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RGD (Brand), Radio Gramophone Development Co. Ltd.; Birmingham

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Name: RGD (Brand), Radio Gramophone Development Co. Ltd.; Birmingham    (GB)  
Abbreviation: rgd
Products: Model types

Radio Gramophone Development Co. Ltd.
St. Peter’s Place, Broad Street, Birmingham (1929)
Globe Works, 18-20, Frederick Street, Birmingham. (1931)
Pale Meadow Works, Bridgenorth (1941)
Eastern Avenue West, Romford, Essex.  (1955 - 1966) 

Brand: RGD (R.G.D.)

Born in 1929, RGD graced Birmingham with opulent radio gramophones and cutting-edge television sets. Their "aristocrats of the radio world" tagline resonated until war drums beat in 1941. Adapting with grit, they shifted gears, churning out vital radar systems and air combat trainers, earning wartime accolades for their technical prowess. After the dust settled, mergers reshaped their path, venturing into collaborations with Regentone before bowing out gracefully in 1970.

RGD's story echoes innovation, adaptability, and a touch of bygone luxury, leaving behind a legacy that endures beyond the final curtain.

Founded: 1929
Closed: 1970
Production: 1929 - 1970

Early Years and Mergers:

  • The Radio Gramophone Development Co. (RGD) likely started around 1929, possibly by Gordon Baynton.
  • An August 1930 Wireless & Gramophone Trader article reported Baynton's merger with Midland Radio Service Ltd., a prominent Birmingham business. This union strengthened its battery service and expanded offerings to include popular RGD radio gramophones. [1]
  • Baynton served as RGD's joint general and sales manager by 1935.

Products and Marketing:

  • A September 1929 Wireless Weekly article described RGD's diverse products at the Olympia Radio Exhibition, highlighting a DC model with advanced features like pre- and post-detection volume control.
  • Their offerings included moving-coil loudspeakers, gramophone turntables, and separate power amplifiers for public address systems. Notably, they sold a coil-damped pickup with a unique reed design. [2]
  • The company moved to Globe Works in Frederick Street, Birmingham, in 1929.
  • RGD products were high-end, marketed as;
        The aristocrats of the radio world
        The world's finest radiogramophones
        The greatest of all radiograms
  • They boasted features like automatic record changers in several models and a 9-valve superheterodyne Model 901 with advanced capabilities in 1932.

Television and World War II:

  • In March 1939, Television & Short-Wave Magazine covered RGD's television sets, including a model with a 10" by 8" picture and a combined television and all-wave radio receiver with 40 valves. [3]
  • Due to World War II, RGD shifted to Bridgnorth in February 1941 and played a crucial role in the war effort. They received official recognition for developing and producing vital equipment like ground radar IFF respondersAbdullah radar homing systems, Oboe navigation system test equipment, and GCI trainers. Additionally, they manufactured receivers, transmitters, portable walkie-talkies, and airborne suppressors. Notably, they developed a trainer simulating air raids, saving the RAF significant resources.
  • After the war, RGD returned to producing radios and televisions until selling the factory to the Automatic Telephone and Electrical Company in 1952.[4]

Other Milestones:

  • In March 1946, RGD established a wholesaler network across the UK with depots in London, Manchester, and Birmingham.[5]
  • This was followed by television training programs for dealer engineers. [6]
  • Around 1949, RGD became a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Insulated Callender's Cables Ltd.
  • A company reorganization in 1951 transferred RGD to the Automatic Telephone and Electric Company, focusing primarily on defense contracts until the end of 1951.[7]
  • RGD & Regentone Products Ltd. was acquired by Lloyd's Packing Warehouses (Holdings), Ltd. circa 1958. [8]
  • Plessey Company purchased Regentone's Eastern Avenue factory in 1961 and manufactured RGD receivers under Regentone specifications. [9]
  • Standard Telephones & Cables acquired Regentone Products Ltd. in 1963, including RGD and other subsidiaries. [10]

The Radio Gramophone Development Co. Ltd. was officially dissolved in 1970. [11]

[1] Wireless & Gramophone Trader Aug 23, 1930, Page 182.
[2] Wireless World Sep 25, 1929, Page 349.
[3] Television & Short-Wave Mar 1939, Page 158.
[4] Bridgnorth Journal Sep 22, 1945.
[5] Wireless World Mar 1946, Page Ad 13.
[6] Practical Television Sep 1949, Page 27.
[7] Practical Wireless Oct 1951, Page 437.
[8] The Economist Feb 1, 1958, Page 447.
[9] Wireless World Jul 1961, Page 350.
[10] Wireless World Jan 1963, Page 15.
[11] London Gazette May 14, 1970, Page 5472.

This manufacturer was suggested by Konrad Birkner † 12.08.2014.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
GB  36 625 VP4B  Osram tuneon neon tuning indicator. Later sets fitted with Mullard TV4 magic eye valve. 
GB  38 718 AC ACVP2  Large aeroplane dial, with extra vernier pointer. Magic eye. 
GB  50 1700C unknown_Tube  12" 405 line TV with VHF Tuner. 
GB  58 B55 DK96  Battery is combined "balanced" Ever Ready B147, same four pin connector as B1... 
GB  58 A112 Receiver 1-12 ECC85  The 3-15 and 3-20 are Auto Radiograms using the same chassis. Wavebands: LW... 
GB  55 3-15 ECC85  Floor standing radiogramophone. Same chassis as model RGD 1-12 
GB  58 3-20 ECC85   
GB  53 ARG510 ECH42  Auto radiogram fitted with Garrard RC75 record changer, & crystal turn over pick-up HGP33C. 
GB  53 Three Speed Automatic Radiogramophone ARG5000 ECH42  A four band console radiogram covering MW (180 - 550 metres), LW (1000 - 2000 metres), SW1... 
GB  61 B58 OC44  The dimensions exclude the handle, batteries 2 x PP1  
GB  59 B56B OC44  Portable six transistor MW/LW radio in a plastic case. Released in June 1959 at £18.... 
GB  60 B57 OC44  Portable six transistor MW/LW radio in a leather case. Released in May 1960 at 16gns. Powe... 


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

[1] Wireless & Gramophone Trader Aug 23, 1930, Page 182.tbn_gb_rgd_1_wireless_gramophone_trader_aug_23_1930_page_182.jpg
[2] Wireless World Sep 25, 1929, Page 349.tbn_gb_rgd_2_wireless_world_sep_25_1929_page_349.jpg
[3] Television & Short-Wave Mar 1939, Page 158.tbn_gb_rgd_3_television_short_wave_mar_1939_page_158.jpg
[5] Wireless World Mar 1946, Page Ad 13tbn_gb_rgd_5_wireless_world_mar_1946_page_ad_13.jpg
[6] Practical Television Sep 1949, Page 27.tbn_gb_rgd_6_practical_television_sep_1949_page_27.jpg
[7] Practical Wireless Oct 1951, Page 437tbn_gb_rgd_7_practical_wireless_oct_1951_page_437.jpg
[8] The Economist Feb 1, 1958, Page 447tbn_gb_rgd_8_the_economist_feb_1_1958_page_447.jpg
[9] Wireless World Jul 1961, Page 350.tbn_gb_rgd_9_wireless_world_jul_1961_page_350.jpg
[10] Wireless World Jan 1963, Page 15tbn_gb_rgd_10_wireless_world_jan_1963_page_15.jpg
[11] London Gazette May 14, 1970, Page 5472.tbn_gb_rgd_11_london_gazette_may_14_1970_page_5472.jpg
Wireless Weekly (AUS) Sep 1937, Page 6.tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_weekly_aus_sep_1937_page_6.jpg
Broadcaster & Trade Annual 1935, Pages 2 & 3.tbn_gb_rgd_broadcaster_trade_annual_1935_pages_2_3.jpg
Broadcaster & Trade Annual 1936, Pages 1 & 2.tbn_gb_rgd_broadcaster_trade_annual_1936_pages_1_2.jpg
Wireless Magazine Oct, 1931, Page 336tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_magazine_oct_1931_page_336.jpg
Wireless World Aug 19, 1932, Page Ad.tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_world_aug_19_1932_page_ad.jpg
Wireless World Jul 1948, Page Ad 7.tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_world_jul_1948_page_ad_7.jpg
Wireless World Jun 23, 1933, Page Ad.tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_world_jun_23_1933_page_ad.jpg
Wireless World Nov 1948, Page Ad 15.tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_world_nov_1948_page_ad_15.jpg
Wireless World Sep 1948, Page Ad 11tbn_gb_rgd_wireless_world_sep_1948_page_ad_11.jpg
World Radio Dec 11, 1931, Page 1021tbn_gb_rgd_world_radio_dec_11_1931_page_1021.jpg

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
RGD (Brand), Radio Gramophone Development Co. Ltd.; Birmingham
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How a Bridgnorth company helped win the Second World War
Gary Cowans

How a Bridgnorth company helped win the Second World War

Only after the guns fell silent could Bridgnorth's role in winning one of the crucial battles of the Second World War be revealed.

Published in Express & by Toby Neal, Feb 22, 2022, from the Shropshire Star website

RGD Bridgnorth factory played an important role during WW2 and was given an official pat on the back as described in Bridgnorth Journal of September 22, 1945. It was the top-secret boffins' war – a race to stay ahead in the field of hi-tech.

And at the end of it all the Bridgnorth workers who had played their part in giving Britain the lead in the field of radar were given an official pat on the back.

Sir Robert Renwick, from the Air Ministry and Ministry of Aircraft Production, wrote a letter of gratitude and appreciation "to you and all those employees of your company who have contributed to the production of the equipment and apparatus which has been of such vital importance to the successful operation of the Royal Air Force."

The company concerned was the Radio Gramophone Development Company, generally shortened to RGD, which had settled into the Pale Meadow Works in Bridgnorth in February 1941 and had done much important secret radar work.

"You have every reason to be proud of having developed and produced such effective equipment as ground radar IFF (that is, identification, friend or foe) responders, Abdullah (a radar homing system), test equipment for Oboe (a navigation system), and trainers for GCI (ground-controlled interception), which undoubtedly speeded our ultimate victory," added Sir Robert.

The lid was lifted on RGD's war story by an article in the Bridgnorth Journal of September 22, 1945, a few weeks after the most devastating hi-tech device of all, the atomic bomb, had brought the conflict to a sudden end.

Radar was not the only thing RGD had contributed to the war effort. The company also turned out things like receivers and transmitters, including a large number of portable walkie-talkies, and airborne suppressors, to suppress radio interference with aircraft.

Its first job, the paper said, had been to develop and manufacture a special type of trainer that generated synthetic air raids and was used for training RAF personnel in using radar. It helped save the RAF 50 million gallons of petrol, to say nothing of aircraft and crews, which were replaced by signals generated by the trainer, which took the place of actual aircraft flying around.

"At the peak of capacity the RGD had 660 employees, and the average during the war years was 550, including parties from Highley, Broseley, Ironbridge, and other places," it added.

The firm's general manager at the time was one C D Wetton.

After the war the company moved to more peaceable applications of hi-tech, making radios and televisions. The factory was sold by RGD in 1952 to the Automatic Telephone and Electrical Company – that is, A T & E – which merged with Plessey in about 1964, and subsequently in 1968 became Decca, and later still was taken over by the Taiwanese electronics giant, Tatung.

RGD (Brand), Radio Gramophone Development Co. Ltd.; Birmingham
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