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DAWE INSTRUMENTS SOUND LEVEL METER, 1960's

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DAWE INSTRUMENTS SOUND LEVEL METER, 1960's

Sound level meter containing 7 sub miniature valves. Used for measuring sound intensity in the range 30 to 130 decibels. Powered by one High Tension and two low-tension batteries.

Donated by John Barnes

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  • The technical Director of Dawe Instruments Ltd for many years was William Victor Richings(called WVR or just Bill) with Dudley Wallis in charge of instrument design from 1967 and Ron Stafford in charge of ultrasonics. Bill set the technical tone of the company and represented the UK on many International committees on acoustics. Dawe were owned by Lucas in Birmingham and although not starved of development funds did not have the same entrepreneurial instincts as Frank Dawe himself. In the late 1970's Lucas merged Dawe with CEL who were a leading sound level meter company based in Hitchin - Dawe then became simply a CEL brand. They were overtaken in the 1990's by Cirrus Research Plc, a UK independently owned sound level meter producer based near Scarborough and finally Dawe simply faded away, CEL was sold, first to Casella, then to an American company. Bill Richings continued as technical Director until his retirement and he died in late 2014. Dudley Wallis became the President of Scientific Measurements Inc. and SMI took over Cirrus Research plc, Pulsar Instruments plc as well as Alfred Peters ltd plus a few other minnows. Cirrus Research have a private museum of sound level meters going back to vacuum tube days, including many Dawe models as well as many technical details and circuits. The Dawe numbering system was simple. A functional instrument such as the octave band analyser 1419 went through the iteration of A, B, C etc models that often had little internal relationship to their predecessor, but with the same measuring function

    .......... A. Dudley Wallis, Scarborough, North Yorkshire UK, 9th of April 2015

  • I met Frank when I started work for Lightomation Originaly
    We were based at his home at Harrow on the Hill
    where he had an amazing workshop in his attic he was working on the
    Sound sentinel at the time originally to help deaf children
    .......... Mike McCabe, Middelsbrough, 26th of December 2013

  • I am the grandson of Frank W Dawe who later on in his life moved to Bognor Regis and spent many a time on his model boat building. Frank W Dawe also started a company called lightomation using strobe lighting and disco wheels as well as bringing painting by numbers over to England and gave Rolf Harris an early Job.
    .......... Darren Newstead, Ryde Hampshire, 6th of July 2012

  • I am a collector of police related items and have just brought a series of photographic images showing one of these machines in use by Southend Borough Police. The unit is linked to a microphone on a tripod. Two officers seem to be measuring traffic noise, assisted by a couple of police motorcyclists. It looks like they may be trying to relate sound to potential speeding by taking a series of test recordings.
    .......... Alan Cook, Colchester, Essex , 17th of June 2011

  • I was an electronics student at Dawe in the 1960's its hay-day.
    The road was named Concord road after the aircraft around 1965.
    The factory was medium size very well laid out noticeably bright and clean very modern for the time.
    The personnel manager Mr Mulvany was a gentle chap who always made a point of enquiring about your well being etc. Hours were 8.30 to 5pm and 4.30 Friday. It had a well-run large canteen separate from the main factory. Frank W Dawe was an ex EMI electronics engineer about 40, and 5ft 8 tall, solid looking like Douglas Bader. He often had his over friendly bulldog in his MD's office on the first floor. A forward looking "man's man". Dawe was the first to use transistors in instruments and the first to produce a true digital counter. Dawe was very successful and with more ideas he needed more capital which he announced to us over the Tannoy system around 1965, Taking on three city investors they voted him out and set about selling the company around 1966. A new Dawe name appeared with a red diamond above the Dawe name. Dawe then retired I believe.
    .......... Alan Perry, Uxbridge , 10th of April 2011

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A1487



2007 The Museum of Technology, The Great War and WWII
Company registered in England No. 7452160, Registered Charity No. 1140352, Accredited Museum No. 2221