Owner Safety
Written by Bryce Ringwood   

The main concerns with old radios are fire and electric shock hazards.

  • Most old radios are made of wood or bakelite - materials which can easily smoulder and catch fire.  Regardless of who has repaired/restored your radio, please bear this in mind. Never leave these old sets unattended. There are a number of components which can overheat and catch fire. If you smell burning, switch off, unplug and determine the cause - even if the set is apparently working.  The set must be repaired. You should have a CO2 extinguisher handy. Of course you must never use water to put out an electrical fire.
  • Safety standards of many old radio sets leave a lot to be desired. Many radios were built using an AC/DC principle, which made the chassis and knob spindles live to mains. These sets must be operated with a mains isolation transformer for safety, and the chassis should be earthed to ground. Please don't get grandad's old radio down from the attic and plug it in and switch it on - you or a member of your family may receive a nasty shock.

It doesn't do any harm to have a qualified electrician check your wiring from time to time.

Let's face it - battery operated transistor radios had a lot going for them in the safety department!

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