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Ladies Love The Mullard Valve Tester!

Mullard Valve Tester

Ladies Love The Mullard Valve Tester!

I asked Mr Mullard Antiques to write me a guest blog about Women working, in what was traditionally seen as a Man’s role, in the 1950s. I was a little bit worried, give Steve this level of freedom and who knows what he would write! Anyway, I’m pleasantly surprised! Thank you, Mullard Magicfor this lighthearted look at Women working at the Mullard Valve factory in the 1950s. Great images!

According to Mullard (the manufacturer’s of thermionic valve products), ‘The Mullard High Speed Valve Tester was so simple to use anyone could use it’.  Mullard made much of this in contemporary journals, and here we see a photo from one of them in which a young lady is delicately using a beastly Mullard High Speed Valve Tester.

But let’s put sexist stereotypes aside for a moment and look instead at the reality of valve testing at Mullard in the 1950s – did you know that at the Mullard Service Department at Waddon, the majority of staff were ‘Women’ yes, really, and to prove it here, below,  I have photos of Doris Saxilby valve testing in the  Waddon labs.

Did you also know that at all times, when returned valves were actually on test, manualy dextrous operators such as these two pictured would be lightly tapping the valve with a leather covered hammer to reveal any intermittent faults. Just goes to show that the ‘fairer sex’ were actually much better at testing than their male counterparts!

Her best friend and bridesmaid, Mildred Dallymer can be seen in this photo checking for interelectrode shorts.





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Radio Corporation Of America (RCA)

Radio Corporation Of America (RCA)

Radio Corporation Of America (RCA)

Thanks to Steve of Mullard Magic for this interesting blog on the origin of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).

The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was formed in 1919 by General Electric, AT & T and United Fruit with the encouragement of the US Federal Government which wanted to maintain US leadership in long distance communications. Post war American Marconi was bought by General Electric and transferred to RCA. General Electric and Westinghouse made RCA their exclusive marketing channel for receivers and tubes in return for cross licenses to their patents.

In 1941 RCA had decided to bring its R&D on to a single 260 acre site it purchased near Princeton University. The chosen site was close to its manufacturing locations at Harrison and Camden and was opened in 1942 with a staff of 125 engineers and scientists. Early on its programmes were dominated by war-time military contracts which did not necessarily relate to RCA manufacturing. Engineers worked on radar antennas, phosphors for radar screens, acoustic fuses for anti-submarine munitions, navigation, infrared cameras and microwave communications as well as television, an important consumer product for RCA.

Post war the laboratory research programme needed radical redirection in order support the innovation demanded by RCA Chairman, David Sarnoff. He told the Radio Manufacturers Association in 1947:

“The industry does not pick up where it left off before the war… The radio manufacturer is the logical producer of radio-heating equipment, radar, loran, shoran, teleran, and hundreds of allied radio-electronic devices. He must push on to new ventures. To be successful he must not only manufacture, but he must encourage research to create new methods, new devices, new services.” [cited by Kilbon 1964]

Post war the RCA Laboratories were reorganised and expanded working on consumer products such as colour television, hi-fi audio, computers and components such as transistors, lasers, integrated circuits and advanced vacuum tubes.

Interested in radio? Then please click on the following link!

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Mischievous should be plural for feline

Mischievous should be plural for feline

Mischievous should be plural for feline

Thanks once again to my wonderful guest blogger, Eiffion, owner of https://www.collectibulldogs.comfor his light hearted blog about Noddy and Bonnie who really fit Eiffion’s blog title of Mischievous should be plural for feline.

Eiffion is a dedicated collector of all sorts of things related to English Bulldogs, and also has an English Bulldog blog at collectibulldogs.comHis World class collection of Bulldog ephemera is museum listed and has even made its way into a display in Brighton Museum, UK. Quite a feat!

 Eiffion isn’t just a lover of bulldogs, he is also pretty fond of felines too! Read the following blog to find out more.

The goodbye that never was

Hi there readers of Mullard Antiques blog articles, it’s me, Eiffion, the bulldog fella. I wrote a blog for you guys n gals a while back and I’m guest posting again. So, Hi! How are you all?

I thought I’d make a change from bulldogs and talk about cats instead. Two cats in particular and both close to myself and my family but alas one is not here anymore, as the header suggests we lost one cat a few summers ago and never knew what happened to him. He just disappeared.

Noddy (our first cat) was a brazen yet chilled out cat that loved nothing better than to either sunbathe out on the window sill winding up the pigeons or on a hot day he would be outside in the middle of the pavement licking where cats lick and not scared of any dog that walked past.

What’s that? Can’t you see I’m busy!

We had this friend of ours for years, he was our first kitten as a family and the day he went missing I remember myself crying because my little girl was so upset. I put up a reward and defied the council twice by putting up bill boards outside the home but it wasn’t to be. We looked everywhere. In a city that never sleeps anything could of happened to Noddy and, even though I want my daughter to experience the responsibility of owning an animal, I feel something was taken from her in the sense she felt loss but unlike past pets couldn’t properly say goodbye.

The fact I’m a doggie fella is neither here nor there when it came to Noddy, he was one in a million. I mean what cat comes for walks, often miles, just to be with the dog. People used to stop and take pictures the vision was so cute. We have heard stories of cats reappearing months sometimes years after going missing but I have, and had, the sinking feeling that we may never see Noddy again nor ever have another cat like him.

Noddy: a very handsome cat

I’d like to dedicate this article to Noddy if I may and wish him all the meows in the world whether this one or where cats go after. Get ready here comes trouble. So if Noddy had of gone by say mis – responsibility through the vets I wouldn’t have allowed my daughter the luxury of a second cat, and some may think that sounds a bit harsh, but as parents you must know when we agree to our kids having pets whom takes on most of the chores… hmmm.

Our daughter was anxious that the same thing would happen again if she was to get another cat and ironically about 6 months later a kitten popped up on Facebook and was classed as a house cat. I read this up and realised it is frowned upon but we hadn’t made the cat that way and it seemed ideal to have this kitten as a pet. We went to get the kitten from a ladies home and the kitten meowed from its old home right till we got to ours and as soon as we were in she went quiet.

Folks meet Bonnie the most aggravating The most mischievous The most aghhhh ball of cuteness in the feline world.

Bonnie, the ball of cuteness!


Now, what can I do next to make them shout at me…..

We all live in our homes day-to-day, most have routines and, I swear, all you hear from my 15 year old whom just normally answers anything with a grunt or ‘I don’t know’ is constantly telling off the cat. I will use cat now as Bonnie is a couple of years old now and I swear she’s got a dreamies addiction (I think all cats have, Eiffion! You ought to see ours when the dreamies appear. I would love to know what is in them to make them so addictive!)

I do not know where to start with her naughtiness, let’s start with just yesterday. I’m insomniac so needed some rest. No one else was here so Bonnie decided to get a whole cupboards worth of clean washing out whilst I was asleep.

Speaking of asleep this next one even made me giggle at first. She must have started with my wife first as it was her that noticed cat fur on her lips and sometimes in her mouth, I came home late one night from evening with the lads and I caught Bonnie in the act, she was sitting on my wife’s chest with one paw trying to open her mouth. We thought, weird cat!

Hands, hands, hands, it’s all about the hands. Bonnie is such a spoilt cat she’s craving attention and in her mind when you’re in bed and she cannot find your hands she goes looking for them. Funny how she thinks they maybe down the throats! Lol! I now play peek a hand with her so she knows where our hands go.


Who needs a scratch post when expensive leather will do? I will be the first to admit I am careful with my income. My only extravagance is my daughter and, at the age of 15, has a better, more grown up, bedroom than is needed. Unlucky for me, my daughter has expensive taste! The crowning glory of her new bedroom was a bed even more luxurious than ours!!!

My wife took me in the other day and OMG Bonnie has taken upon herself NOT to use the posts provided but the beautiful suede coloured leather that covers my daughters bed. I do not feel angry towards Bonnie, she spends a few hours a day on her own or with me, if the dog’s not around, whilst my daughter attends her education, so I understand the craving of attention. This would be easily accomplished if only Bonnie would let somebody pick her up, that way she can be made a fuss of, played with and hopefully knacker her out but, ever since we got her she’s hated a pick up and this, somehow, was how she was raised before we got her.

Not long now…

So there’s the spoilt little fur ball from selective eating to constant attention seeking but she really takes the biscuit when she decides to re arrange our home. So far, this naughty nature is confined to our daughter’s bedroom and the linen from our room. You see it on You Tube all the time where cats sit there and out of the blue knock of an object for no reason other than to annoy you: lol.

What? Me! I didn’t do anything….

Bonnie takes this to a whole new level in my daughters room, as stated “Bonnie, no” isn’t just day time but can be all hours of the night! She starts with the smaller drawers batting what she can out and onto the floor before playing football getting bored and on to emptying her larger drawers.

I do not want to jinx myself but with a cat like Bonnie, and a world class ultra expensive collection, it’s only time before she gives me the same treatment and God forbid should one or any of my expensive breakables hit the floor I think I would cry…

Touch wood, as we say in the UK, and hopefully that day never arises.

Lastly and until next time. Well that’s my definition of trouble all packed up in a ball of cuteness and I still giggle when I see Bonnie’s tail going along the other side of the coffee table. Don’t know why, it’s just funny!

If I’m invited back (course you will be Eiffion!) I’ll tell you all about Wiggles, our bulldog, and the antics she gets up to just to have as lazy a life as possible.

Stay safe and be kind to one another folks and to any collectors keep up with your passions collecting is great.

Her hair is soft and her Meow is ever so sweet

From under your legs to preening your sheet

Lucky with living thanks to those sure feet

The cuteness of felines we have is like a treat.

Bonnie looks so cute and sweet you wouldn’t believe she gets up to all these antics unless you are a fellow cat owner!

If you love Eiffion’s blog, then please read his other guest blogs by clicking on the links at the top of this blog or the following links:-

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Collectibulldogs: More than just a passion for collecting!

Collectibulldogs: More than just a passion for collecting!

Collectibulldogs: More than just a passion for collecting!

Another heartfelt guest blog from Eiffion Ashdown, as he explains to us why Collectibulldogs is more than just a passion for collecting.

Thank you Eiffion. I know all our readers out there are keen to know what you have to say, so over to you!


Hi there to all of Mullard Antiques, (Karen’s) readers, I hope you’re all safe and well and let me just say what an honour it is to guest blog for Mullard Antiques! Guest blogging gives each other’s blog archives a bit of diversity and something different to read once in a while.



I’m going to tell you about myself and the best passion I’ve ever had (excluding becoming a dad of course!). I will not bore you with the details on how I got to where I am but, if you do want to know my back story, you can read it on my about page at collectibulldogs. ‘Dang’ I just gave it away! Oh well, start as you mean to go on: I collect bulldogs. Not real bulldogs ( I have been asked)?  I collect anything and everything English bulldog related, and in the past seven years or so I’ve created a bulldog collection that looks like it took sixty years to collect.




I’m not sure where to start here. I’m not being brash but I have obtained and curated so many pieces now my own home resembles an Olde style English antique shop. All I need is a few clocks and a door bell and I have a ready made shop! I will try and describe the collection best I can but forgive me if I forget anything.

kl14iy-n-jpg-largeMy best cabinet displays my top investable pieces I have quite a few Doulton, some Royal Copenhagen bulldog figurines, there’s Crown Devon and, my pride and joy that I call the beast… The beast is a German 1928 porcelain bulldog and in my field he is as close to perfection in detail as you would find in any of today’s pieces and the artists skills in getting this piece right must of taken awhile but as you can see the bulldog itself is just exquisite.

I have another cabinet that holds all my English pieces and I have a smaller cabinet for all the German pieces and the reason for separate cabinets is not only for reference but these countries made so many it’s easier just to have them together like they are.

The other two main cabinets house all my metals and bronzes, and the other has a mish mash of antique pieces, including bulldog head inkwells from the 1860s (wooden treen pieces). I’m sorry but it doesn’t stop there!

I have four more cabinets where I store my miscellaneous pieces, and I’m in the middle of sorting out a cute curio with silver and glass bulldog pieces which I think will look great when done. So that’s the cabinets explained which leaves my silver collection, postcard collection, art collection, books, prints, club pieces and the list goes on….



My favourite pieces from all this has to be the pieces my daughter makes at school for me. She’s a little older now, so more socially inept, and spends most of her time with her friends but (in my about section) she appreciates why I’m doing this for her.




Apart from the collection, which I didn’t take seriously till a few years ago now, I would never of thought I would be the first in my field. Not only to put my collection online for all to see but also come up with what I think is a catchy name. I do apologise to folks for its length but it’s not a name that could be forgotten easy, and when you’re a show and tell site and not selling you need a good name to catch the eye of possible viewers.

The website just celebrated its first year online and also recently made over 50k viewers. We made the local news a little while back and a new form of the website is being created, which I hope brings in more viewers and showcases my collection even better.

Collectibulldogs is growing in popularity and I’ve unwittingly become an online influence with my self promoting my blogs and knowledge, and of course the people that are following me on social media. I hope that in the next coming year I can improve on my positive agenda and hope my venture continues to do well.




I love my new life in the antiques and bulldog world. I just wished I had started a lot longer ago now but, hey, I finally found my calling and enjoying every little achievement, affirmation, and the kindness of so many that have either found the spark again to collect or for those that have started a new collection from the inspiration behind collectibulldogs.



Not every piece I own is an antique but that’s what makes my collection so diverse and I’m hoping at least a few readers jump over and have a muse. I’m also available for any assistance to all collectors. I help research and even liquidate collections for ex collectors or those wishing to cash in on their pieces and my knowledge is varied but as like everybody else, I’m not a know it all, and sometimes I still get things wrong but I try my best and the collection speaks volumes as it wouldn’t be on my shelves if I had no knowledge to its background and price etc.



When we took the collection online there was a buzz and folks started asking for prices on my pieces and I did think about taking the collection down the retail route but then I wondered how I would restock on pieces so rare even I took awhile to find them. It was not till collectibulldogs lent a piece to the Brighton Toy Museum that it hit me!!!


The museum route is a much better way of not only preserving my pieces but an even better legacy to pass on and now I dream of opening a bulldog museum and gallery all of my very own and, if in time, the first in the UK. Pipe dreams aside, there is talk of an exhibition in my local museum. It will take a while to get installed but it’s an honour and a step in the right direction for us and, as my website will suggest, I’m just the caretaker here. The collection belongs to my lucky daughter and her future.

Click on this link to read Effion’s other blog about Collectibulldogs at the Brighton Museum.



Just before I go can I say there’s more to collectibulldogs than meets the eye we are to there to inspire as well as to help. I’ve had my fair share of hardships and know that being kind and selfless is the way to be, and by the correspondence we get its starting to happen so if you see one of my posts anywhere on social media give it a little like or share and do your bit to help me to help others.

Thank you again to Karen (my pleasure Eiffion!) for letting me into your lives and giving you a little insight into my adventure so far… If your mind is now intrigued, and you wish to see what I’ve been talking about, please may I invite you to check out, it really is a one of a kind and made solely by myself.

Until next time folks, enjoy life and happy collecting……

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Vinyl Record’s Manufacturing Process- Stage One: The Blank Acetate

Vinyl Record's Manufacturing Process

How We Get From Recording To Record – Stage 1: The Blank Acetate.

This is a really interesting and informative blog on Stage one of the Vinyl Record’s Manufacturing Process. The article is from this week’s guest blogger, Steve, from ‘Mullard Magic’ and ‘The Magic of Mullard‘. (Click on the names to take you through to his websites).

Vinyl Record’s Manufacturing Process Stage 1: The Blank Acetate

OK, so you have your master tape – check, so, how do we get from this to a vinyl record then? Let’s for the moment ignore the Direct Metal Master (DMM) process and stick with the more traditional blank acetate process, which starts with a circular aluminium blank of 2mm thick aluminium in a diameter choice of either 16. 12.5, 10.5 & 7.5 inches. This is taken and one side of it is mechanically polished until a 1P non directional polished reflective finish has been achieved.

Blank acetate
Aluminium acetate blank

Following polishing, the disc is carefully degreased using a three stage process that uses an ethoxylate surfactant aqueous wash, a water rinse and finally a polar organic solvent rinse to ensure the polished surface is scrupulously clean. After drying, the disc is placed shiny side up on a pedestal placed on a conveyer belt and sent through a curtain coater where a layer of nitro-cellulose lacquer is applied to the surface.

Curtain coat nitrocellulose lacquer
Curtain coat nitrocellulose lacquer

The nitrocellulose lacquer is rather similar to the cellulose paint that was used in the painting of cars (and still is by some of us classic car enthusiasts) but differs as it has a much higher loading of a proprietary plasticiser, based on an n- butyl phthalate admixture. In the early days, castor oil was used as a plasticiser but as this rapidly oxidised and as this mankiness progressed ( technical term!), the lacquer surface was marred by crazing and decomposed areas that looked as though they were mould riddled, so this didn’t last long.

The result of this application can be an absolutely exquisite coating which is even in thickness, mirror finished and beautiful to behold. To me, it really is a marvel of surface chemistry that man designed such a perfect coating system.

Coated Acetate
Coated Acetate

Following coating the polished aluminium blank is is then termed an ‘acetate’ which in itself is a misnomer, adopted from the early days of record pressing where the coating composed of an acetate material and the so produced ‘acetate’ was going to be used to make a shellac 78 record!.

Once coated, the ‘acetate’ went through a tunnel drier to set the lacquer surface and each one was 100% inspected by keen eyed QC staff and a reject rate of 50% was not uncommon.


inspecting coated remaster record acetate
inspecting coated remaster record acetate

The rejected acetates were recycled for further use, whereas, the approved items were fitted with a rim protector that allowed the acetates to be stored and stacked with a 1mm gap to prevent chafing and damage to the mirrored surface upon storage and transit.


Acetate rim protector
Acetate rim protector

The last stage was to centre the coated acetate on a hydraulic press and press a centre hole.

Punched acetate
Punched acetate

So there you have it! The first stage in a vinyl record’s manufacturing process. It’s pretty complex and now we know why vinyl is so expensive!

In the next blog entry on this subject, I’ll let you know what then happened to the acetates in the convoluted journey from recording to record!