S. G. Brown Type F 'Featherweight' Headphones
Sidney George Brown set up business in Watford, north of London, in 1910 and in 1915 moved to a larger factory in North Acton. He was a prolific inventor of electromechanical devices, including the "Microphone Amplifier" (1921) which permitted loudspeaker operation from a crystal set without the use of valves and amongst other things a gyro compass. The company continued making headphones until the 1960's and eventually in the 1980's became part of the Racal organisation.
During the 1920's, when broadcasting was in its infancy, crystal set radios were the only viable form of radio receiver and to hear the broadcast transmissions the only form of effective transducer was a pair of headphones like the S G Brown Type F, which were produced in large numbers. Each earpiece had an impedance of 2000 Ω and were wired in series, thus giving an overall impedance of 4000Ω. Whilst the Type F headphones are rather basic compared with modern audio, in their day they were cutting edge and were widely used with early crystal sets and then with many other forms of vintage radio.
This set remains in close to mint original condition, inside and out. One diaphragm is marked 'Ferrosil No:24' and is made by Richard Thomas and Baldwins, who operated an integrated steel works out of the Ebbw Vale Works and made everything from car parts to wheelbarrows. The original braid covered cord is fitted with a single pin jack plug and is again in excellent condition. Finally, we attach a period advertisement for Type F headphones dating from 1948, so proves the design remained in production with little alteration for a long period of time. By this date they were being sold for use on the sea, land and in the air. The price then was 25 shillings that equates to £30.00 today, so making our 2023 list price a bit of a bargain! We have nothing to test them on here so are being sold as a collectable, but looking at the condition we feel every chance they would still work as intended.