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History of the manufacturer  

Philips del Uruguay S.A.; Montevideo

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Name: Philips del Uruguay S.A.; Montevideo    (ROU)  
Abbreviation: philips
Products: Model types

Philips del Uruguay S.A.
Avendia Uruguay 1136 (1930-1937)
Avda. Uruguay 1287, piso 1-6 (1937-1999)
Camino Ariel 4626 (1958-1991)
Philips Sayago Factory (intially called FAMESA)(until about 1960)
Munoz/ Constituyente (May 1999 - August 1999)
World Trade Centre, Montevideo (August 1999 - 2004)
Rambla O'Higgins 5303 (2004 - 2012/13)

Founded: 1930

It appears, from Philips advertisements of the time, that in 1930 (or possibly a couple of years earlier) Philips Uruguay started business in Avendia Uruguay 1136, Montevideo. They appear to have moved to much larger premises in 1937, a short distance away, to Avenida Uruguay 1287 where they occupied all 6 floors of said building. It's not certain where they assembled the first tube radios, those registered between 1949 and 1958, but it appears not to have been in the Uruguay 1287, which were administrative and service related activities were carried out.

It is therefore most likely that those first Philips tube radios, named after Uruguayan birds from "El Picaflor" to "Rey del Bosque", were assembled at the Uruguay 1136 address until 1958 when Philips opened a factory in Camino Ariel 4226, Sayago, Montevideo. It is quite likely the tube radios were assembled at the Avenida Uruguay 1136 address, mainly from components brought from Europe, Brazil and Argentina and given model codes ending in the letter “U”. Avenida Uruguay is in what was, and still is, the main area of electrical supply and equipment businesses in Uruguay. It’s proximity to the main railway station (which unfortunately closed many years ago) made it easily accessible to travellers from the “interior” of the country. It is known other radio brands were assembled in the area, so it is likely Philips did the same.

The central office of Philips Uruguay was opened in 1937 in Avenida Uruguay 1287 where administrative and service activities were carried out until its closure in May 1999. The 6 floors of the building were: ground floor – services, 1st floor – sales and customer information, 2nd floor – services office, 3rd floor – administration, 4th floor management and professional support, 5th floor – lighting, 6th floor – canteen and dining hall. Access to the ground floor services was via a side entrance.

In 1962 Philips Uruguay issued an LP to celebrate 25 years in main central offices of Uruguay 1287 and three parties were held inviting government officials to the Parque Hotel of Parque Rodo (now MERCOSUR headquarters), and also for clients and Philips workers.

In 1958 Philips built a factory in Sayago, Montevideo. There was a vineyard on the site prior to the factory construction. Initially the factory operated under the name of "FAMESA –Fabrica Americana de Materiales Electricos SA until for a few years after 1960. It was however a Philips factory. The factory produced light bulbs in one building (the one closest to Cno Ariel) and assembled apparatus in another. There was also a third building, a storage warehouse. This building was later taken over by BASF for a few years after the factory closed. Apparatus assembled at Sayago included valve radios and later transistor radios, black and white 12 inch model TXs and hybrids of the 20 inch TVs and later colour TVs, electric savers, irons and starters. Capacitors, variable capacitors and tubes for black and white TVs were manufactured at the site. Medical equipment was serviced at the site, housed within the storage warehouse, this sector later being taken over by Siemens. In unusually arrangements, Philips Uruguay manufactured light bulbs for General Electric and it is believed GE manufactured mercury lighting for Philips. Philips starters were also made for GE. There was a Philips sports and social club including basketball, volleyball courts and a canteen facility with games and billiards located in the front of the storage building of the factory. Annual “Philipiado” sports days were celebrated around the 12th of October together with a party.

At its height in 1978 Philips Uruguay employed 600-700 people between the central offices in Uruguay 1287 and the factory in Sayago. One of Philips Uruguay’s greatest achievements was the design and construction of a light bulb manufacturing machine which could produce up to 2000 units per hour, many of which were exported to Argentina. Upon closure of the Sayago factory in 1979 the machine was moved to and installed in FAPESA - Philips Argentina facilities.

Information regarding the Philips factory at Sayago was kindly provide by ex Philips employee Ruben Rojas would worked at the factory from 10th August 1979 to its closure in 1991.

This manufacturer was suggested by Bernhard Nagel.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
ROU  70 FK746A    
ROU  60 B3K96T    
ROU  58 B1K79U/N UCH81   
ROU  51 BK207U UCH42  Short wave: 4.5...16 MHz (60...20 m). 
ROU  54 BK345U UCH42  Built-in ferrite rod antenna. 
ROU  49 BK298H   Philips BK298H uses Rimlock tubes, most probably of the U-series. 
ROU  70 22RH786    
ROU  65 B5K23A /54 ECC85  Model was manufactured by Philips Uruguay S.A., Montevideo. 
ROU  51 BK251V   Toda onda, 4 válvulas "Técnica A" (rimlock), para baterías de 6, 12 o 32 volts. 
ROU  51 BK298U   Toda onda, 5 válvulas "Técnica A" (rimlock). Ensanche de banda 20 y 25 m. Gabinete en p... 
ROU  51 HK305U   Toda onda, 5 válvulas "Técnica A" (rimlock). Ensanche de banda 20 y 25 m. Gabinete en p... 
ROU  53 La Alondra BK505AV   Importado. Toda onda, 4 gamas OC ensanchadas. 6 válvulas "Técnica A" (rimlock). Para ba... 


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

Revista Corriente Alternatbn_rou_philips_del_uruguay_revista_corriente_alterna_custom.jpg
Revista Corriente Alternatbn_rou_philips_del_uruguay_tubos_de_imagen_large.jpg
Aviso Publicado en la revista uruguaya "Corriente Alterna" Nº 474, enero 1967tbn_rou_philips_corriente_alterna_n_474.jpeg_large.jpg
Publicado en la revista uruguaya "Corriente Alterna" Nº 486tbn_rou_miniwatt_corriente_alterna_n_486_aviso_cinescopios_large.jpg
ROU:Revista Corriente Alternatbn_rou_philips_del_uruguay_advice_corriente_alterna.jpg
Publicado en la revista uruguaya "Corriente Alterna" Nº483tbn_rou_philips_del_uruguay_s.a._publicado_en_corriente_alterna_n_483_large.jpg
Philips Factory, Camino Ariel 4626, 12900 Montevideo, Departamento de Montevideo Itbn_philips_factory_sayago_montevideo_uruguay_1991_1.jpg
Camino Ariel 4626, 12900 Montevideo, Departamento de Montevideo year 1991 2tbn_philips_factory_sayago_montevideo_uruguay_1991_2.jpg
Site in 2022 of what used to Philips Factory in Sayago, Montevideo. The roof of two Philips buildings (Lamps and Equipment) can be seen in the roof of the current Supermarket.tbn_devoto_supermarket_2022_old_site_of_philips_factory_sayago_montevideo_uruguay~~1.jpg
The Philips Factory in Sayago, Montevideo. Areal photo taken 1991. The two buildings to the left were used for Lamp manufacture (bottom left) and Equipment assembly (including valve radios and TVs) top left. The building circled to the right was a storage facility which was later modified to include the canteen.tbn_philips_factory_sayago_montevideo_uruguay_1991_2~~1.jpg
Philips Factory at Sayago, Montevideo. Photo is of the Lamp manufacturing building taken from Cno. Ariel. In the foreground the fire water pond as requested by the fire services which was apparently home to large water terrapins. Information and photo kindly provided by Ruben Rojas, a worker at the factory from 10th August 1979 until the factory closed in 1991.tbn_philips_factory_uruguay_2.jpg
Julio a friend of Ruben Rojas, making adjustments to a tube in a colour TV set. The work apparently had to be carried out in a darkened cubical.tbn_philips_factory_uruguay_5.jpg
Photo in the lamp production building with an operator in front of the lamp manufacturing machine. The machine was designed (to a large extent if not entirely) and built in Uruguay. There appears to have been great pride in the machine which could apparently produce several hundred lamps per hour. There was equal dismay when one of the workers (Ricardo) was told the Philips factory in Sayago, Montevideo was to be closed because it was "too out of date" but yet the machine was transferred to Philips Argentina!!!.tbn_philips_factory_uruguay_4.jpg
Mauricio (Claudique?) the Philips Sayago Factory Manager showing a visitor the assembly lines for the colour TV circuit boards. The boards were moved along rails for the girls (always 4 in each line) to add the components from a tray (resistors, transistors and capacitors etc.). The girls had a set order to take the components with left and right hands from outside to inside. Above the booth was a "Pablo" with lights to indicate where the components should be located in the circuit board. When the component tray was empty it was automatically taken away and a new tray of components arrived and the board was manually passed on to the next girl in the line. When the last girl in the assembly line finished adding her components, she took the board to a soldering crucible which took 30 seconds to complete the soldering. The girl come back to collect the board and took it to the next line of installation. Description kindly provided by Ruben Rojo ex-factory worker 1979 - 1991 .tbn_philips_factory_uruguay_1.jpg
Front cover of Philips LP to commemorate 25 years of Philips in Uruguay (1937-1962). The drawing is of the front of Philips Uruguay´s Central Administration building, Avda. Uruguay 1287 with its 6 floors used and occupied by Philips. The drawing was done by Pier Fosey a well-known coloured pencil artist of the day. The LP belonged to the father of a factory work at Sayago. The father worked at Philips in the 1960s in the section which repaired medical equipment. Upon closure this section became part of Siemens.tbn_lp_25_years_philips_in_uruguay.jpg
Photo with Lamp manufacturing building (on left) at Philips Sayago site. Above the entrance to the building can be seen windows of the site managers and administration staff. In entrance in view is for male (left) and female (right) changing rooms. The main entrance to the offices via stairs is out of view round the corner. The truck with container is delivering items to the storage warehouse (out of view to the left). Behind the truck is the equipment assembly building with grass area and boiler. Description kindly provided by Ruben Rojo ex-factory worker 1979 - 1991 .tbn_philips_factory_sayago_with_truck.jpg
Revista del Montevideo Radio Club 1930. Evidence of Philips address in Avda Uruguay 1136. Presumed to be the first Philips location in Montevideo and possibly where the first tube radios were assembled before the Philips (FAMESA) Factory in Sayago, Montevideo was built in 1958.tbn_revista_del_montevideo_radio_club_1930_i.jpg
Revista de Montevideo Radio Club 1930tbn_revista_del_montevideo_radio_club_1930_ii.jpg
Philips Uruguay advertisement 1930tbn_philips_publ_1930.jpg
Philips Uruguay advertisement from La Pluma 1929tbn_philips_la_pluma_montevideo_1929.jpg
Philips Uruguay advertisement from La Pluma 1929. Kindly provided by Horacio Nigro of the La Galena del Surtbn_philips_la_pluma_montevideo_1929_ii.jpg
Philips Uruguay advertisement Mundo en mis manos 1939tbn_philips_mundo_en_mis_manos_1939.jpg
Philips Uruguay advertisement Mundo Uruguayo 1951 kindly provided by Horacio Nigrotbn_philips_mundo_uruguayo_1951.jpg
Philips Uruguay advertisement Palacio de la música. A business which still exists today (2022)tbn_philips_palacio_de_la_musica.jpg
Philips Uruguay promotional material on reverse side of hand mirror.tbn_philips_publicity_reverse_of_hand_mirror.jpg
Philips Uruguay banner obtained from main Sunday street market Tristan Narvaja, Montevideo by Horacio Nigrotbn_philips_banner_from_street_market_tristan_narvaja.jpg
Revista Montevideo Radio Club 1930 with Philips address of Avda Uruguay 1136 which is possibly where the first Philips tube radios were assembled.tbn_philips_revista_del_montevideo_radio_club_1930.jpg
Advertisment in magazine "Mundo Uruguayo", Montevideo, Uruguay. October 1951. Courtesy of Horacio Nigro, Publisher and Editor of La Galena del Sur. The advertisment proudly announces the move of Philips Uruguay to it's new Commercial Building in Calle Uruguay 1287.It lista the many different types of product s made by Philips worldwide at the time and it's "Service to humanity". Ruben Rojas, an ex employee of Philips Uruguay in the Sayago Factory says Philips were an excellent company to work for and still in 2020s there is a network of ex Philips workers who are still in contact with each other. Horacio is at this moment in time the definitive source of knowledge on Radio Receivers and transmission in Uruguay. His website www.lagalenadelsur is highly recommend.tbn_philips_uruguay_public.jpg


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