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History of the manufacturer  

National Union Radio Corp.; Orange (NJ)

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Name: National Union Radio Corp.; Orange (NJ)    (USA)  
Abbreviation: national16
Products: Model types Tube manufacturer
National Union Radio Corp., Orange, New Jersey: Tyne, "Saga of the vacuum tube" page 359: "This corporation was formed in 1929 by the merger of Sonatron, Magnatron, Marathon and Televocal. It was licensed by RCA.

The company operated a separate factory in Lansdale, Pennsylvania during World War Two for military tube manufacture.The company also developed and made a range of transistors in 1952-54. 

A full range of radio panel/dial lamps was made and in the late 1930's, a "Serviceman's Kit ' of multiple lamps was available. Very early NU lamps seen have the full name stamped into the base.

Founded: 1929
Closed: 1954
Production: 1929 - 1954
The National Union Radio Corporation was incorporated in September 1929. It came about to merge the tube manufacturing interests of four companies: 1) The Connewey Electric Laboratories of Hoboken, New Jersey, manufacturers of Magnetron tubes. 2) Northern Manufacturing Co of Newark, New Jersey, makers of Marathon tubes. 3) Sonatron Tube Co of Chicago and 4) Televocal Corporation of New York City. The New York "Times" carried the sale of Northern Manufacturing to National Union on October 1st, 1929. Two factories were utilised - in State Street and at McCarter Highway, Newark. The main products were radio tubes. Sylvester Webster Muldowny was president of the new company from the outset and was in office until the middle of World War Two. He was born in 1899 and had a vocation in the banking industry, having been in the Bond Department of the Chicago Trust Co from 1921 to 1924. He was at Lehman Bros from 1924 to 1929. Administration offices of National Union were at the American Insurance building at 15 Washington Street, Newark. According to the "Altoona Mirror" in their issue dated September 2, 1929 capital of the company was US$18 million. The major shareholders were Muldowny, Lehman Bros and Sears Roebuck.
As a relative newcomer to the tube industry, National Union made all the standard receiving types of the time and also some odd types as replacements. It did not involve itself in researching or developing new types of tubes. Initially tubes were branded with the type number and this was preceded with NV, NX or NY, depending on the tube type. Around 1935 all tube type numbers were preceded with NU-. The hyphen was dropped apparently in late 1935 or early 1936 and a while later the NU prefix was discontinued. Tubes were only identified by the relevant type number. In 1939 Muldowny became interested in the possibility of the company making tubes that may be needed for any military action that might develop. Over the following few months the Board discussed this several times and at the Board of Directors meeting on December 12, 1941 it was reported by the Chairman that he was going to propose that the Government finance a new building for work on wartime tubes. The application to the Defence Plant Corporation was for US$1,166,000 for building of the new factory, which was to be located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The company was offered a "very fair lease" for this. The directors agreed with the proposal.
The Bendix Company was very early with an initial order of 10,000 tubes and there was an order from the U S Signal Corps. Western Electric followed these with an order for 40,000 tubes. Some British designed military tubes, such as the MOV VT90 and NT99 "micropup" radar tubes were made in 1942 and 1943. In the long run, Muldowny was somewhat pessimistic about the profit that could be made on military tubes. Not all was good for National Union during the early 1940's as Philco had been buying up shares in NU, to a point where it had a majority shareholding. References were in corporate minutes about a possible merger. Possible problems with tax was the main thing that induced Philco to withdraw. Another thing was the court case of Ripka V Philco Corporation in which the plaintiff sued Philco for return of monies paid to Philco for shares. The sale had been made by the plaintiff on the (misinformed) understanding that the merger was a "done deal". Judgement in the Southern District Court of New York was handed down for the plaintiff late in 1945.
At the end of World war Two National Union turned its Lansdale Plant over to commercial tube manufacturing. In 1952 the company began research into transistors and developed two main types - junction and point contact. This was done at the N. U. Semiconductor Division at Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Production ceased by 1954. The transistors were relatively expensive; for example, the T21A was listed in the 1953-54 catalogue for US$ 61.25 each. National Union transistors are now considered quite rare but they are easily identifiable as they used a green casing and silver printing. Very little printed material is available on them but the Transistor Museum - - gives much helpful data. National Union Radio Corp continued operating until June 1954 when it was renamed National Union Electric Corporation. Five months later the TV tube plant was sold to Sylvania. National Union Electric merged with Eureka Williams in 1959/60. At the time they were known as heating and air conditioning manufacturers. Eureka Williams was acquired by Electrolux in Sweden in 1974.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  47 571 Ch= 568 12SA7GT  Perforated metal front panel. Rotating pointer dial (although appearance is similar to sli... 
USA  49 Fraternity G517B    
USA  49 Fraternity G517W    
USA  47 G-613 1A7GT  Built-in high-gain plug-in loop antenna. 
USA  46 G-615 12SK7GT   
USA  50 G-617-SN 12SK7GT   
USA  46/47 G-619 12SK7GT  Tunes 540 to 1640 kc, has a built-in loop antenna. 
USA  50 Presentation    
USA  46 571A 12SA7GT   
USA  46 571B 12SA7GT   
USA  45 Diamond Point Tube Tester Jr. 34   15 sockets; made by Hickok. The "diamond" is at the 40 on the meter scale. 
USA  45 Amplifier De Luxe W-15-A 7N7  PA amplifier with 3 inputs: 2x Microphone + Phonograph. 


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

Advert in Radio Engineering October 1929tbn_radio_engineering_october_1929.png
Advert in Radio Engineering April 1930tbn_radio_engineering_april_1930.png
Advert in Radio Engineering September 1930tbn_radio_engineering_september_1930.png
New Zealand Radio Times 10th Dec 1932tbn_national_union_nzrt_101232.png
National Union Advert 1945. Source unknown.tbn_national_union_radio_corporation_ad_cq_1945_01.png
Radio Craft advert September 1945tbn_radio_craft_september_1945.jpg
Scan of front and rear postcard from my collection, that looks to have been provided to dealers and servicemen to send to customers. No 1 of 4.tbn_usa_nationalunion_postcard1.jpg
Scan of illustrated postcard (2 of 4) from my collection.tbn_usa_nationalunion_postcard2.jpg
Scan of front and rear of illustrated postcard likely provided to radio dealers and servicemen who bought National Union Radio Tubes and to send to their potential customers. (3 of 4)tbn_usa_nationalunion_postcard3.jpg
Scan of front and rear of illustrated postcard provided to dealers and radio servicemen from National Union (4 of 4).tbn_usa_nationalunion_postcard4.jpg
From scan of Radio-Craft October 1937, p.237, from my collection.tbn_usa_nationaltube_oct37rcad.jpg
Serviceman's panel lamp replacement kittbn_national_union_panel_lamp_servicemans_kit.jpg
Radio Engineering October 1929tbn_national_union_announcement.png

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
National Union Radio Corp.; Orange (NJ)
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National Union Radio Corp.; Orange (NJ) (USA)
Fin Stewart

The company was listed as an RCA Licencee by the Wall Street Journal 8th April 1930, in their "Broad Street Gossip" column 

National Union Radio Corp.; Orange (NJ)
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand


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