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History of the manufacturer  

Rawls & Co., W.C.; Norfolk, VA

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Name: Rawls & Co., W.C.; Norfolk, VA    (USA)  
Abbreviation: rawls
Products: Model types Tube manufacturer

W.C. Rawls & Co.
R.N. Bankers Trust Building, Norfolk, VA (1932)
Export office: 250 W. 57th St., New York City, NY
Factory: Morgan St, Suffolk, VA

This company manufactured tubes then in 1928 expanded into making television receivers and the like.

Tubes had yellow bakelite bases thus the type number prerfix RYB is Rawls Yellow Base 


Walter Cecil Rawls was born in 1895 and his parents moved to Suffolk while Walter was still at school.He left school at the 8th grade and had a couple of jobs including one as a silent movie projectionist. He was very prudent with his finances and by the age of seventeen, owned several houses.Also at this time he entered into a real estate/insurance partnership. In 1917 he was named manager of the Trust Department of the R.N.Bankers Trust Co in Norfolk. He became vice president of the company and in 1920 moved to new York City as the company's credit investigtor.

Walter Rawls owned a factory which was making radio tubes (brand not known) for some time in the mid to late 1920's. He became interested in television in 1928 and estblished W.C.Rawls & Co to start making combined radio and television receivers. It has been claimed in some reference material that these sets were the first to be made in the USA and preceded RCA. It is also claimed that he had an outline for designing color television, but did not patent it. He also apparently developed a television tube at the factory, the rights of which were claimed to have been sold to Zenith. 

Fifty sets were made, according to W C Rawls ((junior), in an interview with the Suffolk News Herald on January 20, 2016. THese were all used mostly for research and development. In June 1932 one of the first advertisements appeared. This was in "Short Wave Craft". This described the set as a televisor, short wave receiver and broadcast receiver. The televisor used a 16 inch diameter disc which was driven by a heavy duty synchronous motor. It was fitted with eight tubes. The combined radio receiver used six tubes. The set was given the model number TV 85 and when eventually on the market, sold for US$295.

The SWC advert lists 27 tubes made by the company. These are most of the standard range of receiving tubes available at the time and are prefixed "RYB"and the type numbering eg:RYB201A. Interestingly, no tubes have been located and the manufacturer is not listed in Tyne's "Saga of the Vacuum Tube".

The Great Depression hit the company hard and by the mid 1930''s, picture tube television was becoming the norm. It is not recorded in the reference material found as to when the factory closed. W.C.Rawls died in 1964 

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  32 Broadcast & SW 35  6 or 9 tubes? 
USA  32 Television TV85 235  The Rawls TV85 is a triple combination television, broadcast radio and shortwave radi... 


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

W.C. Rawls and Company logo from Short Wave Craft June 1932 inside front covertbn_us_rawls_1932_logo.jpg