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Anyone Recognize The Rola?

TM1

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Anyone know what this speaker is? I've had it about 10 years and I got it from my friend Jim Elyea when he was writing his book on Vox Amps, The JMI Years.
Thanks! It sounds amazing!
 

F-Hole

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Looks like it could be an early B024, rated for about 12 watts. Not strong enough for an AC15.
 

Wally

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F-Hole, since British Rola, which started life as a subsidiary of U.S. Rola, owned Celestion starting in the late '40's....1947 iirc, how similar to a Celestion G12 would this speaker be?
 

TM1

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Ai have to say it sounds pretty great in my 1974x!
 

F-Hole

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I could well be wrong, the expert on this type of stuff is our friend from Bygonetones. I suspect he'd know exactly what it is.

I'm at the edge of my knowledge. All these early drivers were rated between 10 and 12 watts, not many amps were putting out much more power at that time, the formers couldn't handle it. That's one reason the B024 (which was a G12 series speaker) wasn't used widely.

I'll ask him to post here.
 

TM1

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Wow...Cheers mates! So it could have literely been through the war..(LOL).
 

ourmaninthenorth

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Don, here's a few shots of a very similar British Rola, from ebay a couple of years ago.

s-l1600.jpg


s-l1600.jpg


s-l1600.jpg


s-l1600.jpg


The accompanying text read, ad verbatum.

... " Here we have another large, old stock. Suspect 1940's Rola permanent magnet speaker. 12" cone diameter Made in England. Type G12 in it's original packing box. Perfect. Thanks for having a look! " ...


:salude
 

Wally

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From the link above....

"Pre-1956 Rola/Celestion Date Stamps

Month

A - Jan
B - Feb
C - Mar
D - Apr
E - May
F - Jun
G - Jul
H - Aug
I/J - Sep
K - Oct
L- Nov
M - Dec


Year

A - 1944
B - 1945
C - 1946
D - 1947
E - 1948
F - 1949
G - 1950
H - 1951
I/J - 1952
K - 1953
L - 1954
M - 1955

We already know from existing date code charts that the year code for 1956 is the letter A.

I think it is safe to assume that Celestion were using the same A to M cycle before 1956. So working right back to the letter A would give us the table shown on the left.

For example "09EF" would be 9th May 1949.

The really early speakers tend to have their date codes printed on the outer rim of the metal chassis instead of on the front gasket, at least until Feb 1951 (H year code). Gasket stamps are from at least April 1952 onwards (I/J year code)."

He notes that the gasket stamp were used from circa April, 1952 onward. The speaker in question here has a gasket stamp. OF course, this is a Rola speaker...not a Celestion. Celestion was acquired by British Rola in 1947, iirc. I have no idea whether or not British Rola used the same codes as did Celestion. IF that gasket stamp code of 'TD' is a date code, then Rola did NOT use the A through M code as did Celestion....because T is way on down the alphabet.
Mystery, it is.....unless you can find you a Rola speaker expert.

OR...you keep looking. How about this....

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/British_Rola

in which this statement is made....
"1948 During July, Celestion ceased production at Kingston-upon-Thames, and production machinery and personnel moved to Thames Ditton as a consolidation of the two companies. The company title became Rola Celestion Limited, and Celestion was adopted and registered as the trade mark for the company’s product."

So, that places it in early 1948 or a bit earlier, right?

that is probably a "pre-Rola/Celestion" Rola. Everything after that is a Rola/Celestion. The only true pre-rola Celestions are from 1946 and earlier.
 

Bygone_Tones

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Not an expert by any means. Those early G12 speakers are a real grey area and there is still a lot to be learnt about them. I would agree with ourmaninthenorth and say most likely early to mid 1940's, before the merge with Celestion.

The Rola G12 was made as early as 1936 by British Rola. Then they merged with Celestion in 1947 and they seem to have begun their familiar 4 digit date stamping system at around that time. So any British Rola G12 without the usual four digit date stamp is probably from before 1947 in my opinion, but I could be wrong.

It's general appearance and 'G12' cone stamp would suggest to me 1940's, plus no model number (such as B024) on the label or frame. However it does have the large slot head bolts in the back of the magnet, and those are usually found from late 1950's onwards. :hmm

Very limited info out there, and still many pieces of the jigsaw to find.

The original box is very cool on that other speaker. If it had a factory address on it that might have given another clue to its age.
 

TM1

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Wow, you lads are Top Shelf! I've been out for a couple of days with implant surgery in my mouth and just checked in on this! A bit wacked out on Percocet and THC Gummies for the pain. But this info is brilliant!
CHEERS!!!
 

Bygone_Tones

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I've got a better idea what this speaker is now. The date code is right there on the front gasket - 20th Jan 1948. It's a British Rola speaker, so does not have the usual Celestion style date code.

The month code in the middle always seems to be printed upside down on the handful of other examples I have seen. I think the 'TD' likely stands for Thames Ditton. The model code B025 or B024 should be printed on the outer rim of the frame. Immediately to the right of the the screw hole that is directly below the solder points on the frame leg. It's cut off on your photos, and I was hoping to see it.

During WW2 British Rola stopped making the G12. So this is possibly one of the first post war G12 speakers. Although I don't know exactly when they started making them again. It's between 1945 and 1948. The pre-WW2 Rola G12's from the 1930's were painted black.
 

Subliminal lanimilbuS

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Might take a bit more investigating. I have seen a few early Rola's and none ever had those big flat head bolts for the magnet. Don't think those showed up until the mid 50's or so.
 

Subliminal lanimilbuS

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I think they started welded, then went to the smaller bolts and then those bigger slotted head bolts in the mid 50's. I am pretty sure I have seen the exact same speaker you have with the exact same label in the welded variety that was from the late 40's. Your dating scheme could very well be correct. Makes me wonder if this speaker wasn't redone with those bolts mid 50's onward.
 

Bygone_Tones

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The early ones do have the slot head bolts. I think that magnet design goes right back to the earliest G12 speakers from the 1930's. Notice the base plate with the straight sides. There is another one shown in the Jim Elyea book, just like it, but unfortunately he doesn't show the date code.

RolaG12Ad1.jpg


I think the magnet design was then changed at some point in 1948. Notice the text in this ad (from 1949) states the new G12 is lighter in weight and uses the new Alcomax 2 magnet:

RolaG12Ad.jpg


This is one I bought myself recently, the date code is very faded but appears to be Sept 1948 on the front gasket. It looks just like the one in the ad above:

1948B025.jpg


It also has the model number 'B025' stamped on the front rim. I don't know when they started giving them the B025 and B024 model numbers.

Just to confuse matters, Celestion appear to have had their own version of the G12 called the P74 which also had a different style of magnet. Even though the two companies had merged by 1948, they still kept the G12 as being a Rola branded speaker for a good few years. I don't know when the P74 was first made, but I suspect it was before the merge with British Rola. They were definitely making a model 'P84' in the late 1930's, an 18" speaker, that seems to have the same magnet as the P74.

Then in the mid 50's they seemed to stop production of the Celestion branded P74, and Celestion labels started creeping in on the B025 and B024.

The slot head bolts return in the late 1950's.

That's the best I can come up with based on the speakers and ads I've seen so far anyway.

To make it more confusing, I've also seen pics of a P74 with a G12 label and a P74 with a Rola sticker put over the top of the Celestion label. So who knows what was going on.
 
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