Oise: Modern speakers in vintage radios
SECOND LIFE The Charlestine company combines nostalgia and high-tech in its small workshop in Rully, Oise.
They had their heyday many decades ago and are now relegated to our grandparents’ attics. If, for the beauty of the object, some old radios, also called TSF, still sometimes sit enthroned in a living room, they remain desperately mute. The Charlestine company, in the Oise region of France, allows these antiques to sing again.
At the age of 35, Charlestine’s boss, Xavier Barthélémy, wasn’t one to put his hands in the bowels of old radio sets. Except that sometimes fate does things right.” At a party with friends, we hid a Bluetooth speaker in an old radio. The sound wasn’t very good, but I thought maybe there was something we could do about it,” he recalls. At the time, he was working in digital marketing and it was through a conventional break-up that the thirty-year-old decided to go into business.” It was in 2015, I set up my own company thanks to my allowances,” he adds.
“It’s important to keep track of time.”
His basic idea is to recondition old radios into modern objects with impeccable acoustics without distorting the object” and to sell them afterwards. There is a lot of restoration work to get the famous “wow” effect without making a new one. For me, it’s important to keep the mark of time, the traces of history”, insists Xavier Barthélémy. Because for his customers, these radios are the bearers of memories and nostalgia. That’s also why the transformations are not visible from the outside,” he says.
But everything inside the wireless is brand new. In addition to Bluetooth, electronics, components and speakers are chosen to ensure the best possible listening experience.” For example, we don’t restore old metal sets, which vibrate too much, or models that are too small and offer a poorer sound box,” explains Xavier Barthélémy.
In his small workshop in L’Oise, Charlestine deals either with items brought back by clients or those bought from collectors.as each piece is unique and time-consuming, prices range from 650 to 1,200 euros.but the result is worth it.that, and the craze for vintage, has earned the small company the right to export its pieces all over the world.soon, in addition to radios, the entrepreneur plans to tackle a much bigger one: audio furniture from the 1970s.