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History of the manufacturer  

Philco Radio & Television Corp. of Great Britain Ltd.; London

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Name: Philco Radio & Television Corp. of Great Britain Ltd.; London    (GB)  
Abbreviation: philco
Products: Model types Brand

Philco Radio & Television Corp. of Great Britain Ltd.
1, Argyll Street, Oxford Circus, London, W1 (1932)
Wadsworth Road Perivale, Middlesex
Aintree Road, Perivale, Middlesex

Starting as an importer in the early 1930s, Philco UK blossomed into a self-sufficient manufacturer of radios, even exporting to France. They later embraced the television revolution and diversified into other electronics, before their journey took a turn with acquisitions and ownership changes by Ford, GTE, and Philips, eventually resulting in a geographically split brand legacy.


  • Started exporting Philadelphia-made radios to the UK.
  • Established a UK subsidiary in 1931 with a plant in Perivale.
  • Gradually transitioned to manufacturing own sets, exporting some US models.
  • Exported radios to France (e.g., 1936 Model 2620).
  • Became a public company in 1936, acquiring P.R.T. Corporation.

Founded: 1930
Closed: 1974
Production: 1930 - 1974


  • Acquired shares in Aero Engines Ltd. in 1944.
  • Became "Radio and Television Trust Ltd." in 1946 for export rights.
  • Formed "Airmec International Sales" for Airmec-branded exports.
  • Became a private company in 1948.

1950s and 1960s:

  • Manufactured TV sets by 1953.
  • Made TVs, radios, and record players by 1961.
  • Acquired by Ford in 1961, renamed "Philco-Ford" in 1966.

Later Years:

  • Sold to GTE in 1974, then to Philips in 1981.
  • Philco brand ownership is split geographically.

From Batteries to Broadcasting: Philco's British Legacy

Founded in 1892, Philco Radio & Television Corp. USA began its journey in a world illuminated by carbon-arc lamps, later venturing into battery manufacturing in 1906. This evolution led to the 1925 development of the Socket Power Battery Eliminator, powering the burgeoning world of battery-operated radios. By 1926, Philco transitioned to producing its own radios, and by 1930, they were exporting models like the iconic Model 20 Baby Grand to the UK.

In 1931, Philco's commitment to the British market solidified with the establishment of Philco Radio & Television Corporation of Great Britain, led by chairman Carleton L. Dyer. Wasting no time, they set up a factory in Perivale, Middlesex, though some early models initially retained Philadelphia-built chassis. Gradually, Philco of Great Britain transitioned to full in-house manufacturing, while select US models like the Model 16 continued to grace British shelves.

Philco's reach stretched beyond the UK, evidenced by its exports to France. The 1936 Model 2620 Baby Grand, with its Philadelphia chassis, British-made cabinet, and French-language dial, stands as a testament to this international reach.

In 1936, Philco (UK) cemented its presence further by becoming a public company. [1] Their bold marketing spirit shone through in 1946 with the erection of a massive neon sign in Trafalgar Square, claiming to be the second largest in the British Empire. [2]

World War II saw a shift in production. Domestic radio sets ceased, but existing car radios were repurposed for household use. Meanwhile, Philco Corporation shifted gears, producing vital communication equipment for airplanes, tanks, and artillery. The details of this wartime manufacturing collaboration between the US and UK remain unclear.

Beyond the war, Philco's involvement in the British market continued to evolve. In 1944, they acquired shares in Aero Engines Ltd., followed by close ties with British Mechanical Productions Ltd. in 1945.[3] Notably, 1946 saw a strategic move: to secure export rights, Philco (UK) transformed into Radio and Television Trust Ltd., while establishing Airmec International Sales for their export endeavors under the Airmec brand. [4]

The company transitioned to private ownership in 1948, diversifying into television manufacturing by 1953. By 1961, they boasted 650 employees and expanded their offerings to include radios and record players. However, this year also marked a turning point when Ford acquired the company, later renaming it "Philco-Ford" in 1966. The ownership baton passed again in 1974 to GTE, and finally, in 1981, Philips acquired the company.

While the independent British chapter closed, Philco's legacy lives on. The Philco brand retains ownership under Philips in North America, while Electrolux holds the rights to Philco International in other markets.

Though their journey began as a subsidiary, Philco Radio & Television Corp. of Great Britain etched its name on the map of British electronics. From exporting radios across the Channel to embracing the television revolution, they demonstrated adaptability and innovation. Even though their independent run had an end, their contribution to the entertainment landscape remains a testament to their bold spirit and lasting impact.

[1] The Economist Jul 4, 1936, Page 32.
[2] Practical & Amateur Wireless Jan 10, 1937, Page 584.
[3] Practical Wireless Apr 1944, Page 178.
[4] Practical Wireless Jan 1948, Page 8.


This manufacturer was suggested by Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
GB  99/99 Dublette ID = 79427 UCC85   
GB  40 Tropic B821 7B7  There is a tab inside the radio: Philco, Richmond, Surrey, England.( or Dealer ... 
GB  51 B2853 7S7   
GB  50 B2852 7S7   
GB  33 Baby Grand 1260 6A7  With Shadow Tuning Indicator. Similar to models 260 & 261. 
GB  33 Four Star Baby Grand 260 6A7  Without Shadow Tuning Indicator, otherwise similar to Model 1260. 
GB  33 Five Star Baby Grand 261 6A7  Hill, "Radio Radio" depicts in fig.412 obviously not a "Five Star Baby Grand", but a "Mezz... 
GB  34 Straight Four 267 77E   
GB  36 People´s Set 333 VP21  120 volt battery has a 67.5 volt tapping. Same case for model 444. Same chassis in wooden ... 
GB  36 People´s Set 269 6A7  First one of the People´s Set Series. Also Bakelite cabinet version 444. 
GB  36 People´s Set 444 6A7  The price was 6gns = 6£ 6s 0d. Same cabinet (probably made by E.K. Cole (EKCO)) also as ba... 
GB  37 People´s Set U427 6A7  similar cabinet for U427, A527, U527, P527, B537 and V537. 


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

Seite 1 Prospekt ca.1940 Seite1tbn_uk_philco_prospekt_ca1940_cover.jpg
[1] The Economist Jul 4, 1936, Page 32.tbn_gb_philco_1_the_economist_jul_4_1936_page_32.jpg
2] Practical & Amateur Wireless Jan 10, 1937, Page 584.tbn_gb_philco_2_1_practical_amateur_wireless_jan_10_1937_page_584.jpg
[3] Practical Wireless Apr 1944, Page 178tbn_gb_philco_3_practical_wireless_apr_1944_page_178.jpg
[4] Practical Wireless Jan 1948, Page 8.tbn_gb_philco_4_practical_wireless_jan_1948_page_8.jpg
Broadcaster & Wireless Retailer Oct 1, 1932, Page 47tbn_gb_philco_broadcaster_wireless_retailer_oct_1_1932_page_47.jpg
Wireless Magazine Dec 1932, Page 580.tbn_gb_philco_wireless_magazine_dec_1932_page_580.jpg
The London Gazette Jun 16, 1936, Page 3861.tbn_gb_philco_the_london_gazette_jun_16_1936_page_3861.jpg
Wireless World Oct 10, 1934, Page Ad 7.tbn_gb_philco_wireless_world_oct_10_1934_page_ad_7.jpg
Wireless World Feb, 1948, Page 55tbn_gb_philco_wireless_world_feb_1948_page_55.jpg
Good Morning Apr 18, 1944, Page 2tbn_gb_philco_good_morning_apr_18_1944_page_2.jpg


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