Old At Heart





Valve Radio

Crystal Sets








Junior visits Grandad

Junior was visiting Grandad one day. Daddy was looking at some of Grandad's old furniture, when he told Junior that Grandad used to make radios and things.

That's where it all began.

Junior had just been given a mobile 'phone for his birthday, and asked granddad if he had made telephones as well. "Not really", said Grandad. "I did work on some things that were used with mobile 'phones, and part of a 'phone that never was built, but by the time things like your phone, with all sorts of funny bits like cameras and stuff were made, I had retired".

Secretly, Junior knew that Grandad didn't even have a mobile 'phone. But, although Grandad pretended that he couldn't work these things, Junior knew that granddad was not as stupid as he made out. He just didn't want a mobile phone, that was all.

Grandad's TelephoneJunior couldn't help looking over at the telephone that Grandad used. It looked very old.
"Does it work?" he asked.
"Try it and see!" replied Grandad.
So junior tried the phone.

Later that day, Daddy told Junior that Grandad had lots of old things that he had kept from years and years ago; old wireless sets that he had made, as well as newer things.

The next time that they visited Grandad, Junior asked to see some of the old things that Grandad had kept.

"You don't want to see that old junk," said Grandad, but Junior was interested in it. Although Junior liked to use all the things at home, he knew from School that there was a time, long before he was born, when there was no colour television and no mobile 'phones. "What was there before colour television?" he asked Grandad. "Well," replied Grandad, "It depends how long before colour television you mean. It isn't so long ago that there was only monochrome television, we called it 'black and white' but it did all shades of grey as well. Before that there was no television at all, and people only had the wireless to listen to."
"What's the wireless?" asked Junior, interested in how people could live with no television.

"Wireless," said Grandad, "was the early name for radio. People would listen to their favourite programmes at work and at home. There was a lot of choice of things to listen to then, not like these days when it always seems to be that pop music that young people seem to like."

"But not very long before that, there was not even any wireless. People were very excited when the BBC first started to transmit programmes. Many people bought wireless sets to listen to the programmes, but some of us wanted to know more about how it worked. We built our own crystal sets and one-valvers so that we could learn more about this clever and wonderful thing."

Daddy said "But whatever did everyone do before even wireless? Surely they didn't just sit aound twiddling their fingers in the evenings?"

"Ah," said Grandad, "They made their own amusement. People used to read books, or make things, or play music, or talk to one another."

"But what if they didn't want to read, or make things?" asked Junior. "Not everyone can play a musical instrument."

"No, and not everyone had the chance to do these things," said Grandad. "Richer people could buy a piano, or a gramophone. Some people even had pianos that could play themselves."

"I was looking at your piano," said Junior "and it has a funny panel at the front that slides along. There's a sort of shiny bar inside. Is that a piano that can play itself?"
"Yes, it is," replied Grandad. "It's a Pianola, and it can play music that's put onto special rolls of paper."

"Ooooh, Let's see it now," said Junior. "Will you show me some of your other old things; your wireless sets and stuff?"

Grandad thought about it for a while. "Yes, I will," he replied. "Most of it is packed away at the moment, because Grandma says it's old junk. She would like me to throw it all away, but we agreed that I'll keep it out of her way instead. Give me a couple of weeks and I'll see what I can find."

So Junior went home looking forward to seeing the things that Grandad had put away. He couldn't imagine what the things would be like. He couldn't imagine what life was like without television to watch when he came home from School. He knew that it was going to be very interesting to see what had changed, within his granddad's lifetime, that had made it possible to have radio and television in his home.

To see what Junior was shown, just click on the links at the left, or on the little pictures of the things that Grandad had collected.