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“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

“Xtal” burglar alarm, Wandsworth • XTAL – what a brilliant sci-fi-sounding acronym, albeit unexplained. London’s 01 area code only lasted until 1990, so unless Xtal’s proprietor was deeply into avant-garde 1980s electronica, it’s unlikely the firm’s name was inspired by the eponymous track on Aphex Twin’s 1992 debut album Selected Ambient Works 85–92. It’s more likely both names refer to a different genre of electronica, namely a type of crystal oscillator sometimes notated as XTAL on electrical schematic diagrams. The term is now as deprecated is this ancient “baton” sounder’s phone number, and I fear the once Wimbledon-based firm may be redundant too, for despite there being plenty of recent-looking Xtal sounders lurking around London, their website is nowhere to be found. • Spotted: Battersea Park Road, Wandsworth, London, SW11, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Battersea

14 replies »

  1. DIY alarm box i think
    Had a mylar cone speaker with a red led, strobe and sab module.
    Dont think it had a tamper switch although i might be wrong.

        • Never heard of the ‘Super 80’ – they used to make control units mainly. The main panels were the R5, R52E, BS80, BS82 and the PLX range of commercial control units – when I was a school box is used to fit these. They also made a DIY panel (can’t remember the model number), and an SAB module. They brought out a microprocessor panel – can’t remember what it was called, in my opinion, it was rubbish

          • BS80 is basically the super 80.
            Ive still got an A&G SAB module, reminds me of the sab modules they uses to fit in the shorrock 72 boxs.

          • A company I worked for in the early 70s used the first panels A&G made. I fitted a system in a large National Trust house with a least 30 zones, A&G used large knobs like volume controls for switching on & off each zone, the panel was massive having so many zones. Also in the 70s Oldham seemed to be the center of cheaper manufactures & suppliers. Geoff Gardner and G. Lowe came from around there.

    • Ok! I designed the Xtal logo back in about…hmm… 1979 or 80 when I was still studying at the London College of Printing. Today I saw a more recent version (19.12.12) in Clapham. Can’t see a website but Xtal looks alive and well in Replingham Road, Wandsworth. Have also seen them about the area from tops of buses, etc. The original owner was Michael Wadham. After a career doing tv commercials and the like, I now live in somerset and am back doing design and photography with my company Doesn’t look too bad after 30 years though I say it myself!

  2. Xtal traded for many years, although they never sought NACOSS Approval which is strange. Xtal were purchased within the last year and a half along with the maintenance agreements of Viscount Alarms (J H Gabb Limited) by Greenwich based London Security Group (LSG) who have acquired many firms including Sound Alarms . LSG don’t appear to have a web site. They started out as Jonny Macks, Mack Alarms.

    • Based in Wandsworth the same as us and like Bushwood last week they were a local competitor, as Andy has said not NACOSS/NSI approved so not much competition from them. They had a shop in Southfields and sold locks & DIY kits etc but they survived a long time. Viscount gone as well, they were part of an electrical contracting company.

      • I understand that Viscount went because the holding company, JH GABB Limited went bust, bringing down the profitable and well run Viscount Alarms. Viscount did the alarms for a lot Shell Petrol Stations, appearing to share the contract with Able Alarms. Viscount Alarms also did all the Robert Dyas stores as well.

        • That’s interesting Andy, being retired & living in Menorca I don’t get to hear about what’s going on , one by one the old companies I knew are disappearing along with some good friends.

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