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nuclear stuff?

Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acoustic Coupler

Advance PP5 Stabilised PSU

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa LX-110 Linear Turntable

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Alcatel Minitel 1 Videotex

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

Amstrad NC100 Notepad

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Avia Electronic Watch

Aitron Wrist Radio

Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

Audiotronic LSH 80 'Phones

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Baygen Freeplay Lantern

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT Genie Phone

Cambridge Z88 Computer

Candlestick Telephone

Canon Ion RC-260 Camera

Cartex TX-160 Multiband Radio

Casio VL-Tone Keyboard

CD V-700 Geiger Counter

CD V-715 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 Cine

Citizen Soundwich Radio Watch

Citizen ST555 Pocket TV

Clairtone Mini Hi Fi Radio

CocaCola Keychain Camera

Coke Bottle AM Radio

Commodore 64 Home PC

Commodore PET 2001-N

Computer Novelty AM/FM Radio

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Eagle International Loudhailer

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

Ericsson Ericofon Cobra Phone

Etalon Luxor Light Meter

Euromarine Radiofix Mk 5

Exactus Mini Add Calculator

Fairylight Morse Set

FEP Microphone & Earphone

Ferguson FC08 Camcorder

Ferguson FHSC 1 Door Cam

Fi-Cord 101 Tape Recorder

Fi-Cord 202 Tape Recorder

Fidelity HF42 Record Player

Fisher-Price 826 Cassette

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

Gaertner Pioneer Geiger Counter

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

General Radiological NE 029-02

Giant Light Bulbs

Giant Watch-Shaped  Radio

Gowlland Auriscope

GPO Headset No. 1

GPO Keysender No 5

GPO RAF Microphone No. 3

GPO Telephone Series 300

GPO Telephone Type 746

GPO 12B/1 Test Meter

GPO Trimphone

GPO Ring Microphone No 2

Gramdeck Tape Recorder

Grandstand Video Console

Grundig EN3 Dictation

Grundig Memorette

H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harvard Batalion Radio

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hero HP-101 Intercom

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

James Bond TV Watch

Jasa AM Wristwatch Radio

Juliette LT-44 Tape Recorder

Jupiter FC60 Radio

JVC GR-C1 Camcorder

JVC GX-N7E Video Camera



King Folding Binoculars

Kodak Brownie Starflash

Kodak 56X Instamatic

Kodak 100 Instamatic

Kodak EK2 'The Handle'

Kodak EK160 Instant Camera

Kodak Pony 135

Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-88 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-90 Geiger Count

Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

Magnetic Core Memory 4kb

Marlboro Giant  AM Radio

Mattel Intellivision

Maxcom Cordless Phone

McArthur Microscope OU

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Micronta 3001 Metal Detector

Microphax Case II Fiche

Mini Com Walkie Talkies

Minolta 10P 16mm Camera

Minolta-16 II Sub Min Camera

Minolta XG-SE 35mm SLR

Minolta Weathermatic-A

Minox B Spy Camera

Mohawk Chief Tape Recorder

Motorola 5000X Bag Phone

Motorola 8500X ‘Brick’

Motorola Micro TAC Classic

MPMan MP-F20 MP3 Player

Music Man Talking Radio

Mystery Microphone

Nagra SN Tape Recorder

National Hyper BII Flashgun

National RQ-115 Recorder

NatWest 24 Hour Cashcard


Widget Of The Week

EMS Stammering Treatment Oscillator, 1969?

This is now officially the weirdest object in the dustygizmos collection. It’s a Stammering Treatment Oscillator and, according to a tiny logo on the front panel, it was made by a company called EMS, probably during the late 1960s or early 70s. Unfortunately I have been unable to find any evidence that this device ever existed, anywhere, but if, as seems possible, EMS stands for Electronic Music Systems, then it has a great pedigree. This British company pioneered electronically generated music and early synthesisers, including the legendary VCS3. Sadly EMS folded in 1979 and attempts to contact those involved have proved fruitless, so far.

So what precisely is a Stammering Treatment Oscillator? Some of what follows is conjecture but there are several references to the use of low frequency sounds in the treatment of speech defects. The idea appears to be that carefully selected tones mask the patient’s ability to hear their own voice, which presumably helps in some way to overcome a stammer. However the devices described in the patents I have seen are considerably more sophisticated than this one, usually with multiple oscillators and additional features for automatically varying the frequency and inserting pauses and ‘metronome’ type beats into the audio output.


This device has a simple oscillator, amplifier and a headphone output on the front panel – and this, plus the build quality fits in with the renowned EMS being the most likely manufacturer. However, there is some additional circuitry, which is a bit of a mystery. It appears to be configured to generate a high voltage, which is fed to a second front panel socket, marked PB. This resonates with something that the chap who sold it to me said. He had no idea of how it worked but he claimed that the person who be got it from reckoned that it was designed to give the patient a shock, presumably to act as a deterrent, or diversion, to their stammering.


It sounds vaguely plausible. Electric shock treatment has, and still is used for a wide variety of complaints and maladies, including pain suppression. True, in times past it had a poor reputation as a dangerous quack remedy but nowadays it is quite respectable and not as barbaric as it sounds. You can even buy a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine in your local high-street pharmacist. These deliver a safe low-current, high-voltage, high frequency shock to the skin. The jury is still out on its efficacy but at the very least it takes user's minds off their aches and pains.


But back to the EMS box of tricks and the oscillator part. This is fairly straightforward; it’s a two transistor multivibrator circuit that generates a square wave tone of between 100 to 500Hz – there’s a control on the front panel -- which goes through some simple filtering and wave shaping circuitry. From there it is passes into a two-transistor push-pull amplifier that is connected to a headphone socket on the front panel, and a small built-in speaker mounted on the underside of the case. The purpose of the mystery circuit is a little harder to figure out. It looks a lot like a blocking oscillator, which is basically a transistor, a few other simple parts and the windings of a small step-up transformer, which together generates a high voltage. That theory is backed up by the presence of a neon bulb, inside the case mounted on the back of the circuit board. It cannot be seen from the outside so it’s of no use as an indicator, but it may be acting as a voltage regulator (neon bulbs typically ‘strike’ around 90 volts). If so it would limit the output to a high enough voltage to deliver a very lively tingle, but hopefully not enough to do any permanent damage…


This is all highly speculative of course so I would really welcome any experts in this field, or anyone associated with EMS to get in touch and either put me right, or point me in the right direction.


Unfortunately at this point it is not possible to say exactly what it does.. It’s as dead as a doornail and some rudimentary circuit checks suggested that at least two of the transistors are kaput. The electrolytic capacitors are also likely to be shot, or leaky, so they will have to be replaced as well. Old transformers and neon bulbs can be quite fragile and not having a circuit diagram is a major headache. It should be possible to reverse-engineer one but that it going to take time. On the plus side major components, like the germanium transistors, helps to date it to somewhere between the late 60s and early 70s. The wire wrap on matrix board construction is fairly easy to deal with when it comes to troubleshooting, and it’s typical of short production run items from that period. It’s also really robust and very well made so there is unlikely to be any serious wiring faults or dry joints. The steel case is built to last and in great condition, in fact the only thing missing is the Ever Ready 126 4.5volt battery packs, which are no longer made but modern (expensive) replacements are still available and it can easily be powered from a bench power supply.


I found it at a large open-air antiques fair in the Midlands; it was one of those cold and windy days when prices for oddities like this can be all over the place. The stallholder didn’t seem to be particularly attached to it and we both agreed that his opening price of £10 was a tad optimistic so we settled on a fiver. It was more or less as you see it now. There had been some corrosion around the battery holder but this cleaned up easily. It’s going to take a while to sort out the electronics but it’s definitely worth fixing, if only to discover what it actually does.    


What Happened To It?

There were a lot of weird things going on in the sixties and seventies but my guess is that if electric shocks were ever a treatment for stammering, it wasn’t very successful, judging by the lack of references to it in modern journals. Modern speech therapies appear to concentrate on the underlying causes, in conjunction with vocal exercises, breathing techniques and so on, rather than pills and potions, or electric shocks.


Devices like this would not have been made in large numbers nor would many of them have them been kept by clinics and practitioners – this might even be the only one. Unfortunately that has little or no impact on what it is worth. I’ve put it at £10, based largely on the value of the case and the working parts inside. It might be more, especially if there’s anyone out there mad enough to collect vintage speech therapy devices, but if there is, they’re staying well hidden…


First seen          1969?

Original Price   £ probably a lot!

Value Today     £10? (0116)

Features           Variable frequency oscillator 100 – 500Hz, high voltage generator, audio amplifier, 8 transistors, built in speaker, headphone output, PB (?) connection, on/off volume control

Power req.                   2 x Ever Ready 126 4.5 volt battery packs

Dimensions:                  224 x 160 x 150mm

Weight:                         2.5kg

Made (assembled) in:    England

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):  9




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NOA FM Wireless Intercom

Nokia 9210 Communicator

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Olympia DG 15 S Recorder

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Panda & Bear Radios

Panasonic AG-6124 CCTV VCR

Panasonic EB-2601 Cellphone

Panasonic RS-600US

Parrot RSR-423 Recorder

Pentax Asahi Spotmatic SLR

Philatector Watermark Detector

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Pye 114BQ Portable Radio

Rabbit Telepoint Phone

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Radofin Triton Calculator

Raytheon Raystar 198 GPS

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ReVox A77 Tape Recorder

Roberts R200 MW/LW Radio

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Sanyo G2001 Music Centre

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Satellite AM/FM Radio

Satvrn TDM-1200 Sat Box

Science Fair 65 Project Kit

Seafix Radio Direction Finder

Seiko EF302 Voicememo

Seiko James Bond TV Watch

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Shackman Passport Camera

Sharp CT-660 Talking Clock

Shira WT106 Walkie Talkies

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Shogun Music Muff

Simpson 389 Ohmmeter

Sinclair Calculator

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Sinclair FM Radio Watch

Sinclair FTV1 Pocket TV

Sinclair Micro-6 Radio

Sinclair Micromatic Radio

Sinclair MTV1A Micovision TV

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Sinclair PDM-35 Multimeter

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Sinclair X1 Burtton Radio

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Sinclair ZX81

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Sony Betamovie BMC-200

Sony CFS-S30 'Soundy'

Sony DD-8 Data Discman

Sony CM-H333 Phone

Sony CM-R111 Phone

Sony FD-9DB Pocket TV

Sony MDR3 Headphones

Sony MVC-FD71 Digicam

Sony TC-50 Recorder

Sony TC-55 Recorder

Sony Walkman TPS-L2

Sony Rec Walkman WM-R2

Speedex Hit Spy Camera

Standard Slide Rule

Starlite Pocket Mate Tape

Staticmaster Static Brush

Steepletone MBR7 Radio

Stuzzi 304B Memocorder


Talkboy Tape Recorder

Taylor Barograph

Tasco SE 600 Microscope

Technicolor Portable VCR

Telephone 280 1960

Telex MRB 600 Headset

Thunderbirds AM Can Radio

Tinico Tape Recorder

Tokai TR-45 Tape Recorder

Tomy Electronic Soccer

Toshiba HX-10 MSX Computer

Triumph CTV-8000 5-inch TV

TTC C1001 Multimeter

Uher 400 RM Report Monitor

Vanity Fair Electron Blaster

Vextrex Video Game

VideoPlus+ VP-181 Remote

Vidor Battery Radio

View-Master Stereo Viewer

Vivalith 301 Heart Pacemaker

VTC-200 Video Tape Cleaner

Waco Criuser AM Radio

Waco TV Slide Lighter

Wallac Oy RD-5 Geiger Counter

W E Co Folding Phone

White Display Ammeter

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