Defiant Radio Model MSH938
Defiant first started producing radio receivers in about 1935. It is said that the brand came about due to a dispute between the Co-Op and the rest of the radio retail industry. At that time the retail price of receivers was fixed by manufacturers, and no dealer was allowed to sell a receiver for less than price determined by the manufacturer. The Co-Op wasn't selling sets for less than the agreed price, but the Co-Op did award a "dividend" to customers every six months, and it was felt that this constituted a discount. The disagreement was not resolved, and eventually the Co-Op decided to have radios made for them so that they could determine the price they might be sold at in their own stores. The cabinets (when wooden) where often made by CWS furniture, and the chassis often made by Plessey. The brand name "Defiant" was chosen, as the Co-Op felt they had "defied" the radio industry by having radios made for them rather than yield to threats and demands.
Most radios made under the Defiant brand name were fairly bland and uninteresting, but with a couple of notable exceptions. The M900 is without doubt the most desirable. Made in 1935 it came in a bakelite cabinet with curves, recesses and right angles everywhere. Then there is the MSH938........
Shown above is the "Superlative" MSH938. That word is the opening line of the description in the Co-Op brochure for this model, but it does deserve it. This receiver is thought to be the largest table radio ever made for the U.K. market at 31" x 20" x 13". It offered motorised tuning with motorised waveband switching, utilising (as would be expected) the Plessey system. This receiver made a real feature of pushbuttons, even tone control was by pushbutton. The pushbutton tone control was rather bordering on the gimmicky though, the possible selection being: "Decrease Treble", "Decrease Base", "Increase Treble", and "Increase Base" across four buttons. It looks as though Defiant were determined to use pushbuttons wherever possible, since it would have been more effective and cheaper to simply provide a variable control. It appears that there is only one knob control, that of the tuning, but that is not the case. A concentrically mounted lever around the tuning knob facilitates variable volume control. One suspects Defiant might even have considered employing pushbuttons to increase volume! Either side of the tuning knob are two pushbuttons that allow "motor-cruising" to tune around the massive dial. The bank of 12 pushbuttons in a row is for station selection, and selecting bands such as TV Sound, SW, SSW. To the left are four further pushbuttons for LW, MW, GRAM etc. This all makes for a total of 22 pushbuttons for this receiver, a record for a U.K. receiver I'd say. Just in case you are in a doubt about the size of the set, the picture below shows a standard drinking mug in front of the receiver.
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