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History of the manufacturer  

Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Ltd. (AWV); Sydney, NSW

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Name: Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Ltd. (AWV); Sydney, NSW    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: amalg-valv
Products: Model types Others Tube manufacturer

Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Ltd.
Head Office, 47 York Street, Sydney, NSW.
Ashfield Factory,  552-554 Parramatta Road, Ashfield, Sydney, NSW. (1933 -
Rydalmere Factory, 348 Victoria Road, Rydalmere, NSW. -  (1956 -

Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Ltd. was set up by the Directors of AWA in April 1932 to acquire the licenses from RCA of America, International General electric, Westinghouse & AWA to manufacture and sell valves in Australia.[1]

In the mid to late 1930’s AWV also manufactured the standard range of receiving tubes available in the period for Ken-Rad USA and the Osram brand, not including octal based types, for British General Electric Co. Pty. Ltd.  

Founded: 1932
Production: 1932 -
Documents about this manufacturer/brand
  AWV Letter listing 1958 Publications 162 KB
  AWV Drift Transistors 1958. 2282 KB

A very good history of the AWV valve production from implementation till 1957 is reproduced below from, “The History of the Receiving Valve, by  J. McDonald, ASTC, Production Engineer, AWV  Radiotronics, December, 1957.”[2]


Receiving valve manufacture was initiated in Australia by Amalgamated Wireless Ltd. in 1920. Production of a "soft" Triode known as the Expanse B was started in a section of the Company's manufacturing unit, then situated at Knox Street, Sydney.

The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) had already been formed in October 1919, acquiring patent rights from the General Electric Company, Westinghouse Electric Co., and others. At the end of 1920, it began production of its first two valve types.

At the end of 1924, while broadcasting was still in its infancy, there being only 38,000 Australian broadcast receiver licences in force, agreements were negotiated by our parent Company with R.C.A. to enable selected valve types to be manufactured in Australia under licence.

These agreements, still in existence, have been an important factor in keeping the Australian valve industry abreast of world progress. By the end of 1927, broadcasting in Australia was making rapid progress. History was made when the AWA short wave station, 2ME, successfully beamed the first Empire Broadcast on the 5th September, 1927. Broadcasting was now an established industry, the number of licences had increased to 258,000.

To meet the rapidly increasing demand, Amalgamated Wireless (A'sia.) Ltd., was then manufacturing four valve types and distributing some fourteen Marconi and eighteen R.C.A. Valve Types.

The need to ·produce in Australia a greater range of valves was becoming increasingly evident. To cope with this demand and to establish an organisation that could concentrate on the specialised field of valve manufacture, a separate company was formed on the 8th April, 1932.


The company, Amalgamated Wireless. Valve Co. Pty. Ltd., started production of Radiotron valves in August, 1933, with a factory area of some 15,000 sq. ft. at Ashfield.

Two r·f pentode types 57 and 58, an output valve type 2A5 and a full wave rectifier type 80, were manufactured under licence to R.C.A. The wisdom of establishing this Australian industry was reflected in the production figures achieved during 1934, its first full year of operation. Some 350,000 valves were manufactured and three new valve types were added to the list for local manufacture, the Company's policy being to supply the best possible range of valves for use under local conditions. The year 1935 was outstanding in its rapid expansion. Manufacture of multi-purpose valves such as the double-diode-triode, the double-diode-pentode and the pentagrid converter was undertaken. The establishment of a complete range of indirectly heated valves using 6.3V heaters climaxed a year of great achievement.

 During 1935, it was made possible to introduce a range of low-drain, high-performance valves, suitable for use in battery operated sets. These Australian-designed valves were an immediate success, and represented a high percentage of total production. They were later adopted by the armed services during the war years for use in a variety of communication equipment.


The success of Australian manufactured Radiotron Valves was now well established. Production figures in excess of 750,000 were achieved in 1937. The major development of this year was the introduction of the octal base. In 1938, more than 50% of locally manufactured Radiotrons used octal bases.
The war years were a period of intense activity, which saw the introduction of the "GT" valves such as 5Y3GT and 6V6GT. A range of "GT" receiving valves using 1.4 volt filaments and several special purpose valves were produced for use by the services.

In line with the Company's policy, engineers were sent overseas to investigate the equipment and techniques required for the manufacture of  transmitting valves. On their return in 1939, the establishment of a unit for Power Valve production was commenced. Wartime demand for these valves made this an urgent project and every effort was made to establish production facilities quickly. It was a proud achievement that some 35,000 power valves were produced during 1941, comprising seventeen' valve types.


To provide more production space to meet the ever increasing demand for Radiotron Valves, a three storey building of some 6'0,000 sq. ft. was erected at Ashfield. Production in this factory started in March, 1942.

The introduction pf Seven Pin Miniature Valves was the next major local development. Overseas the miniature valve and the specialised equipment required for their manufacture were being developed. They were mass produced during the war years and, in general, proved themselves in a wide field of applications.

The complex equipment required to manufacture these valves was not readily available overseas, therefore, it was manufactured in the Company's workshop. Production of the seven pin battery series started early in 1946, the first valve being the r-f pentode type 1T 4.

The seven pin AC miniature series was introduced in 1948, when production of a sharp and a remote cut-off r-f pentode was commenced.

A double diode output pentode type 6BV7, of AWV design, was the first of the locally manufactured Radiotron Nine Pin Miniatures. This was introduced in 1951.


To cope with the increased demand for valves brought about by the establishment of TV  transmission, further manufacturing space was required. This was obtained by the erection of a 100,000 sq. ft. building at Rydalmere. This modern factory provided not only the additional space required for the increased volume of receiving and TV valves, but also the facilities necessary for the local production of Picture Tubes. Production commenced at the Rydalmere plant in 1956. From a modest beginning in 1933, producing four valve types, the popularity of the Radiotron series has grown to such an extent that more than fifty valve types are now manufactured. New valve types, designed to meet the requirements of TV set manufacturers have been introduced since 1956.


In the early days of the art, receiving valves had only one application, namely, in broadcast receivers.

Following the introduction of the Miniature series, and as a result of an ever widening field of electronic applications, the demands on the receiving valves were greatly increased. They were used in Computers, in communication equipment, and often in equipment in which they were subjected to abnormal mechanical shocks and vibration. For this reason, since' 1945, the valve manufacturers of all countries have been engaged on research to make their product as reliable as possible for general use.

The greatest advances in this field have been in the new materials tested and proven suitable for better valve quality, constant research providing many new materials.

Molybdenum and tungsten are now commonly used for grid lateral wires, where high cathode temperatures would cause the softer manganese nickel wire to distort. To prevent reverse grid current, grid wires are often coated with gold or silver.

Nickel plated iron has generally replaced nickel as grid support rod wire because of its marked rigidity at high temperatures. Where rapid conduction of heat from a grid is required, a copper alloy containing a small percentage of Chromium is used. The added chromium makes the side-rod rigid and capable of withstanding reasonable shock treatment. The advances in cathode base metal materials have been marked and a wide range of nickel-alloys are available. The normal cathode sleeve metal is 98.00% nickel, 1.00% cobalt, the remaining 1.00% being made up of seven to nine other elements, the percentage of each element remaining in the final melt being accurately controlled. Selected alloys are used to produce valves having predetermined characteristics that can have either:

(1) high efficiency at low temperature,
(2) low leakage characteristics over a range of temperature,
(3) low interface development,
(4) low reverse grid current characteristics, or
(5) extremely long life.

The watts input per sq. cm. to the cathode of the average AC miniature is high. To combat leakage paths formed by metal evaporation at high temperatures during life, several types of efficient mica sprays have been developed. Where voltage breakdown between electrodes is a problem aluminium oxide is used as a mica spray.

To dissipate heat, several excellent rigid electrode materials having high radiation properties are available. In addition to several varieties of carbonised material, one worthy of mention is a multi-layer material, aluminium-clad iron. This bright material is becoming increasingly popular as it has a low initial gas content. During RF treatment, it turns black and assumes radiation properties closely approaching those of a black body.

The heaters of most Radiotron receiving valves are now made of pure tungsten rather than the

tungsten alloy previously used. Pure tungsten IS capable of standing repetitive heater cycling over a long period. When this tungsten base-wire is coated with a high grade alundum, closely controlled for grain size and impurities, the use of higher heater cathode voltages becomes possible.

The materials mentioned represent only a few of the advances made in this field. New materials

and techniques are under constant surveillance by the AWV engineering group. Each is completely

investigated and incorporated into the production of Radiotron Valves where any improvment in performance as general purpose valves can be obtained.


The company published many Technical Bulletins, books and technical reference manuals on valves, semiconductors and components. Names of some of these publications are listed below:

  • Radiotron Designer's Handbook. (1934 – 1955, 6 editions)
  • Radiotron Receiving Manual, RVM-2 (1958)
  • Radiotronics. (1939 -1969)
  • AWV Semiconductor Manual (1963)
  • AWV Radiotron: Power, Gas & Special Tubes (1953)
  • Super Radiotron Valve Manual, (1962 – 1967, 3 editions)
  • Phototubes, PT-1 (1958)
  • TV & Receiving Valves & Components, TV-1 (1958)
  • Transistor Fundamentals & Applications (1959)
  • Tunnel Diodes (1964)
  • Radiotron Servicemen’s’ Guide, RSG-1 (1958)
  • Radiotron Transistors, T-1 (1958)

[1] The Sun (NSW) Apr 19, 1932, Page 9.
[2] The History of the Receiving Valve, by  J. McDonald, ASTC, Production Engineer, AWV  Radiotronics, December, 1957.

This manufacturer was suggested by Gary Cowans.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  36 D51 6A7  AWV explanatory circuit D51 showing a filter around the volume control to increase bass bo... 
AUS  37 D42 6A7  Theoretical circuit and notes explaining series inverse feedback with resistance coupling ... 
AUS  37 Senior Amateur Receiver C111 956  AWV designed Amateur Short Wave receiver covering 9 to 120 Metres with BFO. The circuit... 
AUS  37 Junior Amateur receiver C71 6D6  AWV designed Amateur Short Wave receiver covering 2.35 to 33 Metres with BFO. Note this... 
AUS  59 Diode & Triode Demonstration Unit 1A56082   Education Aid for teaching diode and triode characteristics in school physics classes.  
AUS  59 Triode & Cathode-Ray Tube Display Unit A84702 [DU1] AV25  The A84702 is a Visual Aid demonstration instrument for educational use for displaying tub... 


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

[1] Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Ltd. was set up by the Directors of AWA in April 1932. The Sun (NSW) Apr 19, 1932, Page 9.tbn_aus_amalg_valv_1_the_sun_nsw_apr_19_1932_page_9..jpg
AWV Radiotron Quick reference Wall Chart 1949.tbn_aus_amalg_valv_radiotron_wall_chart_1949.jpg
First Ashfield Factory 1934. Radiotron Designers Handbook 1934, page 4.tbn_aus_amalg_valv_radiotron_des_hb_1934_page_4.jpg
AWV Radiotron valve box showing logo.tbn_aus_amalg_valv_radiotron_box.jpg
Radio & Hobbies May 1960, Page 56.tbn_aus_amalg_valv_r_h_1_may_1960_p56.jpg
AWV Transistor Specifications. Radio & Hobbies, Apr 1961, Page 104.tbn_aus_awv_r_h_apr_1961_p104.jpg
Wireless weekly Mar 22, 1939, Page 62tbn_aus_amalg_valv_wireless_weekly_mar_22_1939_page_62.jpg
1940 AWV Radiotron price list.tbn_aus_awv_1940_price_list.jpg
1A56082 and A84702 visual aids display at the AWA Centenary exhibition in 2013. Photo from Ross Stell.tbn_aus_amalg_valv_valve_training_units.jpg
Electronics Australia July 1965, Page 10tbn_aus_amalg_valv_ea_jul_1965_page_10.jpg


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