A Fully Operational Art Deco Bakelite Murphy SAD94S Vintage Radio


Origin: English
Period: Art Deco
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1940
Height: 13 inches
Width: 12.5 inches
Depth: 7 inches

Highly arresting, the cabinet of rectangular moulded form with ribbed speaker, and designed by Eden Minns F.S.I.A., this vintage radio is an extremely desirable and functional piece of Art Deco ware.

The AD94 is especially significant as it was the first Bakelite cabinet with the moulding by de la Rue and was the final new set of the year in 1940. The black and white motif is provided by the highlights, scale, speaker silk and knobs. Underneath the beautifully ribbed speaker is the attractive off white dial over three knobs, one for on/off volume, the middle for tuning and the last for the wave range.

The unit cost £9 10s 0d at the time of release, and then in 1943, £11 17s 6d plus purchase tax. With one pound in 1940 now widely rated as roughly equivalent to about 40 to 45 pounds in today’s currency, this radio could have only been affordable to those in higher circles.

Not happy with just being a beautiful decorative object, this Murphy has been overhauled by a vintage radio specialist with a mains flex added, meaning it can be enjoyed in the British home today. Additionally, the radio comes with a manual and the recent repair work is guaranteed for 6 months.

Eden Minns F.S.I.A. was Head of the Cabinet Design Department. He trained as an architect, and subsequently joined the famous furniture firm of Gordon Russell Ltd of Broadway, Worcestershire, with whom he was engaged on furniture designing. From 1936 to 1939 he was designing Murphy cabinets for R. D. Russell in London. His first Murphy design was the B33 and was responsible for such outstanding cabinets as the A40C, A40RG, A42V, and of course this, the AD94. Later, he designed many of the early war-period cabinets. He then served War service in the Fleet Air Arm and in aircraft carriers. Minns then returned to Murphy radio on the last day of 1945, and quickly added to his already considerable reputation in the field of industrial design.

Murphy Radio itself was a British manufacturer of radios and televisions based in Welwyn Garden City, England. Founded in 1929 by Frank Murphy and E.J. Power as a volume manufacturer of home radio sets, they started with less than 100 employees. The original Murphy Radio company played an important role during World War II, designing and manufacturing radio sets for British Armed Forces use - chief amongst these being 'Wireless Set No. 38'. Murphy himself left the company during 1937 and went on to found another company called, perhaps unwisely, 'FM Radio'. He died aged 65, in 1955.

This radio is a tribute to Murphy, and of course to Minns, effortlessly bringing together an integration of high quality furniture design and craft techniques leaving us with a simply sublime piece providing both aesthetic and audible pleasure.