In pictures: Bangalore’s radio museum with vintage models from the pre-World War II era

In pictures: Bangalore’s radio museum with vintage models from the World War II era

In pictures: Bangalore’s radio museum with vintage models from the pre-World War II era 30 stades

Passion is energy. It gives meaning to life. Uday Kalburgi, a telecom engineer, is passionate about collecting and restoring vintage radios. His love for rare, old videos began sometime in the 1980s and culminated in the Short Wave Radio museum in Bangalore, which Kalburgi unveiled this year on February 13 – World Radio Day. 

Located in Karnataka’s Basaveshwaranagar, the museum is home to radios made in Germany, the USA, Netherlands, and the UK among other countries. Some of them go back to World War II that lasted from 1939 to 1945. 

“I decided to set up a museum to spread awareness among youngsters about the glorious days of the radio, which was at one point the window to the world, providing both news and entertainment,” Kalburgi says.

“I used to go every Sunday to the chor bazaar and pick up rare and unique radios, only collectables, sold by scrap dealers,” he says.

Also See: Kashmir’s beauty in pictures in times of Coronavirus

The museum takes down the memory lane those in their 60s and above. “The older generation still fondly remembers the radio days. They visit the museum and discuss the glory of radios,” says Kalburgi, a telecom engineer.

Out of the 150 plus radios in Kalburgi’s collection, 110 radios have been displayed in the museum. All the radios have been restored.

“Each radio has a story to tell. Back in time, radio was the only source of entertainment at home. It was the window to the world; people would buy radios with their hard-earned money. Now with the new technology at our fingertips, these radios are scrapped and destroyed,” he says.

“I intend to tell the people that please preserve them if you have one; give it space, get it restored and feel the sentiments of those bygone days. This way you respect your elders too.”

Kalburgi has been appreciated for his efforts by Sri Padmanabha Varma of the Travancore Royal Family. “His Highness is a fan of radios and I had restored a rare radio Pilot G774B USA, made in the year 1934. He inaugurated my museum and gifted me the same radio,” he says with a smile.

Also See: Aranmula Kannadi: How tech-savvy GenNext is preserving Kerala’s 500-year-old metal mirror craft

The museum also houses collectables associated with radios.

“I have a few Morse code keys going back to 1915, a 1930s Office communication system and few rare vales of the 1920s.”

Kalburgi’s other passions are gramophones and aircraft. “I do aeromodelling (design, development and flying of small air vehicles) and I have 12 aircraft with radio control. Very interesting hobby, but now it is difficult to get permission to fly,” says Kalburgi, whose radio dream has found wings through the museum. There is no entry fee for visiting the place. Kalburgi’s vintage radios in pictures here:

  Emor Radio Company, Londons' globe radio (1946-47) was designed by Mechal Rabinowicz.  It is operated by turning the whole body. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
 Emor Radio Company, Londons’ globe radio (1946-47) was designed by Mechal Rabinowicz. It is operated by turning the whole body. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
Compact radio model made by Mullard Wireless of London. Year: 1940. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
A 1930-make radio, manufactured by Westinghouse, USA. It has no permanent magnet on speaker. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
A 1930-make radio, manufactured by Westinghouse, USA. It has no permanent magnet on speaker. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
hilips 170A model, designed for cost effective communication during the Second World War. Made in Netherlands. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
Philips 170A model, designed for cost effective communication during the Second World War. Made in Netherlands. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
HMV 5201, Manufacturer:  His Master's Voice, London; year - 1947. Table top model. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
HMV 5201, Manufacturer: His Master’s Voice, London; year – 1947. Table top model. Pic: Uday Kalburgi 
R 1155 Military Radio was a British communication receiver fitted inside large aircraft during World War II. This piece in the picture was manufactured by Marconi. Many of these radios were modified for private use after the war. Pic: Uday Karburgi.
R 1155 Military Radio was a British communication receiver fitted inside large aircraft during World War II. This piece in the picture was manufactured by Marconi. Many of these radios were modified for private use after the war. Pic: Uday Kalburgi.
HMV 5112, made by His Master’s Voice, UK. The model has an unusual tuning scale with four louvred strips of glass (one for each of the wavebands covered) with the loudspeaker mounted behind. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
PE49G was especially made for use in tropics. Manufactured in 1947 by UK's Pye Ltd. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
PE49G was especially made for use in tropics. Manufactured in 1947 by UK’s Pye Ltd. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
B4CA67A model of Philips India; Year 1959; made in Calcutta (now Kolkata).  After the Second World War, Philips started manufacturing radios in Calcutta.  Pic: Uday Kalburgi
B4CA67A model of Philips India; Year 1959; made in Calcutta (now Kolkata). After the Second World War, Philips started manufacturing radios in Calcutta. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
Graetz Super 260WT, made by Graetz in Germany in 1941-42. It was widely used by the German Army Officers during the World War II. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
Graetz Super 260WT, made by Graetz in Germany in 1941-42. It was widely used by the German Army Officers during the World War II. Pic: Uday Kalburgi
Marconi 71, manufactured in 1948 by Marconi Co., UK. The model is in a Bakelite casing. Pic: Uday Kalburgi.
Marconi 71, manufactured in 1948 by Marconi Co., UK. The model is in a Bakelite casing. Pic: Uday Kalburgi.
The museum is Kalburgi's passion project. There is no entry fee for visiting it. Pic Uday Kalburgi
The museum is Kalburgi’s passion project. There is no fee for visitors. Pic Uday Kalburgi

(Sravasti Datta is a Bengaluru-based independent journalist, who writes art, culture and human interest stories)

Also Read: In pictures: the deafening silence of Mumbai during lockdown

Look up our YouTube channel

Support 30 Stades


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *