Autocrat Radio Ltd actually started in 1946 as Benson & Wills. All they did was make car radios. For about the first 15 years, that's all they made! For the first few years, they had the market to themselves, as no other manufacturers were making car radios. In 1949 they changed their Company name to Autocrat. About then, some smaller companies started making car radios, too. All of Autocrat's radios were valve based until they produced their first "transistorised" model in 1957. This was actually a 4 valve set that also used just 1 transistor. Autocrat continued to be the largest manufacturer of car radios.
About 1960 they branched out into other radio areas, including stereo radiograms etc. And a little later, transistor portables. I remember they also distributed Sanyo radios. I believe they made them here, under license.
The Stereo shown here was bought by my parents about 1961. I assume they got an Autocrat as we all knew one of the "higher-ups" at Autocrat. It's never missed a beat since, although it used to get a lot of hard work from me, as a teenager, and older, for many years. It still has all its original bits.
I recently connected up the portable CD Player seen on top of the left speaker, and played it for some hours while working on other radios. I was surprised at the quality of the sound, especially the amount of bass it was pumping out, using the original 8 inch Rola speakers. For some time, when I was younger, I had fitted some English Richard Allen speakers into the boxes in place of the Rolas, for even better sound. From memory I think they were 10 inch speakers. I guess I must have eventually sold them, although I don't actually remember doing so! However, I do remember now, why I used to thrash it so much all those years ago!
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