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History of the manufacturer  

Ultimate (Brand), Radio Ltd. & Radio (1936) Ltd.; Auckland

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Name: Ultimate (Brand), Radio Ltd. & Radio (1936) Ltd.; Auckland    (NZ)  
Abbreviation: ultimate-r
Products: Model types Others

Radio Ltd.
Strand Arcade, Auckland (1922-1925)
Commerce Buildings, Anzac Avenue, Auckland. (1925-1935)

Radio (1936) Ltd.
Quay St., Auckland (1935-1955))


Radio Ltd. and later Radio (1936) Ltd. were New Zealand's largest radio manufacturers. Ultimate was their main brand which was also exported to Australia.
The dates and distributors for the many Brands they manufactured are listed below.
Note: Date range from advertisements from 1935 to 1940.

Founded: 1922
Closed: 1955
Production: 1955 - 1955
1931-1957CourierVariousPrior to 1931 see Frank Wiseman Ltd.
1933-1949CrusaderBond & Bond Ltd.After 1940 made by Collier & Beale
1932-1950Golden KnightFarmers Trading Co. Ltd. 
1933-1940HamiltonH. Nimmo & Sons Ltd. 
1945-1950Lewis EadyLewis Eady Ltd. 
1934-1942LuxorD. A. Morrison & Co. Ltd. 
1936-1949MadisonGarnet Keene Ltd. 
1932-McCabeMcCabe’s Radios 
1935-1947NationalJohn Burns & Co. Ltd.Westco manufactured from 1940
1933-1945ParamountRadio Dist. of NZ Ltd. 
1933-1950RollsStevens & Sons Ltd. 
1933-1955SkyscraperBond & Bond Ltd. 
1923-1955UltimateVariousAfter 1955 made be Ultimate-Ekco

* From newspaper adverts.

Their first radio was an Everyman crystal set imported from the Canadian Independent Telephone Company (CITCO) in Toronto. The crystal set was actually a re-badged DeForest Everyman Crystal set under the CITCO name.

300 were ordered, however shortly after the order was placed, they realised that there was no radio station in Auckland to listen to. There were stations elsewhere, but the crystal set had insufficient sensitivity to receive them. So, an urgent cable was sent to order a suitable transmitter. Pending its arrival a 15 watt, DeForest Radiophone was placed into service.  This meant that not only was Radio Ltd one of the first companies in the radio industry in NZ, but it was also the first transmitting station 1YA in Auckland. [1]

The “Ultimate” brand was introduced in 1923 when the company decided to manufacture its own receivers. Their first model was Gilfillan 2-valve kitset, RA-1. They followed with 4 to 5-valve sets with the first all-wave model in 1927.[1]
By the early 1930s the company flourished and in 1932 claimed they had over 20% of the countries production. By 1935 they had two factories in operation and production figures in that year exceeded 9,000 sets. In late 1935 they moved to a large four-story building in Quay Street. They also reorganised the company into Radio (1936) Ltd.

Between 1938 and 1941 Ultimate radios were exported to Australia (George Brown & Co.) and India. Sadly, the commencement of WW2 but an end to this export venture.

They were heavily involved in the production of military radio equipment during the war and at the end of the war, they held the position of New Zealand’s leading manufacturer.

With the advent of television, they required technical input and TV manufacturing assistance, they formed an association with British company E. K. Cole Ltd.

In 1955 the company was reorganised as Ultimate-Ecko (NZ) Co. Ltd.

This manufacturer was suggested by Stuart Irwin.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
NZ  54 Ultimate Troubadour RBO [Push-Pull output.] 1T4   
NZ  53 Rolls Ch=RCD 6BE6  5- valve, AC-Powered Superheterodyne. 
NZ  36 Rolls CH=XR 58  6-valve, All Wave superhet with RF stage. 
NZ  35 Luxor CR 58   
NZ  49 Ultimate Eden RX 7A8   
NZ  36 Courier UC 2A7  5 valve, AC powered superhet. Chassis also used in the Ultimate UU and Rolls UR. 
NZ  36 Rolls UR 2A7  5-valve AC powered, superhet with an RF preselector. Chassis is also used in Courier Mo... 
NZ  49 Ultimate Gypsy RAN 1P5GT   
NZ  33 Skyscraper De Luxe Midget [5 Valve AC]   5 valve, AC powered, superhet manufactured for Bond and Bond Ltd in 1933. 
NZ  41 Rolls FD Portable 1N5  Battery only version of the FB AC-Battery model Distributed by Stevens & Sons. Manu... 
NZ  39 Skyscraper CTS 6K8  5-valve AC-powered Superhet receiver. Distributed by Bond & Bond. Manufactured b... 
NZ  39 Ultimate CNU 6K7  8-valve, All Wave superhet with RF stage & magic eye tuning indicator. 


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

Advertising their first Crystal Set in August 1922. Auckland Star 2 Aug 1922 Page 8. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_auckland_star_2_aug_1922_page_8.jpg
Advertising their first Crystal Set in August 1922. Otago Times 2 Aug 1922 Page 7 Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_otago_times_2_aug_1922_page_7.jpg
Offering radio technical training in August 1922 Auckland Star 5 Aug 1922 Page 5. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_auckland_star_5_aug_1922_page_5.jpg
Skyscraper radio advert 1932. Auckland Star 1 Oct 1932 Page 3. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_auckland_star_1_oct_1932_page_3.jpg
Crusader radio advert 1934. Auckland Star 3 Mar 1934 Page 11. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealand.tbn_nz_radioltd_auckland_star_3_mar_1934_page_11.jpg
Ultimate advert 1928. Auckland Star 14 Dec 1928 Page 17. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealand.tbn_nz_radioltd_auckland_star_14_dec_1928_page_17.jpg
Hamilton Radio advert 1933. Evening Post 6 Apr 1933 Page 21. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_evening_post_6_apr_1933_page_21.jpg
Luxor Radio advert 1934. Evening Post 14 Jun 1934 Page 21. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealand.tbn_nz_radioltd_evening_post_14_jun_1934_page_21.jpg
Madison Radio advert 1936. Northern Advocate 19 Aug 1936, Page 5. Image sourced from Paperpast-National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_northern_advocate_19_aug_1936_page_5.jpg
Paramount radio advert 1933. Star (Christchurch) 1 Apr 1933, Page 31. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_star_christchurch_1_apr_1933_page_31.jpg
Rolls radio advert 1933. Star (Christchurch) 8 Apr 1933, Page 25. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealand.tbn_nz_radioltd_star_christchurch_8_apr_1933_page_25.jpg
National radio advert 1935. New Zealand Herald 11 Apr 1935 Page 19. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealand.tbn_nz_radioltd_new_zealand_herald_11_apr_1935_page_19.jpg
Golden Knight advert 1932. New Zealand Herald 7 Oct 1932 Page 16. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealand.tbn_nz_radioltd_new_zealand_herald_7_oct_1932_page_16.jpg
King Country Chronicle 12 Sep 1936, Page 6. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_king_country_chronicle_12_sep_1936_page_6a.jpg
King Country Chronicle 12 Sep 1936, Page 6. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_king_country_chronicle_12_sep_1936_page_6.jpg
From the Sydney Mail (NSW), June 1, 1938, Page 4.tbn_nz_radio_ltd_ultimate_aust_1938_ad.jpg
Courier advert 1932. Evening Post 4 Jun 1932, Page 5. Image sourced from Paperpast -National Library of New Zealandtbn_nz_radioltd_evening_post_4_jun_1932_page_5.jpg
Radio (1936) Ltd. label Gumtree Ad ID 1279283777tbn_nz_radioltd_raa_label.jpg