Thursday, September 15, 2005
Wind-Up Radios - 10 Years On
Both in Berlin (IFA) and Amsterdam (IBC) I saw some new wind-up radios. This week is actually historic because 10 years ago on Monday Trevor Baylis, of what was called Baygen (Baylis Generators) launched his first wind-up radio at IBC. He used the same spring you find inside a car safety belt to power his sets. The radios were made in Capetown, South Africa for quite a years by a factory employing mainly disabled people. However import tariffs and duties inside Africa meant that it soon became un-economic to continue to make the wind-up radios in Capetown. At that point, Trevor and the Freeplay organisation parted company.
Now the spring method seems to have been replaced by a wind-up battery charger in most variations….people like Grundig North America (now branded as Eton), make one….I like this range of radios because it comes with a set of chords to charge the phone with the radio, as well as having an inbuilt light.
The Tangogroup, who now own the Freeplay licence told me last month they are launching a wind-up DAB radio called DEVO in October 2005. I have only got a picture. One 60 second wind will work for an hour on FM, but only 3-5 minutes on DAB. If it is true they should do a deal with Telsell and market it alongside the body trainers!