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Portable Radiotelephone (Spilsbury & Tindall)


Leather-covered wooden case is a reddish-orange colour with brass-like metal closures and metal parts attached to the the left and right side faces. Case has a front pocket that opens to about 4 cm wide and can be closed using two metal button-like snaps, one on each side of the pocket. Each case has a handle on the top and can be identified as belonging to U of T’s Zoology Department by plastic, embossed labels adhered to the top, left side of the case’s lid. The logo for Spilsbury and Tindall Ltd. Radio Communications is printed in red, white, and black, onto the front face of the lid.

Radio consists of both a receiver and transmitter (transceiver) on a single base.

The front pocket of the case contains 5 “electronic tube[s]”, and 2 two-pronged plug-like objects.

Inside the lid of the case, there is paper adhered to the top inside wooden part of the lid on which instructions about how to set up and operate the radiotelephone are printed. The notation “A1” is printed in pencil on the larger instruction sheet.

Inside the case there are two compartments, separated by a piece of aluminum that is attached to the inside of the case. The larger compartment on the right of the case holds the radio and the smaller compartment on the left side of the case holds the battery, a plug-like cord, and a small, dark gray speaker piece (5.6 x 5.5 x 2.6 cm) that is attached to the frontal face of the radio by a cord wrapped in faded black fabric. The radio and speaker piece can be completely removed from the case.

The front face of the radio that faces out of the case when opened, is white-flecked green in colour with a series of 6 black knobs protruding from its surface. Also protruding from the radio are a blue, plug-like hexagonal shape with 7 prongs coming out of it. There is also a white metre-like object near the bottom-centre of the radio, a metal dial in the top right corner, and a snap in the top left corner that snaps into a leather piece attached just left of the centre of the case’s inner hinge. The middle and top centre of the radio is occupied by what looks like a speaker. When the radio is taken out of the case, one can see that it consists of a metal skeleton with its inner-workings soldered together (no circuit-board) and completely open to the viewer’s eye (no casing).

Accession Number: 2016.zoo.9

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Metal, Aluminum, Leather, Plastic, Wood


Top of case lid: “ZOO U OF T”, “NO.2”, “W200”



On radio mouthpiece: “ASTATIC”

On outer side of battery: “THIS SIDE UP !”, “PLACE “B” BATTERIES ON TOP”, “CAUTION ! Power Switch should be in the OFF position when connecting battery plug.”

Dimensions (cm):

Case: Height: 20, Length: 28.7, Width: 12.9 (including front pocket), Radio: Height: 8, Length: 15.4, Width: 16.4 (including knobs)


PRT-20 single-channel, crystal-controlled transceiver designed for portable use. Leather case meant to hold transceiver, batteries, and portable antenna. It seems that this object is missing the antenna but contains the transceiver and batteries. The transceiver could operate for 20-40 hours due to 3 pound battery and could be connected to an external battery if the user didn’t require the radiotelephone to be portable.

The radiotelephone has the ability to transmit and receive, but not at the same time.


Good condition. Dust on surface of case and on front and inside of radio. Case is scratched on the left side face and back. Dirt on aluminum separator inside of case. Cases of electronic tubes are yellowed and dirty. Wear on flap of front pocket of case. Wear on leather seams of lid of case which are coming apart slightly.

Radio is missing leather strap and antenna.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Spilsbury & Tindall Ltd., Vancouver

Date of Manufacture: 1961


Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:

  • Donated to UTSIC