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History of the radio manufacturer  

RCA (RCA Victor Co. Inc.); New York (NY)

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Name: RCA (RCA Victor Co. Inc.); New York (NY)    (USA )    
alternative name:
RCA Manufacturing || Victor Talking Machine
Brand: Electrola || Electrola Radiola || Florenza || Hyperion || Orthophonic || Photophone || Radiola || Radiolette || Radiotron (Tube brand) || Receptor || Superette || Tuscany || Victrola Radiola
Abbreviation: rca  
Products: Model types Tube manufacturer  
Summary: RCA-Victor Co.Inc.; Radio Corporation of America, 233 Broadway, New York - is later RCA Victor Co.Inc. - Trade names: Acoustic, Aeriola, Alhambra, Borgia, Columbia, Cromwell, DeForest, Electrola, Electrola Radiola, Florenza, Hyperion, Orthophonic,Photophone, Radio Electrola, Radiola, Radiolette, Radiotron, RCA-Victor, Receptor, Superette, Tuscany, Victor, Victor Radiola.
Vertretung Schweiz: Jacques Baerlocher AG; Zürich Victrola

RCA, formerly an initialism for the Radio Corporation of America, is now a trademark used by two companies for products descended from that common ancestor:

Thomson SA, which manufactures consumer electronics like RCA-branded televisions, DVD players, video cassette recorders, direct broadcast satellite decoders, camcorders, audio equipment, telephones, and related accessories; and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which owns the RCA Victor and RCA Records record labels it received from one of its owners, BMG. The two companies bought those assets from General Electric, which took over the RCA conglomerate in 1986 and kept RCA's NBC broadcasting interests. Initially, GE continued to control the RCA trademarks (including the rights to the His Master's Voice trademark, or Nipper, in the Americas), which were then licensed to Thomson and Bertelsmann. Thomson eventually bought the RCA trademarks, subject to the perpetual license GE had issued to Sony BMG's predecessor.

Founded: 1919
RCA was formed in 1919 as a publicly-held company owned in part by Westinghouse (and AT&T ?) and GE. David Sarnoff was named General Manager. RCA's charter required it be mostly American-owned. RCA took over the assets of American Marconi, and was responsible for marketing GE and Westinghouse's radio equipment. It also acquired the patents of United Fruit and Westinghouse, in exchange for ownership stakes. By 1926, RCA had grasped the market for commercial radio, and purchased the WEAF and WCAP radio stations and network from AT&T, merged them with RCA's own attempt at networking, the WJZ New York/WRC Washington chain, and formed the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). In 1929, RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs (including the famous "Victrola") and phonograph records (in British English, "gramophone records"). The company then became RCA-Victor. With Victor, RCA acquired New World rights to the famous Nipper trademark. RCA Victor produced many radio-phonographs. The company also created new techniques for adding sound to film. In 1931, RCA Victor developed and released the first 33¨÷ rpm records to the public. These had the standard groove size identical to the contemporary 78rpm records, rather than the "microgroove" used in post-WWII 33¨÷ "Long Play" records. The format was a commercial failure at the height of the Great Depression, partially because the records and playback equipment were expensive. The system was withdrawn from the market after about a year. (This was not the first attempt at a commercial long play record format, as Edison Records had marketed a microgroove vertically recorded disc with 20 minutes playing time per side the previous decade; the Edison long playing records were also a commercial failure.) In 1939, RCA demonstrated an all-electronic television system at the New York World's Fair. With the introduction of the NTSC standard, the Federal Communications Commission authorized the start of commercial television transmission on July 1, 1941. World War II slowed the deployment of television in the US, but RCA began selling television sets almost immediately after the war was over. Antitrust concerns led to the breakup of the NBC radio networks by the FCC, a breakup affirmed by the United States Supreme Court. On October 12, 1943, the "NBC Blue" radio network was sold to Life Savers candy magnate Edward J. Noble for $8,000,000, and renamed "The Blue Network, Inc". It would become the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in 1946. The "NBC Red" network retained the NBC name, and RCA retained ownership. In 1949, RCA-Victor developed and released the first 45 rpm record to the public, answering CBS/Columbia's 33¨÷ rpm "LP". RCA Video-Tape machineIn 1953, RCA's color-TV standard was adopted as the standard for American color TV. RCA cameras and studio gear, particularly of the TK-40/41 series, became standard equipment at many American television network affiliates. Perhaps surprisingly David Sarnoff commented in 1955, "Television will never be a medium of entertainment".
In many ways the story of RCA is the story of David Sarnoff. His drive and business acumen led to RCA becoming one of the largest companies in the world, successfully turning it into a conglomerate during the era of their success. However in 1970, now 69 years old, Sarnoff retired and was succeeded by his son Robert. David Sarnoff died the next year; much of RCA's success died with him. RCA was one of the eight major computer companies (along with IBM, Burroughs, Control Data Corporation, General Electric, Honeywell, Scientific Data Systems and UNIVAC) through most of the 1960s, but abandoned computers in 1971. RCA was a major proponent of the eight-track tape cartridge, which it launched in 1965. The eight-track cartridge initially had a huge and profitable impact on the consumer marketplace. However, sales of the 8-track tape format peaked in 1974-75 as consumers increasingly favored the compact cassette format. During the 1970s, RCA Corporation, as it was now formally known, became increasingly ossified as a company. Robert Sarnoff was ousted in a boardroom coup by Anthony Conrad, who then resigned after admitting failing to file income tax returns for six years. Despite maintaining a high standard of engineering excellence in such fields as broadcast engineering and satellite communications equipment, other businesses such as the NBC radio and television networks declined. Forays into new consumer electronics products, such as the innovative but technologically obsolescent SelectaVision videodisc system, proved money losers. This eventually led to RCA's sale to GE and its subsequent break-up.
Radio Fernseh Elektro GmbH in Germany was an "Associated Company of Radio Corporation of America" (RCA). This according to the type label on a model 5QR64X and 67QR77M etc. This company was established by RCA as an agency to order radios for the RCA market outside Germany and USA, produced by German manufacturers which are not visible. One of the manufacturers was probably Graetz.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  47/48 Q34 Ch= RC-539E 6SK7  Wavebands: BC, 4xSW  7" x 9" elliptical speaker electrodynamic   
USA  47/48 Victor 54 (B2) 1R5  "Taschenformat" 
USA  49/50 6Q33XT 12SA7   
USA  45 6QV3 12SA7   
USA  46 9QV5 6BA6  In 1946 the tubes 6BA6 and 6BE6 came on the market. 4 x KW 
USA  46 Q10A Ch= RC-594C [early] 12SA7  Export version. Price in Switzerland 275 SFR. Operates from DC or 40-100Hz AC. 
USA  48 Q122 Ch= RC601 6SA7  Frequency Ranges: BC band - 535 to 1620 kc SW1 - 2.4 to 6.4 mc SW2 - 9.3 to 12.15 mc S... 
USA  42 QU62 Ch= RC-602B 6SG7  2 speakers: one each electrodynamic and permanentdynamic. BC and 4xSW. 
USA  46/47 Globe-Trotter 66BX (Globetrotter) Ch= RC-1040 1T4  This model with chassis RC-1040 employs a 3Q4 output tube, while the chassis RC-1040A uses... 
USA  48 Q122X Ch= RC601A 6SA7  Frequency Ranges: LW - 135 to 380 kc BC band - 535 to 1620 kc SW1 - 5.9 to 7.4 mc SW2 ... 
USA  47/48 QU61 Ch= RC-568B 6SK7  1 Electromagnetic and 1 permanent magnetic speaker. BC, 4xSW. Also Export version for 110-... 
USA  49/50 5Q31XT Ch= RC-1054 12SA7     


Further details for this radio manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

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Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
RCA (RCA Victor Co. Inc.); New York (NY)
Threads: 2 | Posts: 4
Hits: 1338     Replies: 0
'The Reasons Why' 1959 RCA Designing and Making Televisions
Vincent de Franco

This document of 26 minutes issued by the Television Division of RCA VICTOR in 1959 shows in great details the different steps of the genesis of television sets manufactured... from the design phases (in laboratories in Camden New Jersey) up to production (tubes, picture tubes*, chassis, cabinets).

The film was most likely shown internally at RCA to sensibilize personel towards high quality.

*Production of color picture tubes in Lancaster Pensylvania.



Hits: 3828     Replies: 2
Progress on scanning the RCA Red Books
Thomas Albrecht

One of our U.S. members, John Kusching, has been very active in recent weeks scanning information from the RCA "Red Books."  These are annual volumes produced by RCA with several pages of detailed information about each RCA model, including service and alignment instructions, schematics, pictorial wiring diagrams, and the like.

John has now completed scans of the 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1937 Red Books, and he is continuing to acquire more volumes and keep scanning.  Information from RCA Red Books now includes over 1900 pages scanned and uploaded, covering 240 models.  John has taken the extra time to scan with high resolution and to process the scanned images following the recommended RMorg guidelines, so the image quality is top notch - basically matching the quality of the original printed pages in the RCA Red Books, yet still keeping the file sizes small enough so that downloading time is minimal.

John is a new member of RMorg, having joined in November 2010.  His level of activity and uploading during the few months he has been with us is rather amazing!

An update on statistics for U.S. models:

  • 67,729 models in total
  • 27,047 with pictures (40% of total)
  • 46,463 with schematics (69% of total)

Comparison to statistics for all countries:

  • 187,069 models in total
  • 104,045 with pictures (55% of total)
  • 95,462 with schematics (51% of total)

Many thanks to John and others who have worked systematically to provide detailed information for RCA.  Thanks to these efforts, RMorg's data is beginning to reach more of a critical mass to be a truly useful resource for U.S. manufacturers and models.  Although there is still plenty more work to do for U.S. models, real progress is being made!

Omer Suleimanagich

Considering that RCA's vast library from their research lab is slowly disapearing, and does not have it's own web site anymore, this is VERY good news! 

Too many people out there, take radio for granted, to the point that valuable information is being lost and destroyed on a daily basis.  Anything that anybody has, should be scanned and uploaded to RMorg before the information  is lost for good.

All I can say,  with all of todays technology, cell phones, internet, etc  the survivors of Japan's big earthquake are now, all relying on radio for information!




John Kusching

I have completed uploading the data from the following RCA Victor Service Notes Books, also known as the RCA "Redbooks":

1) 1923-1928

2) 1929-1930

3) 1931-1932

4) 1933

5) 1934

6) 1935

7) 1936

8) 1937

9) 1938

10) 1939

11) 1940

12) 1943-1946 (Volume III)

You can use the "Schematic Finder" to locate a radio model in its associated RCA Redbook. Unfortunately RCA did not add page numbers to the  first 5 books and so you will get a "Page 0" as the page indication for models in these books.  From 1935 and beyond, RCA added page numbers and so the Schematic Finder will indicate the correct page number along with the year in which the model can be found.  For Redbooks that span multiple years, I have used the lowest year to indicate the proper book.

RCA (RCA Victor Co. Inc.); New York (NY)
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand