I’ve added a new radio to my collection, and I think I have a new favorite. This 1934 His Master’s Voice model 444 is a small 5-tube console with Medium-Wave (MW, also known as AM Broadcast) and Long-Wave bands in a beautiful art-deco cabinet.
This radio is originally British – how it ended up in the Pacific Northwest is anyone’s guess. It hasn’t been plugged in since moving here, though, as it has the original 220V plug installed with the pin ends snapped off. I’ll be replacing the power cord and installing a step-up transformer inside the cabinet to provide the right line voltage; tubes should be available on eBay and capacitors are the same in all countries. With only five tubes, it shouldn’t be a challenging repair.
His Master’s Voice, HMV, was the Commonwealth licensee of RCA’s trademarks, including the Nipper, but were never sold in the United States because of licensing issues – both companies couldn’t use the same trademark simultaneously.
His Master’s Voice lives on today as the HMV Group, a UK media retailer and artist/venue management firm directly descended from the record label and gramophone producer of the 1920s-1950s. They’ve even updated Nipper to keep up with changing times. I kind of like it.