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History of the manufacturer  

United Distributors Ltd. (Udisco); Sydney, NSW

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Name: United Distributors Ltd. (Udisco); Sydney, NSW    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: uniteddist
Products: Model types Others
Summary:

United Distributing Companies Ltd.
Corner George & Wynyard Streets, Sydney, NSW (1911 - 1913)

United Distributing Companies (NSW) Ltd.
60 York Street, Sydney, NSW (1913 - 1920)
28 Clarence Street, Sydney, Sydney, NSW (1920 - 1924)
28 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW
Branches in all Australian States and New Zealand.

Brands: Udisco, Radiovox, U.D.L., United, Umakit

The company manufactured and wholesaled "Udisco", "U.D.L.", "United" and "Radiovox" battery powered sets, and "Signal" and "Umakit" kit sets. They were also distributors for "Signal", "United", "Pilot”, Bremer-Tully and other parts.

Founded: 1911
Closed: 1929
Production: 1923 - 1929
Documents about this manufacturer/brand
  Udisco Instruction Book circa 1925. 6044 KB
History:

United Distributing Companies Ltd. was registered in January 1911 with Lynn D. Rudolph as Governing Director, taking over the office equipment import business of Southern Sales Ltd. which had a branches in Australia and New Zealand.[1] Rudolph was an American and founded the United Distributing Co. Chicago, manufacturing United Transformers and condensers.[2] By March 1912, the Company had set up branches in all states and New Zealand selling household goods. [3]
In May 1913 they went into voluntary liquidation.[4]

United Distributing Companies (NSW) Ltd. was registered by Lynn D. Rudolph in October 1913, presumably taking over the assets of the previous company.[5] With the advent of radio in 1923 they started to import Signal and United radio components from the US and manufactured and wholesaled “Radiovox” receivers.[6]
The use of the brand Radiovox is interesting as “Radiovox” was a registered AWA trademark from December 1922.[7] They also advertised as wholesalers for parts and other Australian manufactured sets such as Audiola and Cosmovox and opened a Victorian subsidiary, the United Distributing Co. (Vic) Ltd.

In June 1924 United Distributors Ltd. was formed, amalgamating both the NSW & Victorian companies and taking over the businesses of Australian Distributing Co., United Distributing Co. of Queensland, and the Knights Light Co. All these businesses were claimed to be steady profit-earners at the time, and improved showings were expected to follow upon the heels of expanded business, assisted by cuts in overhead and other costs because of the amalgamation. The company traded in a variety of lines, including petrol, electric-light plants, veterinary supplies, radio, etc. They decided to launch out on a large scale, and activities were extended to all the Australian states and New Zealand with special attention being given to radio goods, including their manufacture.[8]

In July 1924 Ernest Gordon Beard (1897- ?) from the Royal Navy, joined the company as Chief Radio Engineer.[9] Beard also designed and built the transmitters for broadcast stations 2KY and 2GB in 1926/27.

The company moved to new premises at 72 Clarence Street, Sydney in October 1924 and the weekly output was 285 Radiovox receivers and Signal home assembly sets per week.[10]

The trademark application for Udisco was registered in April 1926.[11]

From 1925 till 1927 the company made a small profit, however in 1928 they made a loss, caused by the radio section of the business. They had stocked up heavily, while keen competition and price-cutting reduced profit margins. By 1928 conditions failed to improve, and it was decided in late 1928 to get out of the radio-accessories portion, which then represented over 60% of the company’s trade. It was the unloading of these stocks and the expense of starting new departments that was mainly responsible for the loss. Also, the Perth, Adelaide, Launceston, and Hobart branches were not profitable, so it was decided to close them down and to trade at those centres in future on an agency basis.

They continued to manufacture battery powered radio receivers. With the advent of electric powered sets in the US and Australia the market was flooded with battery radio components and sets dumped in Australia from the US. This devalued their stock and made their battery powered receivers redundant.[12]

By late 1928 the branches were being sold and in December 1929 the company was liquidated.[13]

Beard started the Electric Corporation of Australia in January 1930 after purchasing the radio and electrical department from United Distributors Ltd.

[1] Evening News (NSW) Jan 17, 1911, page 4.
[2] Radio, Dec 26, 1923, Page 500.
[3] Sunday Times (NSW) Mar 3, 1912, Page 21.
[4] The Government Gazette (NSW) Jun 11, 1913, Page 3628
[5] Dun's gazette (NSW) Nov 10, 1913, Page 422.
[6] Wireless Weekly Nov 30, 1923, Page 2.
[7] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) Dec 6, 1922, Page 11.
[8] The Bulletin, Jan 30, 1929, Page 14.
[9] Wireless Weekly Aug 28, 1925, Page 28.
[10] Radio Oct 29, 1924, Page 434.
[11] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW), Apr 14, 1926, Page 8.
[12] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Nov 15, 1929, Page 15.
[13] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Jan 11, 1930.

This manufacturer was suggested by Stuart Irwin.


Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  27 Udisco B.T. Counterphase Eight B-T 8   Udisco B-T Counterphase Eight sold for £92/10/- complete with all accessories and fully in... 
AUS  99 doublett ID = 289651    
AUS  27 Udisco Eight L8   8 valve, battery powered, Neutrodyne TRF receiver. Available as a cabinet model for £84... 
AUS  28 Udisco Portable Four   4 valve portable, battery powered, Neutrodyne TRF receiver.     
AUS  24 Signal Home Assembly Set - 3 Valves (Audio Frequency) R   “Signal” Home Assembly Sets are designed to meet all demands for a complete sets ready to ... 
AUS  24 Signal Home Assembly Set - 3 Valves (Radio Frequency) S   “Signal” Home Assembly Sets are designed to meet all demands for a complete sets ready to ... 
AUS  24 Signal Home Assembly Set - 4 Valves (Radio Frequency) T   “Signal” Home Assembly Sets are designed to meet all demands for a complete sets ready to ... 
AUS  24 Signal Home Assembly Set- 1 Valve P UV199                   “Signal” Home Assembly Set, ... 
AUS  24 Signal Home Assembly Set - 2 Valves Q   “Signal” Home Assembly Sets are designed to meet all demands for a complete sets ready to ... 
AUS  24 Radiovox AA   MODEL AA, Four Valves, one stage of Radio Frequency, Detector, and two stages of Ampl... 
AUS  24 Radiovox CC4   MODEL CC4, Four Valves, one stage of Radio Frequency, Detector, and two stages of Amp... 
AUS  26 Umakit “Simple” One Valve P   Umakit kitset, Model P: The “Simple” One Valve (199 Socket). Priced at £5/5/-, ready to... 

[rmxhdet-en]

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

[1] United Distributing Companies Ltd. was registered in January 1911. Evening News (NSW) Jan 17, 1911, page 4. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_1_evening_news_nsw_jan_17_1911_page_4..jpg
[2] Radio, Dec 26, 1923, Page 500. worldradiohistory.comtbn_aus_uniteddist_2_radio_dec_26_1923_page_500.jpg
[3] In 1912 the Company had set up branches in all states and New Zealand selling household goods. Sunday Times (NSW) Mar 3, 1912, Page 21 Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_3_sunday_times_nsw_mar_3_1912_page_21.jpg
[4] The Government Gazette (NSW) Jun 11, 1913, Page 3628. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_4_dun_s_gazette_nsw_nov_10_1913_page_422.jpg
[5] Dun's gazette (NSW) Nov 10, 1913, Page 422. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_5_the_government_gazette_nsw_jun_11_1913_page_3628.jpg
[6] Wireless Weekly Nov 30, 1923, Page 2. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_6_wireless_weekly_nov_30_1923_page_2.jpg
[7] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) Dec 6, 1922, Page 11. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_7_daily_commercial_news_and_shipping_list_nsw_dec_6_1922_page_11.jpg
[8] Financial history 1925 - 1928. The Bulletin, Jan 30, 1929, Page 14. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_8_the_bulletin_jan_30_1929_page_14.jpg
[9] Early history of Ernest Gordon Beard. Wireless Weekly Aug 28, 1925, Page 28. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_9_wireless_weekly_aug_28_1925_page_28.jpg
[10] Moving to new premises in 1924. Radio Oct 29, 1924, Page 434. worldradiohistory.comtbn_aus_uniteddist_10_radio_oct_29_1924_page_434.jpg
[11] The trademark application for “Udisco” was registered in April 1926 Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW), Apr 14, 1926, Page 8. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_11_daily_commercial_news_and_shipping_list_nsw_apr_14_1926_page_8.jpg
[12] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Nov 15, 1929, Page 15. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_12_the_sydney_morning_herald_nsw_nov_15_1929_page_15.jpg
[13] The company was liquidated. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Jan 11, 1930, Page 17. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_13_the_sydney_morning_herald_nsw_jan_11_1930_page_17.jpg
By late 1928 branches were being sold and in January 1930 the company was liquidated. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Jan 11, 1930 . Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_the_sydney_morning_herald_nsw_jan_11_1930_page_17.jpg
By late 1928 branches were being sold. Examiner(Tas) Nov 9 1928 page 9. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_examiner_tas_nov_9_1928_page_9.jpg
Newspaper article on the financial problems of the company leading to liquidation. Daily News (WA) Jan 23, 1929 Page 3. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_e_daily_news_wa_jan_23_1929_page_3.png
Advertising US Bremer-Tully parts in 1927. Wireless Weekly Apr 22, 1927, Page 41. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_wireless_weekly_apr_22_1927_page_41.jpg
United Distributors Advert. in Australia's Wireless Weekly 2nd.September 1927tbn_aus_united_distributors_ltd_radio_advert.jpg
1927 advert for Udisco Models L5 & L6 and B.T. Counterphase Models B-T 6 & B-T 8. Grenfell Record & Lachlan District Advertiser (NSW) May 30, 1927, Page 4. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_grenfell_record_lachlan_dist_ad_nsw_may_30_1927_page_4.jpg
The company advertised widely with large detailed adverts. Smith's Weekly (NSW), Oct 10, 1925, Page 21. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_smith_s_weekly_nsw_oct_10_1925_page_21_beard_3.jpg
5 Models of the Signal Home Assembly kitsets. Radio, Jun 25, 1924, Page 146. worldradiohistory.comtbn_aus_uniteddist_radio_jun_25_1924_page_146.jpg
Umakit Kitsets, Models P, Q, R, S, T and Power Amplifier. The Wireless Weekly, April 17, 1925, Page 42 Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_united_wireless_weekly_apr_17_1925_page_42.jpg
Umakit Trademark Registered, September 1925. Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) Sep 30, 1925 , Page 8 Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_uniteddist_daily_commercial_news_and_shipping_list_nsw_sep_30_1925_page_8.jpg

  
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