Last product to have the Ekco brand name.
Colour TV sets bearing the Ekco name were still available as late as 1976 but by the end of the seventies the brand was replaced by Pye for distribution either through wholesalers or direct to dealers.
One Ekco product endured for a few years until it became the Philips Hostess.
From a 1979 Argos catalogue.
No longer available, the Philips Hostess.
Something to aspire to, very posh, my dinner was between to plates in the oven.
Would I be wrong in thinking that the first 'Hostess' trollies were sold under the Sunbeam brand name?
My aunt still has an Ecko hostess trolley, it is still working and still gets used at Christmas!
A couple of years ago I PAT tested the Philips version which was at a nursing home I was doing various maintenance work for (not sure if that one was still in regular use but it was still on the asset register of kitchen equipment so got tested...)
Tangentially, what was Ekco's last valve set? I have a 355 from 1959, very late I would think for mains valve sets.
As an aside, its a horrible set!
The nine waveband Pye 1101 radio receiver was still available in 1964 and was also marketed as the Ekco Zodiac. Late production models were equipped with B9A valves in lieu of the original U40 series B8A types. But that set is not a true Ekco model. However, in the 1965/66 Radio and Television servicing book we find two Ekco radiograms which employ valves. Looking at presentation of the circuit diagram and chassis construction it is all too evident the radiograms SRG431 and SRG439 were designed by Pye, so again not true Ekco models. Move on to the Pye pages in the same book the circuit diagrams can be found for radiograms models 1205 and G66/A (Mk2). The style of the diagrams is pure Ekco.
After Ekco's less than successful intro to TV in Australia, they went to indigenous designs and parts sourcing, like this successful mantle radio from 1958:
Their quite good 110 degree TV chassis introduced about the same time had a mains transformer too. Locally made Mazda tubes were just as bad as the UK ones.
Ekco went the way of many consumer product companies in the big credit squeeze shakeout of 1960.
Ekco were bought out by Pye in the UK around 1960. What was the failure of imported Ekco sets, quality, style? The sets we had in the UK were excellent performers and could hold their own with the rest of the decent makes at that time.
EKCO TVs got a bad reputation in Oz early on because they were the only live chassis - series heater TVs on the market. The term "death traps" was bandied around. In Victoria they had to modify them away from half-wave rectification - the electrical approval authorities were concerned about transformer saturation and electrolysis of the building safety earths - MEN system. I can't recall the model number, they were 17" 70 degree mag focus, but I suspect early units were brought in as part-completed chassis and assembled here because of the import duties. The line transformer plastic extrusion crumbled away within the first few months of operation and all the pots were dodgy leading to intermittents. They worked well enough apart from that though and were one of the cheaper sets so a lot were sold.
Their next model was VERY different but by then the damage was done. Then we had the aforementioned credit squeeze which took out half the industry.
The line transformer housing deteriorated in the UK but lasted 4+5 years, again possibly climate differences.
I don’t think there were any fully isolated chassis TV sets in the UK for domestic use, if there were it wasn’t many.
Credit squeeze, we had many of those, Purchase Tax very high and large down payments for Hire a Purchase or rental.
Around 1960 to '62 as well as the credit squeeze, here in the UK we had the uncertainty about line standards, and the news media didn't help much by warning viewers that their 405 line TV set would soon become unusable after the change over to 625 lines. In fact Ekco was manufacturing a fully dual standard TV set in 1962, the model T398, it's likely that the set was announced to dealers in late 1961. In my opinion the Ekco T398 was a much better set than the Pye V700D.
Way back in the early 1970s my television was a Ferranti T1084 which I think is very similar to the Ekco T398. I bought it a valve UHF tuner and the poor S:N ratio and the 50 shades of grey picture quality were a real downer.
I thought the T1084 was the earlier version of the 11U chassis with the PCF80 second I.f and only one present contrast. The later versions of the 11U had a frame grid EF184 second IF and prest contrast controls for 405 and 625, they gave a decent account of themselves. The one preset contrast was a real pain, set it for 405 and 625 was weak, too strong for 405 if setup for 625.
Off course they required a good strong signal, especially on the C group of channels that Winter Hill used.
We had a lot of that chassis, biggest hurdle wasn’t the performance, it was customers didn’t want to buy another aerial for programs that didn’t interest them on BBC2. This was late 1965.
If I am wrong about the T1084 apologies.
I only saw a few of the last Murphy designed sets before Rank bought them, they were not that impressive, a big let down from the earlier V300/400 range.
The Ferranti variants of the Ekco T398 were models T1075, T1081, TC1082 and T1083. Details can be found in the 1962/63 R & T servicing book.
I remember early 625 line TV and how washed out the pictures looked. Sure, some of those early dual standard sets weren't all that good but was the transmitted signal all that good either? Then, just before colour was introduced in 1967 on BBC2 the 625 line pictures improved dramatically.
I had a S/H Ekco T433, the later 11U chassis that was used on 625 only from 1970 when we moved into our then new house. It gave an excellent account of itself but there was a 10mv signal going into the valve UHF tuner, certainly no noise or washed out picture. Has you noted perhaps transmission standards had improved as well by that date.
It did good service for a few years until we bought a CTV.