Bell Mantle Radios
Bell introduced low cost mantle radios in 1948. The very competative prices generated an enormous interest in the market which drove Bell into a leading position. The cabinets were made of Phenolic plastic using dies from an Australian model called Airzone (1928-1955). The Colt model was in production until about 1970 by which time it was transistorised and manufactured by Consolidated Electronic Industries Ltd. The Explorer was a shortwave receiver and the Champ a 3 valve version with solid state rectifier. All in the same cabinet.
From after WWII till the mid 1050s Battery /A.C. portable radios were the big thrust.
The first portables made by Antone/Bell were introduced in 1948 under the brand Antone. These were phased out in 1951 replaced with the Bell line. Early Antone cabinets were shared by other manufacturers of the time.
Bell Record Players
Bell manufactured portable record players from the mid 1950's using designs like the popular Dansette from the UK. These were initially monoural but as stereo was introduced in late 50's they encorporating dual stereo speakers.
Before the advent of television in 1960 radiograms were the big seller. Many companies were in this market with various combinations of features. Initially the models were mono but as stereo was introduced after 1958 most models were enabled with twin speakers and stereo pickups. Some models included a 1/4inch, open-reel, magnetic tape recorder which was popular because it was able to record music from the radio.
Televisions were the major production from the 1960's onward.
Circuit variants TV1, TV2, TV3, TV203 and TV204 were Bell designed while TV201 and TV202 were Philips acquired through EDAC the local Philips importer.
The metal chassis and components were made by Precision Press Products, a Bell owned company, while the plastic face and other parts were injection molded locally.
- Belinda, Tele-Stereogram, Belcourt, Belgravia, Bellavista
With the introduction of products based on General Yaou components, the transistor based portable radio line expanded significantly. At the time Japan was producing transistor portables of infinite variety and the market was growing fast.
- Pocket T6, Clive, Grant, TR-603AC
This Bell made, General branded radiogram was now competing with the Tv products in the market.
The General branded radios introduced in 1963 presented a whole new line of smart products. Bell's vastly expanded facilities at 274 Dominion Road produced these radios together with Tvs in a continuous flow process.
- Cromwell, Gordon, Kitchener, La Fayette, Marlborough, Sherman, Wellington
General Record Players
While the small portable gramaphones and radio grams were re-badged General, they had been produced as Bell products since the late 1950s. Wooden cabinets covered with vinyl and gold braid. They were a very successful product. Later modes were transistor and able to operate on both mains and battery.
- Wavell, Pershing, Lee
Bell sold a couple of different walkie talkie (citizen band) portable transceivers. There is no indication of how well these products did in the market. The Bell-Pace model shown here was seen in a second-hand store.
Test Instruments and Tools
In the late 1950s Bell designed and manufactured 100 oscilloscopes for in-house use with Tv alignment.