During a normal busy period when the phone lines opened with customers booking service calls the manager had been talking to an elderly gentleman. He was complaining bitterly that since his rental GEC had been delivered, there was an annoying hum day and night from the set that was driving him and his wife nuts. He was advised by the manager to turn the set off and report back… “But it is unplugged!” he protested “…And get someone round here now!”
Thinking this problem was somehow set related, after all it was a solid state GEC known for choke issues, a service engineer was despatched. As he was recovering from back problems I went along for the ride with a spare set and boards.
On arrival, the customer who was in his eighties, took us to the room where this set was installed. Sure enough a loud hum could be heard but to our dismay the GEC was indeed completely disconnected! Both house and furniture dated back to the 1930’s including decor. Ted in the meantime was staring suspiciously at a high wing-backed chair and it was now obvious where the hum emanated from.
Moving the chair out revealed an old 1930’s radiogram that was obviously still switched on… Evidently the customer had forgotten to turn it off leaving the needle to gouge its way through a locked groove for two weeks at 78rpm! When the lid was lifted there was the all too familiar smell of a transformer in thermal meltdown which surprised us both that it had not caught fire.
Meanwhile the customer was a little embarrassed at calling us out and very apologetic. A simple error in assuming the other one had turned it off and subsequently forgot! Sometimes these things just have to be written off to experience. The record had done over 1.5 million revolutions but the osmium type needle was designed to give only five plays… As for the GEC, for once it turned out to be quite innocent.