Please click your language flag. Bitte Sprachflagge klicken.

History of the manufacturer  

Kolster Brandes Ltd. (KB, K.B., ITT); Foots Cray; GB

As a member you can upload pictures (but not single models please) and add text.
Both will display your name after an officer has activated your content, and will be displayed under «Further details ...» plus the text also in the forum.
Name: Kolster Brandes Ltd. (KB, K.B., ITT); Foots Cray; GB    (GB)  
Abbreviation: kolsterbr

Kolster Brandes Limited, Foots Cray, Kent, England. A British registered company. The parent company was registered in the US.


Kolster Brandes Ltd. descended from Brandes in Toronto (Canada,est.1908), which became part of AT&T (USA) in 1922.

A british branch was established in 1924: Brandes Ltd, Slough. They produced headphones, loudspeakers (paper maché horns and later cone speakers) and a simple receiver kit, all these products distributed through cycle shops.
When the American parent company became "Kolster Radio Corporation of America", the British branch consequently became "Kolster-Brandes" (1928),the whole under control of ITT (USA).

About 2000 employees in 1930 in an untypical arrangement for a period factory men and women used to work on the same task, e.g. final testing (1931).
In 1931 the production peaked to 2000 sets per day.

The "Pup" sold a quarter million times. Having started with cheap receivers KB bore the "cigarette coupon" image. They developed to a more seriously reputed name by production of refined sets towards the mid 30s and eventually by the contract they won in 1936 to deliver the internal communications/ radio receiving equipment for the luxury liner Queen Mary.

Early entry into shortwave receivers by an six valve all wave superhet in 1931 and a shortwave converter for their two band models 1934/35. This maybe by influence from the American mother, where shortwave listening in had played a role much earlier than in UK (e.g.public access to police and aviation bands in USA, while in Europe this used to be illegal and was severely punished by government officials!).

1938 ST&C took ownership of KB, also under ITT control.

Main source:"The Setmakers" by Keith Geddes and Gordon Bussey, 1991

The Foots Cray site was shared with Brimar, another STC company founded in 1933 to manufacture American pattern valves for the British market.

Kolster Brandes (known as KB) later went on to make mid-range electronics such as radios, radiograms, televisions, tape recorders, amplifiers and gramophones. The company also made a popular selection of record players which included the Playtime, Gaytime, Dancetime, Tunetime and Rhythm, the latter two of which were valve-operated.

Made the "Queen" tabletop television set, which was one of the first affordable mass-produced television sets. The set used 20 valves and operated at 12 Kv.

1961 Radio and television manufacturers, electrical engineers and plastic moulders.

(The above notes are from "Graces Guide")

Around 1968 the KB name was later changed to ITT KB at this time some sets were starting to be manufactured in the Far East such as Hong Kong and Japan.

Soon after, the ITT KB brand eventually changed to just ITT, in around 1972. Manufacture in the UK had practically ceased, most sets were being imported from the Far East.
At this point the official name of the ITT company responsible for the consumer products in the UK was known as "ITT Consumer Products Ltd".

Kolster Brandes Ltd. stammt ursprünglich von der 1908 gegründeten kanadischen Firma Brandes in Toronto ab, die 1922 von der US-amerikanischen AT&T übernommen wurde.

1924 erfolgte die Gründung des britischen Ablegers Brandes Ltd, Slough. Zunächst wurden Kopfhörer hergestellt, dann Trichterlautsprecher aus Pappmaché und etwas später auch Membranlautsprecher (seinerzeit sicher magnetische L.).Auch ein einfacher Empfänger wurde als Bausatz angeboten und wie die übrigen Produkte über die Läden von Fahrradhändlern vertrieben.

Die amerikanische Mutterfirma wurde 1928 in "Kolster Corporation of America" umbenannt, und der britische Zweig umgeformt zu "Kolster-Brandes", alles unter dem Dach von ITT.

Um 1930 arbeiteten ca 2000 Leute bei KB teilweise in einer für die damalige Zeit ungewöhnlichen Form: z.B arbeiteten Frauen und Männer Seite an Seite in der Geräte-Endabnahme.

Vom "Pup" verkauften sich eine Viertelmillion Geräte, die Tagesprodoktion erreichte bis zu 2000 Stück!

Ihrer Billiggeräte wegen stand KB im Ruf einer "Zigaretten-Coupon"- Firma. Die Zigarettenfirma Godfrey Phillips bot das "Masterpiece" Modell als Bonus für den Kauf von insgesamt 500 Zehnerpäckchen ihrer BDV-Zigaretten an. Gegen Einsendung der Coupons aus den Päckchen wurden insgesamt 40.000 dieser 2-Röhren-Geräte "verschenkt". Dieses Modell im Bakelitgehäuse kam ausschliesslich über den erwähnten Weg zum Kunden. Es gab keinen regulären Verkauf.

Verbesserte Geräte verschafften KB bald einen seriöseren Ruf, letztendlich als der Auftrag gewonnen werden konnte den Luxusdampfer Queen Mary mit Radiotechnik auszustatten. Die amerikanische Verbindung brachte sicherlich auch den für England frühzeitigen Einstieg in Kurzwellenradios. In USA war ja allgemeiner Zugang zu Flug- und Polizeifunk möglich (mit normalen Heimradios), während solches in Europa weitestgehend verboten und mit hohen Strafen bedroht war. KB zeigte 1931 einen 6-Röhren-Allbereichs-Super und offerierte einen KW-Umsetzer für ihre 1934/35er Radiomodelle. 1938 ging KB ins Eigentum von ST&C über, ebenfalls unter dem ITT-Dach.

Quelle: u.a. "The Setmakers" von Keith Geddes u. Gordon Bussey, 1991

This manufacturer was suggested by Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
GB  34 Rejectostat Radiogramophone KB 365A 8A1  Uses the KB 444A chassis, see the KB 444 for more details Fitted with either a Garrard AC... 
GB  34 KB 379 PM12M  Battery Supplies; HT1 72v, HT2 120v, LT 2v, GB1 -6 or -4.5, GB2 -6 to -9v Fitted with ... 
GB  65 Calypso WP31/L AF117  Wavebands; MW, LW, and MW bandspread. The visual differences between the WP31 and the W... 
GB  34 398    
GB  29 Brandeset IIIA (3A) KB 106   Same chassis as the KB Brandeset IIIA but with a modernised cabinet similar in apearance t... 
GB  29 Balanced Armature Cone Speaker   Coil resistance 770 ohms. The motor casting bears the name Brandes. 
GB  51 GR30    
GB  65 Lyric WP21/L AF117  Wavebands; MW, LW, and MW bandspread. The visual differences between the WP21 and the W... 
GB  30 Transportable KB 224 S4VA   
GB  30 Transportable KB 214 S4VA   
GB  30 KB 240 354V  Low voltage version of the KB 241 
GB  29 Gramophone Pick-up and Tracking Arm KB 158    


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

Kolster Brandes logo used on 1950's radiostbn_kb_red_logo_1950_s.png
Kb radio dealer shop signtbn_kb_shop_sign.jpg
KB BM20 Luxury Liner adverttbn_kb_bm20_the_queen.jpg
KB FP151 Luxury liner adverttbn_kb_fp151_luxury_liners.jpg
Promotional van built on a Rolls Royce chassis with the back in the form of a Rejectostat De Luxe K-B 666B radio. Image from past Ebay auction no. 171343384290 (currentbun)tbn_kb_666b_radio_van.jpg
This KB Promotional badge celebrates the long standing relationship that Kolster Brandes had with the Cunard shipping company and the much publicised fact that they supplied radio equipment for the Queen Mary and other ocean liners.tbn_kb_badge.png
KB advert from 1932tbn_kb_advert_1932_mod.jpg
Radio advert found in the American publication "The Sphere" from Nov 23rd 1931tbn_kb_add_inexpensive_radio.jpg
KB logo from approximatly 1929tbn_kb_intertwined_med.png
KB logo from approximatly 1955tbn_kb_logo_1955.png
KB "Are you listening" logo from approximatly 1932tbn_kb_sign_head.png
KB logo from approximatly 1963tbn_kb_logo_1963.png
This is a free standing card used in the sale room to advertise the details and price of a KB radio. The card has 4 slots (edited out of image) into which the specific radio model details would be slotted, so card backing can be used for many modelstbn_kb_sales_card.jpg
KB delivery truck, pictured here outside the factory at Foots Cray, August 1937.tbn_kb_delivery_truck.jpg
Promotional van built on a Rolls Royce chassis with the back in the form of a Rejectostat De Luxe K-B 666B radio.tbn_kb_666b_radio_van2.jpg
KB Radio Dealer sign probably from the 1950's. Moulded in dark maroon Bakelite and printed in relief with a gold background.tbn_kb_bakelite_sign.jpg

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Kolster Brandes Ltd. (KB, K.B., ITT); Foots Cray; GB
Threads: 2 | Posts: 3
Hits: 2547     Replies: 0
Kolster Brandes System of Hire Purchase circa. 1929
Mike Edwards

The Introduction of a System of Hire Purchase, a 4 page folder

page 1                                                              page 2

page 3                                                               page 4

The next document appears to be part of the agreement between Kolster Brandes and the Dealer



Following images are documents detailing the models available and the respective prices.

Click on image for larger view

Click on image for larger view


Here is an example of the actual Hire Purchase document

Click on image for larger view


Click on image for larger view



The Following documents are miscellaneous letters and documents relating to the agreement between Kolster Brandes and their Authorised Dealers.


This document seems to relate to the cessation of the exchange of radios for coupons. e.g. the Masterpiece 2 valve radios were originally awarded in exchange for cigarette coupons








The following pages are from a 1929 Kolster Brandes catalogue







Hits: 2030     Replies: 1
Kolster Brandes (UK) Model 'numbering' scheme
Mike Edwards

From approximately 1928 to before 1946, an incrementing 3 digit number. "KB" prefix is optional,

From about 1946 to 1964, generally but not exclusively 2 alpha characters followed by 2 numerals; See Below

From about 1965, many models prefix with K
Then by 1968 approximately, it's ITT Branded e.g. ITT KB.

For approximately 1946 to 1964 inclusive:

The 1st letter is approximate year. Some letters are skipped and some years get two letters.

A 1945 to 1946 No production, shortages. Maybe 1944 & 1945 they made some Civilian Sets? 1941 to 1944 likely only Military production if any.

B 1947 (maybe delayed from 1946)

C 1947

D 1948

E 1949

F 1950

G 1951

H 1952

I (Not used, too much like 1?)

J ( not used) 1953 (presumably or did they take a year off?)

K 1954

L 1955

M 1955

N 1956

O 1957

P 1958

Q 1959

R 1960

S 1961

T 1961

U 1962

V (Not used?)

W 1963

X 1964 (some TVs)

2nd letter prefix

A Amplifier / Audio

B Baby mains radio, not always L & M can be even FM only

G Radio Gram function on a Radio

P Portable (seems pretty consistent). Battery valve or Transistor.

M At least MW Mains Radio, not baby or gram

R Radio All Wave Mostly but not always LW MW, SW (can be LW, MW & VHF), if Export then more SW instead of LW. What else might "R" stand for?

RP Record Player without Radio

S Speaker

T Tape or Transportable Radiogram Why is this RT10 not called an RG10? is it because it is Transportable!?




Usually two digits. If a 3rd digit its the same product segment as a similar earlier xYnn model, if a /n suffix then the year letter is when original released and it's a revised design. Letter then isn't the release year.

T Suffix (xxnn/T) is Export (Why "T") What significance is "TL" suffix?


1st numeral Probably just an indicator to identify the style or grade

2nd Numeral
This appears to be consistant and it seems to indicate the type of supply e.g.

0 = AC Mains
1 = Battery
5 = DC/AC mains.


3rd letter
Indicates alternative version e.g.

T=Tropicalised/(export version), L=low voltage(110-125)



ALPHA 1 = year See list for year codes
ALPHA 2 = type A=Amplifier, B=Baby Radio, G=Radiogram, P=Portable, R=Radio, RP=Record Player, T=Tape Recorder, WR=Wire Recorder,
NUMERAL 3 = ?random number? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
NUMERAL 4 = supply 0=AC mains, 1=Battery only, 5=AC/DC mains
ALPHA 5 & 6 = version T=Tropicalised/(export version), L=low voltage(110-125)

There is no detailed consistency:
Models with same digits and different years & same 2nd letter may or may not be similar to each other.

Why are there three different TV letters? Are these ca
tegories of TV?


Mike Edwards, Michael Watterson

Michael Watterson

Probably produced from about mid 1944 to 1945. These came in various versions, battery & mains.

Kolster Brandes Wartime Civilian Utility Radio code  U32

Kolster Brandes Ltd. (KB, K.B., ITT); Foots Cray; GB
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand