PYE Museum Homepage The Story of Pye
1896 to
The history of the Pye Group of Companies in scientific & analytical instruments, radio & line communications, broadcasting, domestic radio & TV and industrial electronics from 1896 to the present day
The virtual museum of the Pye History Trust - Celebrating Britain’s Scientific & Industrial Heritage
Pye Ltd Radio & Television - Company Profile
Company Name: Pye Ltd Radio & Television
  (Formerly Pye Radio Ltd, W.G. Pye Ltd)
Pye Group Division: Consumer Products, Radio, TV & Domestic Appliances
Site Location(s):
First/Last Address: St. Andrews Road, Cambridge CB4 1DS
Date Formed/Acquired: Origins date back to the original instrument company founded by Mr. W. G. Pye:
W.G. Pye & Co. Ltd formed 1896
Pye Radio Ltd formed 12 Feb 1929
Pye Ltd formed 27 Jul 1937
Also traded as Invicta Radio Ltd for a period from 31 Dec 1977
Date Merged/Sold/Closed: Pye Ltd ceased trading circa 1973 after activity taken over by Philips Electronic Industries UK Ltd
  Pye Ltd dissolved 09 Dec 2008 (Companies House)
Field of Activity: Manufacturers and suppliers of domestic electronic and electrical products using the brand names Pye, PAM, Pamphonic, Invicta Radio, L. G. Hawkins brand names and later using EKCO, Dynatron and EKCO-Hawkins.
Markets/Customers Served: Consumer electronics and electrical equipment in the UK and export markets.
Products/Services Supplied: Domestic radio and television receivers
  record players
  audio products
  domestic appliances
Key or Milestone Products: 1923: First 2, 3 and 4 valve radios
  1927: First ‘rising sun’ motif radio
  1928: Pye 25 one of the first portable radios
  1930: Twin triple Q and MM portable radios for battery, AC mains or DC mains
  1937: Baby Q portable
  1946: B16T 9" table model TV
  1948: B18T 9" TV with EHT generated by line flyback rather than mains transformer
  1953: V4 14" TV with automatic picture control to control black level
  1953: Black Box record player (made under licence from CBS)
  1954: VT4T Tuneable version of the V4
  1955: V14 notorious for poor quality and damaged Pye’s reputation for some years
  1956: First British transistor radio launched under the PAM brand name PAM 710
Subsidiaries/Divisions/Departments: Pye Ltd traded using the brand names: -
Invicta Radio
E.G. Hawkins
  Subsidiaries: -
Pye Radio Ltd
Domestic radio & TV receivers
Pye Ltd Sales Division (Home & Export)
Main sales operation for consumer products
Corran Works Ltd
Production of domestic radio & TV receivers in Ireland
Invicta Radio Ltd
Domestic radio & TV receivers
Woodcraft Production (Cambridge) Ltd
Radio, TV & audio cabinets
L. G. Hawkins & Co Ltd
Domestic electrical appliances etc
Pam (Radio & Television) Ltd
Domestic radio & TV receivers
TV Manufacturing Ltd Lowestoft
TV receivers
TV rentals
United Rentals Ltd
TV rentals
Dynatron Radio Ltd
Premium brand radio, TV, audio equipment
United Television Manufacturers
Servicing of Pye Group radio & TVs
Radio & T.V. Services Ltd
Servicing of Pye Group radio & TVs
Combined Electronic Services
Servicing of Philips/Pye Group radio & TVs
Pye Ltd/Ekco Heating & Appliance Division
Domestic and industrial heating appliances
Gibbard Rentals
TV rentals
Company Statistics: Annual Sales Turnover: To Follow
  Profit before tax etc To Follow
  Total Employees: To Follow
  Employees at this location: To Follow
  Other Info To Follow
Known Managerial Staff: Tom A.W. Robinson (Joint Managing Director 1929 to 1937 responsible for Production)
  R Millward Ellis (Joint Managing Director 1929 to ? responsible for Sales)
  C. O. Stanley (Joint Managing Director from 1933, later Chairman until 1966)
  Baden J Edwards (head of TV Development 1934 later to become Technical Director)
  Dr Ladislav Lax (Pye Research Laboratories 1950s)
  Laurie Jones (Production manager 1930s)
Key Achievements or Milestones: 1948: First TV in the world with EHT generated by line flyback rather than mains transformer
(Subsequently became the standard technique used by all other manufacturers)
  1948: Demonstrated first working colour TV
  1949: Sold complete monochrome TV studio to CBS of USA
  1953: Pye colour TV used at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation
  1955: First UK licencee of Bell Labs to manufacture the transistor
  1956: First British transistor radio marketed under the ‘Pam’ brand name
Other Information:
Company Time Line: 1896: A part-time business making scientific instruments was founded in Cambridge by William George Pye (an employee of the Cavendish Laboratory), which became W. G. Pye and Co. Ltd. The company was initially set up in a garden shed at 19 Humberstone Road.
  1897: Moved to 30 St Andrews Road and in 1899 moved to Mill Lane (Granta Works).
  1913: Moved to Cam Road/Haig Road - 40 employees making lab equipment for students used for teaching and research. World War 2 increased demand for such instruments and the War Office needed experimental thermionic valves. The manufacture of these components afforded the company the technical knowledge that it needed to later develop the first wireless receiver when the BBC began broadcasts 1922.
  1928: Pye Radio Ltd was formed by Charles Orr Stanley to acquire the radio branch of the business from W. G. Pye & Co and separated from the instrument business.
  1932: A TV department set up by Peter Goldmark who 18 months later moved to RCA in America later and is credited with inventing the LP record
  1934: B J Edwards appointed head of TV development
  1935: Cathodeon Ltd set up to produce valves and cathode ray tubes
  1935: Collaborated with Ever Ready to design and manufacture radio receivers.
  1936: Marketed a 9 inch set when the BBC first broadcast in 1936.
  1937: A 5-inch Pye television receiver was priced at 21 guineas and within two years the company had sold 2,000 sets at an average price of £34.
  1937: The new EF50 valve from Philips, enabled Pye to build a high gain 45MHz fringe reception receiver, a Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) type not a Superhet type.
  1937: Pye Radio Ltd renamed Pye Ltd and C O Stanley took over management of the business
  1945: After the war, Pye
  1949: Pye claimed to be \"The largest TV manufacturer in Britain\".
  1949: Pye Ltd acquires 51% of Pamphonic Reproducers Ltd and provided further cash for operations.
  1951: Oulton Works, Lowestoft opened and progressively took on all PYE TV manufacture
  1954: Pye’s V4 tunable television was launched in March.
  1955: Pye acquired remaining 49% of Pamphonic
  1956: PAM (Radio and Television) Ltd formed to provide transistors and circuit boards
  1956: Pye developed the first British transistor. Pye first used transistors in a product sold as a subsidiary brand: the Pam 710 radio, with the transistors from Newmarket Transistors (another Pye subsidiary). When the product proved acceptable the company launched the Pye 123 radio. Products such as these reversed the market decline.
  1960: EKCO (founded by Eric Kirkham Cole) merged with Pye Group as British Electronic Industries; initially each company retained its own operations and management but by 1962 the new company had complete control of EKCO and was re-named Pye of Cambridge.
  1967: After financial losses in 1965 and 1966 Philips obtained a 24% shareholding in the Pye Group. First colour TVs handmade in Lowestoft for display at Wimbledon
  1976: Philips now owned 51.7 percent of Pye. It absorbed the Pye consumer businesses (i.e. radio, television and domestic appliances) and agreed with the British Government that Pye would concentrate on professional/industrial electronics markets.
  19??: The Lowestoft factory was subsequently sold to Sanyo for the manufacture of television sets after Philips moved the manufacture of Pye televisions to Singapore.
  19??: The EKCO Southend factory was sold to Lloyds bank to house the ACCESS credit card company.
Document Sources: 1. The Setmakers - A History of the Radio and Television Industry, Keith Geddes in collaboration with Gordon Bussey, ISBN 0 9517042 0 6
  2. Radio Man The remarkable rise and fall of C.O. Stanley, Mark Frankland, ISBN 0 85296 203 7
  3. The Story of Pye Wireless, Gordon Bussey, booklet published by Pye Ltd and Gordon Bussey in 1979 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the formation of Pye Radio Ltd
  4. Discussions with Mike Kemp
  5. Communication with Geoffrey Griffiths, ex Newmarket Transisitors
  8. Pye History Trust Archives
Document version: v1 compiled by R N Bates (7th April 2014)
  v2 compiled by R N Bates 28th June 2014
  v3 compiled by R N Bates 29th June 2014
  v4 mod rjh1 july 2014
  v5 updated by R N Bates 2nd July 2014
  v6 updated by R N Bates 7th August 2014
  v7 updated by RJ Howes 28 June 2015
  v8 3 July 2015 modified by RJH for web site use
  1959 PYE Advert