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History of the manufacturer  

Ken-Rad, The Kentucky Radio Corporation; Owensboro, KY

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Name: Ken-Rad, The Kentucky Radio Corporation; Owensboro, KY    (USA)  
Abbreviation: ken-rad
Products: Tube manufacturer

The Kentucky Radio Corporation
817 Lewis Street, Owensboro, KY (1918)

The Ken-Rad Corporation, Inc. (1931)
Ken-Rad Tube & Lamp Corporation, Inc. (1936)

Ken-Rad Radio Tubes - Product of General Electric Company
Schenectady 5, New York (1946)

Founded: 1918
Production: 1922 -

Founded in 1899, the Kentucky Electrical Lamp Company began operations at 817 Lewis Street (renamed to J. R. Miller Blvd. in the 1980s) in Owensboro, Kentucky. The company was a pioneer in the development and manufacturing of incandescent light bulbs.

The company was sold to Roy Burlew in 1918 who used it to create the Kentucky Radio Corporation, later known as Ken-Rad, which operated out of the same building. Burlew grew the company significantly as the lamp plant continued to grow. In 1922 he expanded into the manufacturing of vacuum tubes for radios. Seven years after the purchase the company had plants in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Tell City and Huntingburg, Indiana.

Ken-Rad licensed the Amalgamated Wireless Valve Co. Ltd. of Australia (a division of AWA) to manufacture the standard range of receiving tubes available in the mid to late 1930s, see Ken-Rad Australia.

In 1943, Burlew sold the lamp division which he had acquired in 1918 for $55,000 to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in exchange of 35,000 shares of that company's stock, then valued at $1,600,000.

Ken-Rad secured several government and defense contracts during World War II. The company grew to be very important to the war effort, and when it was threatened by a strike in 1944 it was seized by the Department of War under order of President Roosevelt.

In 1945, Burlew sold the remainder of the company, the tube division, to General Electric; it became GE's primary tube making facility and the brand continued to exist for a time.

On January 1, 1987, General Electric sold the assets of the Owensboro business to private investors who renamed the company MPD, Inc. At the time of the sale, MPD's product offering was exclusively electronic components with 85% of total sales directed to military avionics.

Information taken from Wikipedia and MPD website.

This manufacturer was suggested by Georg Richter.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  22 Last Word B-12    


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

Radio Engineering February 1934tbn_radio_engineering_february_1934.png
Radio Engineering March 1935tbn_radio_engineering_march_1935.png

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Ken-Rad, The Kentucky Radio Corporation; Owensboro, KY
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Ken-Rad Co Inc., The; Owensboro (KY) (USA)
Fin Stewart

The company was listed as an RCA Licencee by the Wall Street Journal April 8th, 1930 in their "Broad Street Gossip" column

Ken-Rad, The Kentucky Radio Corporation; Owensboro, KY
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand


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