's Paradise market in Brighton, but I find electric fire to be particularly unnerving appliances, so I haven't plugged it in yet! I now have tow examples of these, one of which came with the original instruction card, which I'll scan down in due course.
    HMV HD1 hairdryer 
    This hairdryer can be precisely dated, as it still has its guarantee dated 23rd December 1949, so was apparently a bit of a last-minute christmas present for someone! Designed by Christian Barman, with a unique, if slightly peculiar design. Note that it's the same colour as the Cavendish fan heater above - HMV produced a variety of appliances in this shade between the 30s and the 50s.
    HMV Lincoln electric fire 
    Another HMV electric fire, this time it's a two bar Lincoln model from 1955. You can see the obvious lineage from the Ely model above, but this one has chromed fins, the idea being that they helped to distribute the heat more effectively than the parabolic shape of the fire alone. A car boot sale find, this heater is in need of rewiring if I wanted to use it, but i'm quite happy for it to just sit there and look dramatic! Just a shame that it's so battered, but those fins are pretty vunerable to knocks.
    HMV Maddox kettle 
    After World War Two was over, HMV introduced two very distinctive kettles to the market - this one, and the slightly more conventional Bentick model. This Maddox model is very interesting, as it uses the 'jug' principle, which didn't become widespread, despite its advantages, until the 1980s. Like all kettles of this period, the Maddox did not shut off automatically - if it boiled dry, a pre-loaded spring ejected the lead from its socket, which was fine so long as it didn't land in a sink full of water...
    HMV radio alarm clock 
    The radio alarm clock was pioneered by Goblin, with their massive Timespot model in the late 1940s. This HMV, which dates from about a decade later is a lot more compact, and has features that are both familiar and unusual to the modern consumer - it has the equivalent of a 'snooze' button (except that it's actually a dial marked 'slumber'), but also feature a socket at the back to plug a kettle into! This example is in pretty good condition, but I don't know if it works or not, as all three wires in the lead are covered in brown plastic insulation, so lord only knows which one is meant to go where...
    Philips HK4100 hairdryer 
    In classic 'Space Age home Appliance' style is the Philips HK4100 hairdryer, which dates from 1965. Breaking from the more traditional 'pistol' shape, this hairdryer featured a futuristic geometric design, in an equally striking box. An interesing feature is the diffuser, operated by twisting the green nozzle to open extra vents on the front of the dryer.
    Philips Philishave SC 7860 shaver 
    The Philishave is another design icon, and many versions have been produced over the years - this particular version dating from 1959. This is actually one of the few vintage appliances that I own that gets regular use - yep, it's my everyday shaver! And it works fine too. It did have me worried a while ago, as it started cutting out for no reason whilst it was in use. I wasn't happy, as it would mean trying to find another shaver for 1.50(!), but I eventually found out that the problem wasn't the little shaver - it was the wiring in my ropey flat...
    Pifco foot massager 

    As the 1950s progressed, and more and more people got used to appliances in the home, more frivolous items like this Pifco electric foot massager started to become popular, which seems to be a bit of a forerunner to the Clairol foot spa of the 1970s, but without the capacity to soak one's feet at the same time. In principle, this little gadget is a pretty good idea. However, it is extremely noisy in operation, and doesn't half drown out the telly!

    Pifco Princess hairdryer 
    Pifco were once one of the most ubiquitous small appliance manufacturers in the United Kingdom, and this is an example of their Princess hairdryer, which dates from any time between the mid '50s and the mid '70s. This particular one comes with the complete hairdrying ensemble, including a stand, hose, comb attachment and one of those quaint hoods, suitable for setting towering bouffant hairdos into shape. A charity shop find, this little dryer is very quiet in operation, but does not have a very powerful fan, so dries rather slowly, if gently. Someone once commented to me that this must have been the bloke's version, as it came in blue plastic rather than the more usual pink. And maybe it was! Inspiring Pifco to come up with the next appliance...
    Pifco Ranger 'hairdrying gun' 
    One for the fellas! Dating from around 1972, this was Pifco's attempt to crack the embryonic male vanity market. Made in dark green plastic, and in a simulated wood cardboard box(!), this looks more like a Scalextric trigger than a hairdryer. And did Pifco succed in this early example of niche marketing? Well, have you ever seen one of these before? I rest my case.
    Russell Hobbs K1 kettle 
    This kettle, dating from the early 1950s, was the first kettle that switched off automatically when the water boiled - up until this appliance was introduced, kettles had either fuses or spring-loaded ejectors should they boil dry, but the K1 was the first that you could switch on, and then carry on with what you were doing, knowing that it didn't need watching. This was found at Brighton Station Sunday car-boot sale, for a fiver, along with the HMV Lincoln electric fire above, but the lead is missing, so I don't yet know if it actually works or not.
    Ronson Supertrim shaver 
    This is a pretty typical 1950s electric shaver, and also one of the items that has been in my collection for the longest, although it doesn't work anymore. Which is just as well really, as the cutting foil is extremely thick compared to modern equivalents, and it had a habit of yanking hair out instead of cutting it... very painful.
    Sony Trinitron 1320 colour television 
    Another Japanese import, this Sony television was one of the the first sets to really kick off the cult of good quality Eastern goods in Great Britain. This set dates from around 1971, and is unusual in that it converts the PAL colour signal into the NTSC standard for the screen, hence colour tends to go a bit peculiar sometimes, and the picture has a distinct purpley tint. It also pioneered the single electron gun for a colour set - most other manufactuers built more complicated (and less reliable) three-gun sets at the time. And for a television to still work almost perfectly after 30 years as this one does is a pretty impressive acheivement.
    Swan Siren kettle 
    The design of this Swan Siren electric kettle dates from the mid 1950s, although this example is dated as being manufactured in April 1969. although not automatic like the Russell Hobbs K1 below, the spout lid features a whistle to warn you of when the kettle has boiled, It also fills from the spout (the cover lifting off via a lever on the handle), and you can't see inside the water chamber, so when I first got it, it was boiled several times, in case there was a dead rat in it or something! No little bones have fallen out yet though, so I think I'm safe. It has a 3KW element, and so boils very quickly.