Wartime radios relied on valve technology, the modern transistor not having been invented at this point. Valves were made of glass and were both physically and electronically fragile, it not taking much to either smash them or burn out the interior components. In order to be able to replace these critical components in the field if they were to fail, signallers were taught how to maintain and replace these valves and all radios were issued with a set of spare valves. Due to the fragile nature of these valves, the case to hold the spares had to be robust on the outside to withstand rough treatment, and padded on the inside to protect the valves themselves. As part of my ongoing project to build up a WS19 set and its accessories, I have acquired this spare valve tin to accompany my radio:
The case is made of steel and has a hinged lid, secured with a rotating hook. On the top of the case is a webbing handle to allow it to be easily carried:
The front of the case was originally marked up to show it was for the spare valves for the 19 and 22 set radios. At some point in the 1950s, this was over-painted and a simple stores code added instead:
Sadly the original padded lining, which would have been made of rubberised horsehair, is long gone, however under the lid is a paper label showing how the contents would have originally been packed:
These valve cases survive because, with the inner liners pulled out, they made a useful storage tin, cheaply available as surplus in the 1950s. This example is not in brilliant shape, however it is acceptable enough to accompany my radio until a better example comes along.