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History of the manufacturer  

Tunafone (Brand); Corbett, Derham & Co. Pty. Ltd.;Tunafone Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne,

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Name: Tunafone (Brand); Corbett, Derham & Co. Pty. Ltd.;Tunafone Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne,    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: tunafone
Products: Model types
Summary:

Tunafone was an Australian brand used by Frederick John Walcott (Jack) Derham (1900-1953) and his  companies he registered from 1924 till 1928.

Below is a chronology of the two companies who manufactured and wholesaled Tunafone brand products.

Corbett, Derham & Co. Pty. Ltd. (1921 – 1925)
397 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria (1921 -1923)
573-585 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria (1924 – 1925)

Corbett, Derham & Co.(Adelaide) Pty. Ltd. (1925)
33 City Chambers, Pirie Street Adelaide, SA

Corbett, Derham & Co.(Sydney) Pty. Ltd.(1925)
231 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW

Founded: 1921
Closed: 1928
Production: 1924 - 1928
History:

Corbett, Derham traded as General Merchants selling building material from 397 Little Collins Street, Melbourne.[1] By 1924 they were importing radio parts and engaged Consulting Engineer Max Howden to design Tunafone radios.[2] The radio business flourished and as well as manufacturing they were agents for imported Crossley radio, Philips tubes, Sleeper radio, Hercules radio and Woodehorne speakers.[3] They wholesaled products into Adelaide, Sydney and Launceston.[4]

The company marketed two tubes UV199 and UX201A branded “Tunatron” in the mid 1920's. These tubes were made in the USA for the company.

In 1925 The company registered branches in Sydney, in January and Adelaide in July.[5][6]

However by August 1925 the company had run into cash flow problems and was liquidated with a debt of £30,689.[7]

Tunefone Wireless Pty. Ltd. (1925 – 1928)
285 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria

John Derham set up this company to continue the manufacturing of Tunefone radio receivers and parts from October 1925.[8]

The manufacturing of components for radio receivers stimulated Denhams interest in plastics. Bakelite, a hard plastic, was used for wireless knobs, mounting-boards and cases, as well as for electrical fittings and such items as buttons, bangles and ashtrays.  Derham launched Victoria's first plastics firm, Australian Moulding Corporation Pty Ltd, in September 1927 and this may have been the reason for trying to sell Tunafone.[9]

In August 1928 Denham advertised the Tunefone company for sale as a going concern with two years lease left on the premises lease.[10]  No details could be found for a purchase and the stock was auctioned in September 1928.[11]

[1] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) May 11, 1921, Page 9.
[2] Advocate (Tas.) Apr 25, 1925, Page 1.
[3] WIA Program 1924, page 22 & 23.
[4] Wireless Weekly, Sep 5, 1924, Page 5.
[5] Wireless Weekly, Apr 24, 1925, Page 31.
[6] The Register ( SA) Jul 1, 1925,  Page 14.
[7] The Argus (Vic.) Aug 6, 1925, Page 6.
[8] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) Oct 7, 1925, Page 5.
[9] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993, accessed Sep 2018.
[10] The Argus (Vic.) Aug 18, 1928, Page 22.
[11] The Argus (Vic.) Sep 27, 1928, Page 2.

This manufacturer was suggested by Stuart Irwin.


Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  24 Tunatalker   According to the advert for this item in "Wireless Weekly" 17/10/24 P64 it is "radically d... 
AUS  24 Tunafone X4   The cabinet has space for the batteries under the receiver proper. The wave range is selec... 
AUS  25 Crystal Set   Rare Australian brand Crystal Set manufactured by Corbett, Durham & Co in Melbourne. Photo... 
AUS  25 Tunafone R5   Advertised in May 1925 for AUS $50/-, complete with batteries, speaker and all a... 

[rmxhdet-en]

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

[1] Corbett, Derham traded as General Merchants selling building material from 397 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) May 11, 1921, Page 9.tbn_aus_corbett_1_daily_commercial_news_and_shipping_list_nsw_may_11_1921_page_9.jpg
[2] Max Howden designed some Tunafone radios Advocate (Tas.) Apr 25, 1925, Page 1tbn_aus_corbett_2_advocate_tas._apr_25_1925_page_1.jpg
[3] Agents agents for imported radios. WIA Victorian branch, Program 1924, pages 22 & 23tbn_aus_corbett_tunafone_wia_program_1924_page_22_23.jpg
[4] They wholesaled products into Adelaide, Sydney and Launceston. Wireless Weekly, Sep 5, 1924, Page 5.tbn_aus_corbett_4_wireless_weekly_sep_5_1924_page_5.jpg
[5] Sydney Branch. Wireless Weekly, Apr 24, 1925, Page 31.tbn_aus_corbett_5_wireless_weekly_apr_24_1925_page_31.jpg
[6] Adelaide Branch. The Register ( SA) Jul 1, 1925 Page 14.tbn_aus_corbett_6_the_register_sa_jul_1_1925_page_14.jpg
[7] Corbett, Derham liquidated. The Argus (Vic.) Aug 6, 1925, Page 6.tbn_aus_corbett_7_the_argus_vic._aug_6_1925_page_6.jpg
[8] Tunefone radio receivers and parts from October 1925. Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW) Oct 7, 1925, Page 5.tbn_aus_corbett_8_daily_commercial_news_and_shipping_list_nsw_oct_7_1925_page_5.jpg
[10] Denham advertised the company for sale. The Argus (Vic.) Aug 18, 1928, Page 22.tbn_aus_corbett_10_the_argus_vic._aug_18_1928_page_22.jpg
[11] Stock was auctioned in September 1928 The Argus (Vic.) Sep 27, 1928, Page 2.tbn_aus_corbett_11_the_argus_vic._sep_27_1928_page_2.jpg
From the “Alexandra and Yea Standard” (Vic.), August 7, 1925tbn_aus_corbett_derham_ad_1925a.jpg
From the “Age”Vic.), May 24, 1925.tbn_aus_corbett_derham_ad_1925.jpg
Advert from the Advocate (TAS) 16 May 1925, page 1, stating Tunafone radios are designed by Max Howden.tbn_aus_corbett_tunafone_ad_advocate_16_5_1925p1_5_16_5_25p1.jpg
The Weekly(VIC), 28 February 1925, page 11.tbn_ad_weekly_times_28_2_1925p11.jpg
Article describing Max Howdens’s radio apparatus used to communicate with England in 1924. From The Argus(VIC), 26 November 1924 page 40.tbn_aus_corbett_howden_argus_v_26_11_1924p40.jpg
Popular Radio Weekly, January 1926tbn_tunatron_prw_126.png
Tunafone advert, Undatedtbn_tunafone_radio_advert_undated.jpg
Howell advert showing Tunafone tubes, Wireless Weekly March 1926tbn_tunatron_howell_ww5326.png

  
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