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History of the manufacturer  

Coen, Louis, Wireless Pty Ltd.; Melbourne

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Name: Coen, Louis, Wireless Pty Ltd.; Melbourne    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: coen-louis
Products: Model types

Louis Coen, Wireless Pty Ltd.
63 Swanston Street Melbourne, Victoria.
260 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Victoria.
573 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Victoria.
374 Swanston Street Melbourne, Victoria.
12 Villiers St North Melbourne, Victoria.

Louis Coen Wireless (SA) Ltd.
75 Rundle Street, Adelaide, South Australia. (1926 – 1928)
16A Grenfell Street, Adelaide, South Australia. (1928 – 1931)


Founded: 1923
Closed: 1939
Production: 1925 - 1926


Louis Coen, born in Russia around 1864, arrived in Melbourne with his wife & parents in-laws on September the 14th 1887. The family had been living in London prior to moving to Australia. The family settled at 47 Wangaratta Street, Richmond. Louis Coen, a tobacconist by trade established a cigarette manufacturing/tobacconist business under his name at 69 Swanston St, Melbourne. By 1893 Louis Coen & family had returned to England. Louis Coen died at Hove, near Brighton, UK in 1923 aged 59.

The tobacconist business which retained the name of Louis Coen was taken over by a Philip Abrahams. When Philip died, 3/10/1899, Louis Coen Tobacconists was passed on to his brothers Louis & Laurence. Louis Abrahams was a principal of a large tobacco firm called Sniders & Abrahams. Louis Abrahams committed suicide, 2/12/1903, and his business concerns were taken over by his brother Laurence on behalf of his family.

By 1908 Louis Coen Tobacconists had moved to 63 Swanston Street. Laurence Abrahams was a hairdresser by trade and the business was also operating a number of barber/hairdresser shop chairs. When Laurence died in 1916, his son Louis who had just returned from active service overseas took over the management of the business.


In late 1923, the date given as 19/11/1923, a partnership was formed by Louis Henry Abrahams and Arthur George Warner under the name of Louis Coen Wireless.[1] They established a shop in the basement of 63 Swanston Street selling radio parts just prior to advent of broadcasting in Melbourne.[2]

According to an article in the Radio Retailer of Australia, the date given for the partnership was February 1923.

The success of selling radio parts quickly outgrew the small basement and in early 1925 a larger new wholesale warehouse was established just around the corner at 260 Flinders Lane. For a brief period around 1925/26 Louis Coen Wireless had a factory at 573 Flinders Lane where they manufactured their Pinnacle radio sets.[3]

 In 1927 the first Astor sets were manufactured for Louis Coen Wireless by Radio Corporation of Australia. [4]

1926 was a big year for the Abrahams/Warner partnership. Louis Coen Wireless Pty. Ltd had a major restructure, buying out three radio retail businesses which included Homecrafts & Paroso Ltd.  However, according to Rod Smiths “Just Astor” book, the firms that were absorbed into Louis Coen Wireless retail arm were, Norris and Skelley, Homecrafts, Crystal Clear Radio & Paroso Ltd.  A finance/credit arm, called Radio Finance Co., was established which later became Universal Guarantee Pty. Ltd.

Also in that same year Louis Coen Wireless (SA) was formed with both retail & wholesale outlets established in Adelaide.[5]

In 1927 Louis Coen Wireless moved their wholesale warehouse from Flinders Lane to even larger premises at 374 Swanston St. At the same time Louis Coen Tobacconist & Hairdressers at 63 Swanston St was wound down. The premises at 63 Swanston St then became solely a retail outlet & head office.

During a visit to the U.S. in late 1927 Louis Abrahams successfully negotiated with the Hazeltine Corporation of America to acquire interests in patents owned by them. A company was formed, Neutrodyne Ltd., to control and monitor the Hazeltine patents in Australia. Louis Abrahams & Arthur Warner were both joint First Directors of Neutrodyne Ltd.

1928 & 1929 saw the expansion of the Astor brand in a big way. Louis Abrahams had an interest in aviation & was an accomplished pilot. Louis Coen Wireless bought a Gypsy Moth aeroplane & along with a WW1 pilot commenced a massive advertising campaign flying all over south east Australia.[6] These novel flying visits to the country towns were a huge success for Louis Coen Wireless. There were aerobatic stunts & raffles for a lucky member of the crowd to go up for a joy ride. [7]

In late 1929, the date believed to be 10 November 1929, a new company was formed with Arthur Warner & Louis Abrahams both as joint managing directors. This company called Radio Corporation Pty. Ltd (Astor) was the end result of a complex series of company reconstructions/mergers which included Radio Corporation of Australia & Louis Coen Wireless. Louis Coen Wireless remained a company in name under Radio Corporation until the establishment of Electronic Industries Limited.


Louis Henry Abrahams was born at South Yarra, 5/9/1890. He was a member of a prominent Melbourne Jewish family that was involved in the manufacture of cigarettes. His father’s family, originally from Southwark, London had moved to Melbourne in 1859. Abrahams was a Melbourne Grammar old boy, served in the AIF & had an interest in aviation. Abrahams died aged 49 on his yacht at Williamstown, 19/1/1940.

Arthur George Warner (Sir) was born at Lower Clapton, England, 31/7/1899. He arrived in Melbourne, 1/8/1919 and lived in Scottsdale Tasmania where he worked as an orchardist. Warner qualified as an accountant in early 1923 and shortly afterwards moved to Melbourne. (According to Rod Smiths “Just Astor” book, in 1922 Arthur Warner had set up Wireless Tasmania Pty. Ltd. and was absorbed into Louis Coen Wireless in 1923.) [8]

He was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 1946. He became Minister for Housing in 1947 and Minister for Electrical Undertakings in 1949. He was Minister for Transport from 1955 to 1962 and retired from the Upper House in 1964. Warner was knighted in 1956. He died at Seymour, 3/4/1966.

[1] Argus (Vic.) March 23, 1927, page 14.
[2] The Argus (Vic.) Oct 12, 1923, Page 2.
[3] Weekly Times (Vic.) Oct 3, 1925, Page 12.
[4] The Herald (Vic.) Mar 4, 1927, Page 21.
[5] The Register (SA) Feb 5, 1926, Page 7.
[6] Radio Trade Annual of Australia, 1938, Page 382.
[7] Recorder (SA) Jul 31, 1928, Page 2.
[8] Radio Trade Annual 1939, Page 145.

This manufacturer was suggested by Gary Cowans.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  27 Astor 5 Neutrodyne [Table]   Three separate tuning dials. 
AUS  27 Astor 5 Neutrodyne [Console]    
AUS  26–28 Porta   Portable four tube battery powered radio. The model "Porta" was initially sold by L... 
AUS  26 Pinnacle   Advertised in Australian newspapers in 1926. Uses an external frame antenna. Power ... 
AUS  27/28 Little Astor [Console] A425  Advertised in the “Argus” (Vic), December 12, 1927. This radio is also under the Astor ... 
AUS  27/28 Little Astor [Table] A425  Advertised in the “Argus” (Vic), December 12, 1927. This radio is also under the Astor ... 
AUS  24 Set No 1 UV199  Sold as a kit of parts for the home constructor. Advertised in the “Argus”(Vic.), N... 
AUS  24 3 Valve Portable B2  Advertised as a portable 3 valve radio without accessories for Aus£7/19/1 and with acce... 
AUS  24 Set No 2 B-II  Sold as a kit of parts for Aus£5/11/6 or fully assembled for Aus£11/-. Ad... 
AUS  25 4-Valve set UV201A  Advertised a complete kit for the home constructor for Aus£23/3/9. 
AUS  28 Astor Shielded Two   Advertisement from the “Freeman Journal”, (NSW) August 30, 1928. 
AUS  25 Pinnacle Super Six   Advertised in the “Argus” (Vic.) August 11, 1925 


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

[1] Louis Coen Wireless started on 19 November, 1923. Argus (Vic.) March 23, 1927, page 14.tbn_aus_coen_louis_1_argus_vic._march_23_1927_page_14.jpg
[2] Advert for a radio demonstration at Louis Coen’s tobacco & radio store. The Argus (Vic.) Oct 12, 1923 Page 2tbn_aus_coen_louis_the_argus_vic._oct_12_1923_page_2.jpg
[3] Louis Coen Wireless & Pinnacle radio sets. Weekly Times (Vic.) Oct 3, 1925, Page 12.tbn_aus_coen_louis_3_weekly_times_vic._oct_3_1925_page_12..jpg
[4] Astor sets were manufactured for Louis Coen Wireless by Radio Corporation of Australia. The Herald (Vic.) Mar 4, 1927, Page 21.tbn_aus_coen_louis_4_the_herald_vic._mar_4_1927_page_21..jpg
[5] Louis Coen Wireless (SA) was formed in 1926. The Register (SA) Feb 5, 1926, Page 7.tbn_aus_coen_louis_5_the_register_sa_feb_5_1926_page_7..jpg
[6] Louis Abrahams had an interest in aviation & was an accomplished pilot. Radio Trade Annual of Australia, 1938, Page 382.tbn_aus_coen_louis_6_rta_1938_p382.jpg
[7] Description of the Astor flying campaign. Recorder (SA) Jul 31, 1928, Page 2.tbn_aus_coen_louis_7_recorder_sa_jul_31_1928_page_2..jpg
[8] History of AG Warner up to 1939. Warner started Wireless Tasmania Pty. Ltd. in 1922 and amalgamated with Louis Coen Pty. Ltd. in February 1923. Radio Trade Annual 1939, Page 145.tbn_aus_coen_louis_5_rta_1939_p145.jpg
Louis Coen Wireless Pty. Ltd., company registered for the second time in July 1926. The Daily Commercial News and Shipping list (NSW), 8 July 1926, page 5.tbn_aus_coen_louis_dcn_jul_1926_p5.jpg
[4] Louis Coen Wireless (South Australia) company is wound up in April 1931. The News(SA) 28 April 1931 page 8.tbn_aus_coen_lewis_company_sa_wind_up_1931.jpg
Advertisement from the Wireless & Electrical Exhibition Convention, May 1924.tbn_aus_lous_coen_ad2_1924.jpg
Louis Coen Wireless (SA) ltd. address change 75 Rundle Street to 16A Grenfell Street Adelaide. From the News(SA) 12 9 1928 page 14.tbn_aus_coen_louis_ad_news_12_9_1928p14.jpg
Advertisement from the Wireless & Electrical Exhibition Convention, May 1924.tbn_aus_lous_coen_ad_1924.jpg
Louis Coen Wireless (SA) Pty. Ltd., parts advertisement. From the Advertiser (SA) , September 7, 1929, page 21.tbn_aus_coen_louis_parts_ad_advertiser_7_9_1929p24.jpg
Advertised in the “Age”(Vic.), December 19, 1924tbn_aus_lous_coen_3_radios.jpg
Advertisement from the "The Argus" (Vic), October 28, 1929.tbn_aus_lous_coen_ad_argus_28_oct_1929.jpg
The first Louis Coen company closed on 6 July 1926 and then registered on the 8 July 1926. The Argus (Vic.) Jul 6, 1926, Page 23.tbn_aus_coen_louis_the_argus_vic._jul_6_1926_page_23.jpg
Advert for four radio sets in February 1925. Weekly Times (Vic) Feb 14, 1925 P1tbn_aus_coen_louis_weekly_times_vic_feb_14_1925_p1.jpg
Wireless hobbyist, Louis Abrahams started Louis Coen Wireless in the basement of Louis Coen Tobacconists at 63 Swanston Street in 1923. Radio Trade Annual 1936, Page 343.tbn_aus_coen_louis_rta_1936_p343.jpg
The history of Astor from 1923 – 1934. Wireless Weekly March 23, 1934, page 27. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_astor_wireless_weekly_mar_23_1934_page_27~~1.jpg
Astor Shielded 3 and Little Astor 3 in an Amplion advert. Wireless Weekly Sep 28, 1928. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_astor_wireless_weekly_sep_28_1928.jpg