Please click your language flag. Bitte Sprachflagge klicken.

History of the manufacturer  

Magnavox Co., Commercial Wireless and Development Co.; San Francisco, later Fort Waye, IN

As a member you can upload pictures (but not single models please) and add text.
Both will display your name after an officer has activated your content, and will be displayed under «Further details ...» plus the text also in the forum.
Name: Magnavox Co., Commercial Wireless and Development Co.; San Francisco, later Fort Waye, IN    (USA)  
Abbreviation: magnavox
Products: Model types Others Tube manufacturer

Commercial Wireless and Development Company
San Francisco, CA (1910)
Napa, CA (1911)

The Magnavox Company
526 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA (1917)
2725 E 14th Street, Oakland, CA (1919)
NY Office: 370 Seventh Avenue, NY (1922)

Magnavox Co., Ltd.
2131 Bucter Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1942)

They developed the "SE4005 noise-cancelling microphone" for aircraft intercoms.

Founded: 1910

Peter Lauritz Jensen (born May 16, 1886 near Stubbekobing in Denmark) worked for the Danish Poulsen syndicate as a young engineer and came to America to help install their continuous-wave technology, where he met Edwin S. Pridham. [1]

In 1908, the investor Elwell convinced Poulsen to establish a Californian enterprise to be known as the Poulsen Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company. [1] The company was to be renamed Federal Telegraph Co. (FTC) in 1909. [4]

Resigning from FTC, Jensen and Pridham made an attempt to acquire permission to erect stations in Ireland and Canada, but were refuted by Poulsen. Jensen decided to move back to California and become an American citizen. Richard O'Connor (a San Francisco soap and candle manufacturer) and his business associates still had an interest in the upcoming radio industry - despite the failure of the recent attempt to acquire a licence - and they helped organize the Commercial Wireless and Development Company in 1910. On February 22, 1911 they moved to Napa, about 35 miles north-west of San Francisco. [1]

Around 1915, Jensen and Pridham conceived the first electro-dynamic speaker - though the principle was already known from Germany, Great Britain and the United States. A patent application was denied on these grounds, but they managed to patent their specific implementation. A sales pitch to AT&T failed, but O'Connor convinced them to continue their research and improve on the system. The first usable setup was comprised of a gooseneck horn from an old Edison phonograph, a cluster of six microphones which had been acquired in Europe in 1910, a transformer and a 12 volt storage battery. With this they created a sound system with a potential output of 25 watts, 1000-fold the capacity of any other system on the market at that time. The speaker was called "Magnavox", after other names such as "Stentor" and "Telemegaphone" were dismissed. The term "loudspeaker" was already considered by Jensen but rejected because he found it unappealing. [1]

The Napa laboratories were sold in late 1916, and they moved to San Francisco. [1] On August 3, 1917, The Magnavox Company was formed to consolidate the business of the Sonora Phonograph Co. (at that time a California corporation having an exclusive sales contract in CA, OR, WA, AZ, NE and NM) and the Commercial Wireless company. [2] O'Conner stayed on the board of directors, Steers (former president of the Sonora Phonograph Corp.) became chief executive. [1]

In 1924 Magnavox began to produce a tube "A" with a special design, a year later radio production commenced.

Jensen left the company in 1925 and founded the Jensen Radio Mfg. Co. in 1927, moved it to Chicago and went on to produce the first permanent-magnet loudspeaker. Jensen was knighted by the King of Denmark in 1953. [3]

Early in 1926 the company sold all of its factory property at 14th St., comprising some 7.5 acres, to Montgomery Ward & Co., retaining the use until Jan 1, 1929. They were constructing a new plant at 45th and Park Aves, Emeryville, Cal with 40.000 sqft, and also purchased the plant and business of Western Aluminum Co. [2]

On Feb. 20, 1930, the Magnavox Company Ltd. was formed under the laws of Delaware as a holding company to acquire the stock of The Magnavox Company (an Arizonan Corporation) and also to acquire the stock of the Amrad Corporation. [5]

In 1934, 1935 and 1936, the Magnavox Company Ltd. submitted consolidated reports which include data for both its subsidiaries The Magnavox Company, Inc. and the latter's subsidiary Electro-Acoustic Products Co. During 1937, The Magnavox Company, Inc. filed for reorganization under Section 77B of the Bankrupcy Act, and as a result the registrant, Magnavox Company, Ltd. filed separate statements for 1937 for itself, The Magnavox Company, Inc. and Electro-Acoustic Products Co. Under the plan of reorganisation, consommated in August 1938, The Magnavox Company, Inc. absorbed Electro-Acoustic Products Co. [6]

On Sept. 3, 1942, Magnavox Company Ltd. changed their name (back) to The Magnavox Company. The assets and business of the subsidiary The Magnavox Company, Inc., an Indiana Corporation, were acquired and the subsidiary dissolved on Oct 7, 1942. [5]

In 1974, Dutch Philips N.V. made a tender offer for Magnavox through its North American Philips Corp. at $8 a share, an offer that at first protested by Magnavox' management, even tho it was $4 about the last selling price. [7] In 1975 the board of directords approved the merger of the company into North American Philips, which already owned 84 percecnt of Magnavox. Philips paid $9 per share they did not already own. [8]

[1]: Technology in America, Carroll W. Pursell, 1981, 1990
[2]: Walker's Manual of Western Corporations, ca. 1926
[3]: Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, 2nd Edition, Frank Hoffmann, 2005
[4]: Understanding Silicon Valley, Martin Kenney, Stanford Press, 2000
[5]: Walker's Manual of Pacific Coast Securities, 1944
[6]: Survey of American Listed Corporations, Securities and Exchange Commission, 1939
[7]: Newsweek, Volume 84, p.74, 1974
[8]: Billboard, Volume 87, p.121, 1975

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  80 Skywalker D1610   AM/FM Stereo. 
USA  57 CMU A487DC 117 Series 6AF4A  Magnavox Chassis CMU A487DC 117 Series is a 21" b/w TV with US standard VHF tuner chan... 
USA  25 Single Dial 10 Ch= D   One dial (primary tuning control knob) Single dial tuning. Enclosure for B batteries. 
USA  40 10kcFilter Adjustment    
USA  52 130 "Playfellow" Ch= CR-215 12SA7   
USA  25 25 Ch= D   One dial (primary tuning control knob) Single dial tuning. Built-in speaker. B-battery com... 
USA  27 Eton Ch= T UX201A  One dial (primary tuning control knob) 
USA  25 Single Dial 75 Ch= D   One dial (primary tuning control knob) Single dial tuning. Built in speaker. Encloses all ... 
USA  99 Doublet ID = 46265    
USA  47 A-101P 6D6   
USA  47 A-106P 6D6   
USA  42 A-1101 6J5  Push-pull audio amplifier. 


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

Hamman, K. Leroy, 1887-1979. Public Domain.tbn_usa_magnavox_factory1920.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Aug. 1922, p. 359tbn_usa_magnavox_2.jpg
Radio Broadcast, May 1922, p. 75tbn_usa_magnavox~~1.jpg
1923 adtbn_us_magnavox_varii_adv.jpg
October 1923 Popular Radio advertisement page 35tbn_usa_magnavoad_oct23popularradio.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Sep. 1923, p. 439tbn_usa_magnavox_4.jpg
September 1923 Popular Science magazine advertisement page 121tbn_usa_magnavox_sept1923_popularscience_page_121.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Jan. 1924, p. 263tbn_usa_magnavox_5.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Mar. 1924. p. 439tbn_usa_magnavox_6.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Sep. 1924, p. 437tbn_usa_magnavox_7.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Dec. 1924, p. 301tbn_usa_magnavox_8.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Mar. 1925, p. 941tbn_usa_magnavox~~2.jpg
Radio Broadcast, Oct. 1928, p. 282tbn_usa_magnavox.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing October 1928 page 38.tbn_rr_october28_ad_magnavox_p38.jpg
Scanned from the Radio & Television Retailing March 1947 page 68.tbn_rr_mar47_p68.jpg
Scanned from the Radio & Television Retailing March 1947 page 69.tbn_rr_mar47_p69.jpg
Magnavox Cataolg January 1953tbn_usa_mgnavox_catalog_january_1953.jpg
Thanks for technical assistance Első Zalai Rádiómúzeum Alapítvány (, First Zala County Radio Museum Foundation, Hungary, Zalaegerszeg.tbn_gb_magnavox_3am802_front_logo1.jpg
Logo in D-17000.tbn_usa_magnavox_d1700_logo.jpg
Manufacturer documentationtbn_usa_magnavox_publ4.jpg
Manufacturer documentationtbn_us_magnavox_print_publ5.jpg
Manufacturer documentationtbn_us_magnavox_print_publ6.jpg
Manufacturer documentationtbn_us_magnavox_print_publ7.jpg
Manufacturer documentationtbn_us_magnavox_print_publ8.jpg
Manufacturer documentationtbn_us_magnavox_print_publ9.jpg