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Griptonís Radio Stores

There was a Gripton’s radio shop in Birmingham Street, Oldbury, from the early 1920s until the late 1940s (although it was at no. 4, not no.18). It was a branch of a substantial and well-known business based in West Bromwich. Like many radio shop proprietors, James Gripton had started out in a different trade, in his case jobbing printing.

The shop is set in 1939 on the eve of war, though there are models of wireless dating back to the early 1920s. Most shops would be selling earlier models that had come their way as ‘trade-ins’.

Until the development of reasonably priced mains electricity radios, accumulator (battery) charging remained an important area of a wireless shop business. As well as providing an income from the service it was also a marketing opportunity - the trader could build up a rapport with a customer over regular visits. Perhaps he could ‘showcase’ one of the latest models in the hope of a sale. Repairs worked in the same way – while the customer awaited the return of his own set he could be loaned a demonstration model.

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