Today, I had a lovely e-mail from Christo in South Africa who needed some help in getting his prized radiogram working. Unfortunately, I was unable to help but was able to comment "WHAT A RADIOGRAM!" and I think, as this blog entry progresses, you will see why!
The radiogram appears to be a SA home market only item, made by Mullard and termed the Voortrekker, only 54 of these leviathans were ever built and the famous Afrikaans short story writer Jan Sebastian Rabie (14 November 1920 - 15 November 2001) had one. Anyhow, enough waffle, here's the beast:-
Christo is trying to restore the radiogram and needs advice on the turntable which I cannot identify and the Ortofon arm/cartridge combination so if any of you can help, then please get in touch and I can put you into contact with Christo directly.
From contemporary advertisements, the radiogram was marketed as the Voortrekker:-
Not surprisingly, you can see why, because this supreme piece of architectural furniture looks just like the Voortrekker Monument outside Pretoria:-
The Voortrekker Monument was completed in 1949 in celebration of the Great Trek in which farmers of mainly Dutch origin emigrated from the eastern frontier region of the Cape Colony, to the inland regions of the current South Africa, between 1835 and 1854. Inside is a marble frieze containing a sequence of 27 panels and at the centre of the monument is the cenotaph which bears the inscription "We for thee, South Africa". An opening in the dome atop the monument is positioned so that every year at noon on the 16th of December a beam of sunlight illuminates the cenotaph. Surrounding the monument is a circular wall with reliefs representing 64 wagons pulled into a circle.
And now, I think we have come nearly full circle with this story and I have to admit that I know little of the South African subsidiary of Mullard even though I retain a massive archive of Mullard material, however, I was interested to note that ...... at 122 Voortrekker Road, Goodwood, Western Cape, South Africa, a company called Mullard Radio & TV Services are still plying their trade - how about that for a coincidence and yes, we have a photo of their shop too:-