The Volksemfänger or Peoples Reciever was first introduced at the Radio Exhibition in Berlin on the 18th August 1933. It was intended that a Volksemfänger would be seen in every household. A radio that was afordable by everyone and it would unite the country as never before. The news and the „Nazi ideals“ would be able to reach everyone, a truely political weapon, afterall, the political war was one war that Hitler really did win.
On the very first day this mass produced radio was sold out, selling at 76 RM each and some 100 thousand were sold! More were produced by the various large and the small companies of the day, by May 1934 this figure had reached some 700 thousand and by this time new models were being produced, including battery driven models.
The model that I have is called the VE 301w, this model was made by a number of firms and as they all contained the same bakelite shell, the individual makers name could only be established by removing the back panel and looking at the makers plate. There were several variations of the VE 301 and the „W“ on mine means it was AC voltage with a setting of 110volts or 220volts, depending on the switch setting on the back of the set. Radios that used AC current or batteries had wooden housings and battery sets cost only 65 RM. The people could not choose which set they purchased, it was decided by the type of electrical current available where they lived.
I was given the radio by Abigail Ward and I am very moved by this wonderful gesture. After examining the radio and the wiring in the condition it was after some 77 years, it was decided that it would be on static display in my collection. However, on testing the loudspeaker it was found to work. So a cable was connected to the loudspeaker from the PC via an amplifier to boost the sound.
The effect was astounding! I have often listened to copies of original wartime broadcasts, be it speeches or music, but this time it was really spooky, the bass tone coming out of the radio felt like one was travelling back in time and listening to it in original! The radio will be placed in another room with a cable going through the wall to the PC, where CDs will play original broadcasts.
A light placed behind the dial on the radio will give the effect that it is up and running.
Bill with the radio, which was a gift from Abigail Ward
The radio apparatus has been removed from the bakalite housing for cleaning
The underside showing the components and the name BOSCH
The original valves and knobs
A view of the intact loadspeaker, which still works
The tuning dial and on the left, the tuning coils, still intact
A close up of the makers plate, the radio was made in Kiel
A top view, with valves now fitted
The bakalite housing and the original loadspeaker cloth cover
The cables leading to the PC are connected, an additional loadspeaker, but also from the same period, is added to boost the signal to all corners of the room
The wartime label warning people it is a criminal offence to listen to foreign broadcasts is added. This has been done by removing the Short/long wave selector knob first
The radio is placed in position and a light has also been added to light up the tuning dial
The finished project, the VE301w Radio and the aditional loadspeaker on the right