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Saucepan Special J SW only

Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1391244) Radio
Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1389407) Radio Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1369030) Radio
Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1389409) Radio Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1369695) Radio
Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1369067) Radio Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 407076) Radio
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Saucepan Special J; Ever Ready Co. GB (ID = 1389407) Radio
Ever Ready Co. GB: Saucepan Special J [Radio] ID = 1389407 933x1030
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For model Saucepan Special J SW only, Ever Ready Co. (GB) Ltd.; London:
Photo snapped by guest Dr. Rosaleen Smyth from 'Lusaka Calling' (dir. Louis Nell), prod. Central African Film Unit, Zambia, 725 ft, colour, sound, 1949., DVD transfer. (by permission). The Australian National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra is the only place known outside Zimbabwe's archives which have a copy of the film.They have it on 16mm and DVD.
Country:  Great Britain (UK)
Manufacturer / Brand:  Ever Ready Co. (GB) Ltd.; London
Year: 1949 Category: Broadcast Receiver - or past WW2 Tuner
Valves / Tubes 4: DK91 DF91 DAF91 DL92
Main principle Superheterodyne (common)
Wave bands Short Wave (SW only)
Power type and voltage Dry Batteries
Loudspeaker Permanent Magnet Dynamic (PDyn) Loudspeaker (moving coil) / Ø 5 inch = 12.7 cm
Power out
from Model: Saucepan Special J [SW only] - Ever Ready Co. GB Ltd.; London
Material Metal case
Shape Miscellaneous shapes - described under notes.
Dimensions (WHD) 9 x 9 x 5.25 inch / 229 x 229 x 133 mm

SW only 25 - 90 m. Designed for the African market, tropicalised insect-proof cabinet, aluminium (as it is rust and termite proof) sprayed blue (Allegedly research had shown that Africans were superstitious about almost every other colour, but there is no evidence of this) possibly because the Ever Ready battery packs are blue, though later BEREC packs were sold. The  9"  diameter cabinet was made by the London Aluminium Saucepan Company.

Most probably distributed by BEREC, the Ever Ready Exporting subsidiary. See also later model adding MW(BC) to the SW. Probably didn't use the pictured B136, but either a B103, AD3 or custom battery pack branded BEREC. 

Another photo seems to show the front panel as separate and a lighter tone.

The BEREC "Saucepan Special" versions J-A3F (SW only) and J-A4F (MW & SW) Exhibited in 1954 used BEREC branded B103 Combo pack

The rear cover has no grills or holes other than

  • Hole for 4 power wires and aerial cable
  • Two cable clips (for winding up aerial wire?)
  • Central knured Earth nut holds panel on a strip/bracket on chassis to aid position while fitting the three screws on rear edge of case.

The cabinet as only two feet, at the front.

The cream undercoat is masked from final coat at volume/on-off to indicate if off or on (vertical up is off rather than the normal 270 degrees).

Price in first year of sale 6.25 GBP
Source of data Radio! Radio!

Model page created by Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014. See "Data change" for further contributors.

All listed radios etc. from Ever Ready Co. (GB) Ltd.; London
Here you find 204 models, 144 with images and 92 with schematics for wireless sets etc. In French: TSF for Télégraphie sans fil.


Forum contributions about this model
Ever Ready Co. GB: Saucepan Special J
Threads: 2 | Posts: 7
Hits: 1415     Replies: 0
ever: J; Saucepan Special on Film
Michael Watterson

There is a 35mm Colour Film with sound of the Saucepan Special made in 1949.

Lusaka Calling
(dir. Louis Nell), prod. Central African Film Unit, Zambia, 725 ft, colour, sound, 1949.

The Australian National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra is the only place I know outside Zimbabwe's archives which have a copy of the film.They have it on 16mm and DVD. Here are three of my efforts to snap stills from the DVD.

Information with thanks from Dr. Rosaleen Smyth.

She also writes:

The content of these films gives a good overview of key aspects of the post war mass
education/community development programs and campaigns. Nyono Gets A Letter,
Nyono’s wife is about to give birth to her first child at a time when Nyono has to leave
the village and go to work on road construction for the Northern Rhodesian Public Works
Department. A mass literacy instructor arrives in the village and Agnes learns to read
Mutende (the government newspaper for Africans) to the other patients and to write to
her worried husband to announce the birth of their child. Husbands and Wives describes a community development project –the area school at Katete in Northern Rhodesia –
where residential schools are given in carpentry, road- building and mass literacy
supervision; the wives had classes in beadwork, knitting and home craft. Lusaka Calling
(1950?)is a promotional film for the “Saucepan Special”, ‘the people’s radio of Central
Africa’. This radio once celebrated in a Ripley’s ‘Believe it or Not cartoon’ in the
Sunday Express was designed to enable the Africans of Northern Rhodesia, Southern
Rhodesia and Nyasaland to listen to Lusaka’s Central African Broadcasting Station
(CABS), the first radio station in Africa designed exclusively for Africans. The scheme
came about as a result of the initiative of Harry Franklin, Northern Rhodesian
Information Officer who obtained financial assistance from Colonial Development and
Welfare funds, technical advice from the BBC and the cooperation of Ever Ready in
Britain to research and develop the idea of a cheap, short - wave, dry cell battery
receiver. [45]

The CABS staff (bothEuropean and African) put together a series of
experimental programs designed to encourage African music and drama, as well as
engage in adult education and the promotion of government policy.
Lusaka Callingshows a mobile recording van arriving in the Tongan village of Chief
Shiamundu. The engineer recorded some local songs and played the record back to the
people, telling them that the record would soon be played over the CABS. The Chief
buys a radio and the film shows the people listening incredulously at first, as their music
is played over the radio.The film also shows Chief Shiamundu being shown around the
broadcasting station in Lusaka.
In 1950, inspired by the greatly enlarged radio audiences the Northern Rhodesian
Information Department using all the media at its disposal: newspapers, posters,
pamphlets, film and broadcasting, launched a five - year mass education campaign. The
campaign concentrated on six areas which included improved hygiene, education for girls and better agriculture. The CABS launched a women’s program in 1950 with an African woman announcer. “Know Your Own People” was devised to explain one ethnic group to another. The station broadcast in four local languages and in English with the most popular program being devoted to musical requests; other programs included quizzes, health programs, language lessons and radio plays (some improvised by African announcers) and serials carrying a social message. John Grenfell Williams, head of the BBC’s Colonial Service and author of the UNESCO survey, Radio in Fundamental Education in Undeveloped Areas(Paris, 1950) visited the station as did noted British broadcaster, Cyril Ray who wrote that Northern Rhodesia had ‘made one of the biggest contributions to the whole field of mass communications’. [46]

45: H. Franklin, Report on ‘The Saucepan Special’: the Poor Man’s Radio for Rural Populations (Lusaka,
Government Printer, 1950).
46: Cyril Ray, ‘The Saucepan Set’, The Times Educational Supplement, 10 March 1950, 176.

(quoted by permission)

Hits: 4775     Replies: 5
ever: CABS, the Saucepan and Ever Ready
Michael Watterson

Central African Broadcasting Station, CABS was started on Short wave in 1941 in Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

The "Saucepan Special" is mentioned in several books and memoirs:

"Harry Franklin who was in the Colonial Service was given the job of starting an Information Service in Northern Rhodesia. Lusaka Radio was part of that initiative, broadcasting at low power. But there were few African listeners. The cheapest radio available in Northern Rhodesia at the time cost £45 which was far too expensive for the mass audience the Government wished to reach.
In 1948, whilst on leave in the UK, Harry met the Chairman of Ever Ready, Magnus Goodfellow, and proposed that cheap radios could be sold at cost and profits could be made from the sale of batteries. The design of the radio was vetted by a BBC Engineer, Bill Varley, who coined the name 'Saucepan Radio' as the prototype had indeed been built in an aluminium saucepan. The NR Government backed the purchase of fifteen hundred radios which sold for £5, with the battery costing a further 25 shillings.
It was an instant success. The Queen of Tonga bought a hundred sets!
The radio gave good reception but required a fairly long aerial (quarter wave) and an effective earth. ( I never heard one perform carried around on someone's shoulder.)

The design might have been  the work of a staff member of the NR Radio Services in Lusaka.
This person went on to establish the famous Supersonic Radio Factory"


Memoirs by Fraenkel,

A refugee Jew from Nazi Germany wrote of it in his Memoirs. He was involved in North Rhodesian Colonial affairs before WWII.

"The development of the set was largely due to the dedicated work of Harry Franklin, the first administrator of CABS, who latter attained a position as Minister for African Education in Social Services in the colonial administration of Northern Rhodesia. I’ll quote extensively here.
Community receivers had not proved a success and Harry Franklin had started to search for a suitable set that Africans could afford to have in their homes… For three years he had inquired all over the Sterling Area[Empire], had circulated wiring-diagrams and had written letters even to faraway Australia, to explain his requirements. They were unusual. He needed a set that worked off a battery because only the larger towns in the Rhodesias have electricity, and even there most of the African ‘compounds’ are not connected. It had to be a dry battery set because charging accumulators is too difficult in a land of bad communications. It had to work on short-waves because only short-wave transmissions can cover the vast areas of Central Africa. It had to be sturdy enough to withstand days of jolting n the back of transport lorries. But above all, it had to be cheap. Such a set did not exist and manufacturers were not interested in producing one… Many of Franklin’s superiors looked upon his schemes with disapproval. They knew that African, they grumbled, and the African would never want such a set or understand what was broadcast, or if he did he would listen to Moscow. If there had to be wireless sets for Africans they should be pre-set to one station only.
Eventually through connections Franklin was able to convince the Ever Ready Company, a battery manufacturer later purchased by Energizer, to produce at cost what they would call interchangeably the “saucepan set” and the “Saucepan Special.” The initial trial run was such a resounding success, according to Fraenkel, that in 1949 Ever Ready began mass-producing the sets, which led to increased funding for and, really, the establishment of CABS, which would become the first major broadcasting service in sub-Saharan Africa.


"Tales of Zambia",

compiled by Dick Hobson and published by The Zambia Society Trust-London.

An extract

Broadcasting began in NR [Northern Rhodesia, now part of Zimbabwe] in 1941 with a small short-wave station housed in a single room at Lusaka airport. The aim was to keep people informed of the progress of the war but broadcasting hours were short, reception unreliable and few people had receiving sets. The programmes were written and broadcast by Kenneth Bradley, who was NR's first Information Officer. Receivers were hung from trees , nailed to poles etc at Mission Stations, Bomas, mines etc for communal listening.

When Bradley was transferred to the Falkland Islands in 1942, he was succeeded by Harry Franklin (then resident magistrate at Broken Hill), and it was at his instigation that, with the help of the British Government, the Central African Broadcasting Station was set up, broadcasting in 7 languages. This, however, didn't solve the problem of broadcasting to the masses, a problem which led, ultimately to the invention of the Saucepan Radio.


Blog post from No Event No History

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Oral Literacy in the Central African Broadcasting Service

"Oral Cultures and Aural Literacy

What does it mean that CABS [
Central African Broadcasting Station] sought to foment a “literate orality,” in Walter Ong’s term, for an illiterate population? Through entirely acoustical means, Fraenkel and Kittermaster tried to engender and develop socio-cultural forms such as the archive for populations that previously had no conception of a quiescent body of knowledge, archived for perpetuity. The oral cultures to which CABS both broadcast and through its mobile recording units captured, had before this “stored” cultural and personal history through cultural forms such as the oral epic, proverb, and drumming - forms, that is, which are by definition dynamic, syncretic, and impermanent. In short, CABS sought to establish literate socio-cultural institutions without the intermediary stage of actual widespread literacy. This is a tricky project, as Ong’s work helps to show, because socio-cultural forms like the archive are very much a product of literacy’s impact and influence on a culture. Archives, for example, are hard to conceive of without paper, without In short, the introduction of acoustical technologies to societies without literary technologies cannot be understood in the same manner of such introductions to literate societies."


It seems that in part at least or perhaps entirely, the Saucepan Radio was an Africian project that Ever  Ready was persuaded to manufacture (You'll make money from the batteries). Though pictured on a B136, that was a Balanced combo for Dx96 25mA tubes, 125mA total. The Model J used 250mA on both versions (50mA types) yet the Every Ready history site* shows and discusses a B136. I think a mistake as it was released in 1953 for the Sky Queen, it would last about 150hrs on the Model "J". The AD3 and B103 (both existed in 1949) have the same four pin connector and are "balanced" for 250mA filaments (which is why the later Sky Emperor, Monarch etc use it as they have more valves). The quoted 300 hours suggest perhaps 8 x F cells in parallel for the LT. A B103 might be possible, but the higher capacity AD3 seems more likely, though it could have been a custom battery for that set with "BEREC" branding.

(Looks more B103 than B136 shaped, where is the plug?)

The London Aluminium Saucepan company did make the production cases according to Wolverhampton Historical society (the location of Ever Ready factory in Park Lane).

BEREC was as far as is known, just an Export Marketing "arm" of Ever Ready. All the BEREC sets were actually probably made in Park Lane, Wolverhampton, as were all Ever Ready sets after 1942 approximately and certainly all post war sets till the Sky Lark in 1963, except for the "Personal" B (Identical to Marconiphone P17B) made by Plessey. It's not clear if Plessey or Ever Ready made the B2 with added LW the next year.

The valves (tubes) in the MkII Model "J" (Saucpan Radio) which added MW (BC) to the original SW only argue for no later than 1953. Unfortunately a writer that used a "Saucepan" in 1952 at "Broken Hill" North Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) doesn't relate if it had MW or not.

Cosser actually produced a set for Africa in a Red Biscuit tin (rectangular tin for Cookies). Allegedly not successful due to being red!


[*Local History, Wolverhampton - Ever Ready Radios: The Early Years and Lissen]

Michael Watterson

In the UK 1954 Radio Show Catalogue:

"Berec" Saucepan Special - 4-valve superhet, designed for tropical climates. Stout circular cabinets in metal. Insect proof gauze.

Model J-A3F 25-90m.

Model J-A4F 19-63m.; 200-535m.

Size 9-in. diameter, 5 1/2-in. deep. Berec Batrymax B.103 battery. All components tropicalized. Low priced set that brings radio to millions around the world.

(Thanks to Paul in Durham, UK for the Ever Ready entries)

90m and 75m are Tropical Bands, MW and LW are not effective between the tropics. Outside the tropics it makes sense to have 19m and 22m bands instead as well as adding MW (BC band).

Michael Watterson

See also the book (pg 23ff)

African Broadcast Cultures: Radio in Transition  By Graham Furniss

So we know now the assertion of a B136 is incorrect and that Ever Ready was approached in London first and was using an African design, the meeting here must have been later and the choice of case manufacturer by Ever Ready was to match the African prototype

Wolverhampton Museum of History (Extract from Ever Ready Section)

The next model produced here was the Model 'C', which was still as heavy as the Model 'A', but had a more elegant appearance. One notable early receiver was the 'J' Type or "Saucepan Special" which was launched in September 1949. Laurence Orchard was one of the company's senior executives. In 1948 he was on a visit to Ever Ready's South African subsidiary, BEREC ( the British Ever Ready Export Company). 

While there he was approached by the man in charge of broadcasting in Nyasaland and Rhodesia. He wondered if Ever Ready could produce a tropicalised dry-battery radio that could sell for £5, as this was all that many members of the rural community could afford. The company rose to the challenge and developed a small 4 valve shortwave receiver that was powered by a B136 battery. One problem was to find a cheap housing for the receiver. This was cleverly solved by using a blue-sprayed metal case that was made by the British Aluminium saucepan factory. It was basically a 10inch saucepan with the handle removed and a hole punched in the bottom for the loudspeaker. The radio sat on the B136 battery, which was too big to fit inside. The radio was sold in many parts of the world, including Malasia, and almost a quarter of a million were produced.The 'J' Type was followed by the 'K' Type and then the 'N' Type, after which the company began to use the word 'Sky' in most of the names of new receivers.

Michael Watterson

Cosser actually produced a set for Africa in a Red Biscuit tin (rectangular tin for Cookies). Allegedly not successful due to being red!

After discussion with people from Kenya, Zambia and South Africa as well as searching the Internet, virtually the only assertion of a colour bias ("Red" disliked and not superstitious about "Blue") is actually articles about the Saucepan Radio or the Cossor "biscuit tin" 527/X Radio. There is some dislike of all black or all white, but any colour is fine.

Later various African companies produced Radios including the Supersonic Radio Company in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

The design might have been  the work of a staff member of the NR Radio Services in Lusaka.
This person went on to establish the famous Supersonic Radio Factory

Supersonic radio is later  (or originally) "Chassay Bros. (Private) Limited" at Bulawayo Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) who are listed here with radios from 1958 (Battery Valves) as well as mains valves and Transistor sets. At least one of their Transistor sets (Supersonic PR56 likely early 1960s) is in at least  pale blue/green and red. 

Michael Watterson

Two pages from Unesco Courier 1959 written by Peter Fraenkel, a long time with CABS.

Click to open larger size readible pages.

It's reasonable to assume the replacement Model Peter Fraenkel refers to is the BEREC Pioneer made for African and Australian markets.


Extract From the Historical Dictionary of the IMF.

One writer doing a paper on 21st Century Sociological impact of FM radio in Mali, cites the early CABS service (and praises the Saucepan Radio) as the only good example of Colonial Era Radio Broadcasting.

(NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: Radio ways: Society, locality, and FM technology in Koutiala, Mali


Michael Watterson

Here is the source of the claim that blue is picked as the least number of Africans are superstitious about it, possibly  a spurious claim, blue is  an Ever Ready colour.

Click for full size

Nothern Rhodesia (NR) is present day Zambia (Lusaka) and Southern Rhodesia (SR) is Zimbabwe (Bulawayo is 2nd largest city)


Ever Ready Co. GB: Saucepan Special J
End of forum contributions about this model