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History of the manufacturer  

Diamond (brand), Widdis Diamond Dry Cells Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne, VIC

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Name: Diamond (brand), Widdis Diamond Dry Cells Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne, VIC    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: diamond-au
Products: Model types
Summary:

Widdis Diamond Dry Cells Pty. Ltd.
Corner Park & Wells Street, South Melbourne, Victoria.
119 Hawke Street, West Melbourne, Victoria.
Corner Dalgety Road & Millers Point, Sydney, NSW.

Brand: Diamond

Manufactured dry cell batteries and battery powered torches from 1915 to the 1950’s when they became a subsidiary of Eveready. The Diamond brand battery continued into the late 1950’s.

Founded: 1915
Closed: 1951
Production: 1915 - 1951
History:

Early History from the Sunday Times (NSW) Oct 8, 1922, Page 45;

 

DIAMOND DRY CELLS

Great Industry Born of the War

Early in 1915, Mr. Charles A. Widdis, a well-known Victorian business man, decided that he would endeavour to fill the pressing needs for local production of primary cells and batteries. He rented a small factory in Windsor, just outside Melbourne, where, in cooperation with a few loyal and willing workers, he set out to capture the dry battery trade as it affected Australia; and there amid humble surroundings and at a period of the war when the outlook seemed blackest for the British Empire,

the Diamond Dry Cell was brought into being.

A Melbourne firm of motor accessory merchants, alive to the possibilities of a locally-made cell, approached one of the Government departments and was successful in securing a small trial order,

which in turn was passed on to Mr. Widdis,

This was the first business obtained by the firm, and although the results of the various stringent tests made by the officers of the Postmaster-General's Department, and the subsequent 'proof of

the pudding' were absolutely satisfactory, the public still walked warily, being hard to convince that Australia could manufacture dry cells efficiently. Diamond products, however, made good and further small orders, first of 500, and after in slightly greater numbers, were received from the Government departments, until the general excellence of the Diamond products under all conditions gave the consumers’ confidence. The people at the factory then realised that they had won for their

goods a reputation equal to the best enjoyed by foreign competitors.

When the Widdis Diamond Dry Cell Pty. Ltd., was floated those responsible were strong in the knowledge that what they had done in the past would stand to them in the future, and that the Diamond Dry Cells had justified in full the time, energy and money expended on them.

The factory, which until now rented, was purchased by Mr. C. A. Widdis, and in 1919 acquired by the company. Such has been the subsequent progress that the accommodation is now far too limited, and plans and specifications have been prepared for the erection of a large factory on land already purchased within the area of the City of Melbourne.

History;

The company was registered in March 1920.[1]

In 1926 they built a factory in Hawke Street, West Melbourne.[2] The building was later known as the Mighty Apollo Building when used as Gym from 1952 till 1992.

In 1931 they expanded the Melbourne factory and established a factory in Sydney.[3]

During 1935 they developed a process, designated P-5 in which each individual cell in a battery was insulated from its neighbours. This was achieved by sliding a spiral wound cardboard tube over the zinc outer casing and insulating the bottom of the cell with a washer. This, the company claimed prevented element leakage and consequently no premature decay in battery life.

Batteries incorporating this feature had the P5 label displayed on each end.[4]

By the early 1950’s the company became a subsidiary of Eveready (Australia) Pty. Ltd.[5]

 

[1] The Age (VIC) Mar 17, 1920, Page 11.
[2] The Argus (VIC), Apr 12, 1922, page 3.
[3] Radio Trade Annual, 1933, page 20.
[4] The Bulletin Aug 7, 1935, page 32.
[5] The West Australian (WA)  May 22, 1951,  Page 11.

This manufacturer was suggested by Gary Cowans.


Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  99 Doublet ID = 316330 Type X   1.5 Volt Dry Cell with brass terminals on top. 
AUS  38 Diamond 1.5 Volt Dry Cell No. 6   The No. 6, 1.5 Volt, Zinc Carbon cell used by the PMG in a bank of two to provide 3 Volts ... 
AUS  43 Diamond 1.5 Volt Dry Cell Type X Mk II   1.5 Volt Dry Cell with brass terminals on top.   Label on same cell says Type X on o... 
AUS  31 Diamond, 45 Volt, Triple Capacity, "B" Battery 909 [Flat]   Triple capacity, 45 Volt, Radio "B" battery with a flat orientation. Tappings a... 
AUS  31 Diamond, 45 Volt, Heavy Duty, "B" Battery 606 [Flat]   Heavy Duty, 60 Volt, Radio "B" battery with a flat orientation. Tappings at 22.... 
AUS  47–60 Diamond 1½ Volt "A" Battery 3745   1½ Volt, portable radio "A" battery. See also Eveready type 745 
AUS  47–60 Diamond 67½ Volt "B" Battery 3467   67½ Volt, portable radio "B" battery. See also Eveready Mini-Max type 467. 
AUS  49–60 Diamond Combination, "A-B" Battery RC304   Combination Portable "A-B" battery. Possibly 1½V and 45V, TBC 
AUS  47–60 Diamond 45 Volt "B" Battery 3482   45 Volt, portable radio "B" battery. See also Eveready Mini-Max type 482. 
AUS  54/50 Diamond 1½ Volt, Plug in, "A" Battery X250   1½ Volt, plug in, portable radio "A" battery. See also Eveready type X250. 
AUS  48–60 Diamond Combination, 9/90 Volt, "A-B" Battery 3753   Combination, 9 and 90 Volt, "A-B" battery. The Eveready equivalent, type 753, h... 
AUS  55 Diamond 90 Volt "B" Battery 3490P   90 volt "B" batttery to suit portable radios. 

[rmxhdet-en]

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

[1] The Age (VIC) Mar 17, 1920, Page 11. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_au_1_the_age_vic_mar_17_1920_page_11.jpg
[2] The Argus (VIC), Apr 12, 1922, page 3. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_au_2_the_argus_vic_apr_12_1922_page_3.jpg
[3] Radio Trade Annual, 1933, page 20.tbn_aus_diamond_au_3_radio_trade_annual_1933_page_20.jpg
[4] P5 Cell insulators introduced. The Bulletin Aug 7, 1935, page 32. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_au_4_the_bulletinaug_7_1935_page_32.jpg
[5] The West Australian (WA) May 22, 1951, Page 11. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_au_4_the_west_australian_wa_may_22_1951_page_11.jpg
Factory in Hawke Street, South Melbourne. Wireless Weekly Nov 13, 1931 Page 44 factory. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_wireless_weekly_nov_13_1931_page_44_factory_pix.jpg
1931 Advert with interstate distributors. Wireless Weekly Nov 20, 1931, Cover. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_au_wireless_weekly_nov_20_1931_cover.jpg
Radio & Electrical Merchant 1/12/1933tbn_aus_widdis_diamond_1.jpg
Radio & Electrical Merchant, 29/12/1933.tbn_aus_widdis_diamond_2.jpg
1935 Advert. Radio Trade Annual 1935, Page 3.tbn_aus_diamond_au_radio_trade_annual_1935_page_3.jpg
The West Australian Wireless News & Musical World Apr 18, 1932, Page 2.tbn_aus_diamond_au_the_west_australian_wireless_news_musical_world_apr_18_1932_page_2.jpg
1931 Battery Price List. Wireless Weekly Nov 13, 1931 Page 47. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_au_wireless_weekly_nov_13_1931_page_47..jpg
P.5 was the designation applied to batteries with an insulating tube around each cell. Wireless Weekly, Apr 16, 1937, page 41. Image sourced & downloaded from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_diamond_wireless_weekly_apr_16_1937_page_41.jpg

  
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