Ferris Valve Radio

Ferris valve radio circa 194os
Not exactly a dash radio....The old Australian made Ferris valve radio above was designed for both car and home, running off 240 or 12 volt.  The radio bolted into metal hook brackets under the dashboard of a car and with some effort, could be removed temporarily for picnics or used in the home permanently. Heavier than a sackful of bricks, this radio is 'portable' only in that that it can, if needed be moved around - it's certainly not portable in any sort of lightweight, convenience sense. The rounded deep red steel casing and bakelite knobs suggested an art deco influence but I believe the radio is probably from the 1940s. An original advertisement boasted its features as:
Ideal for truck or car, on the mantelpiece, in boats or caravans. Especially useful for the family man, country people and commercial travellers.

Ferris radio ad. Image by Micheal Karshis at Flickr
Sydney based Ferris Bros Pty Ltd was formed in Australia in 1934 and were chiefly concerned with developing and manufacturing car radios, while AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australia Ltd.) cornered the home radio market.  "Chum " Ferris, the younger of the two brothers, had shown an early bent for electronics and in 1932 began assembling home radio receivers from his rented flat atop a butchers shop. His elder brother George joined him in the business two years later.

The Ferris Fultone 56, was the first car radio designed and manufactured in Australia and although the war interrupted business for the Ferris bros, in the post-war decades to follow, their name was to become synonymous with car radios.

Caravanning holiday at Tidal River,.At right is the 1940s Singer car the Ferris radio was originally housed in.