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History of the manufacturer  

Pye Ltd., Radio Works; Cambridge

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Name: Pye Ltd., Radio Works; Cambridge    (GB)  
Abbreviation: pye

Pye Ltd., Radio Works; Cambridge, GB: Vertretung Schweiz: Radio Représentations SA; Lausanne

W.G.Pye and Co. Ltd. was founded in 1896 by William George Pye, an employee of the Cavendish Laboratory, as a part time business making scientific instruments. During World War 1, it became involved in the manufacture of experimental thermionic valves. This gave the company the technical knowledge it needed to develop it's first wireless, when the first UK broadcasts were made by the BBC in 1922. The company started a wireless components factory in Chesterton and the receivers it made were given positive reviews by Popular Wireless magazine. In 1924, Harold Pye, son of the founder, and Edward Appleton, his former tutor at St. John's College, designed a new series of receivers which became even more popular. In 1928, William Pye sold the company, now renamed Pye Radio Ltd. to C.O.Stanley, who established a chain of small component manufacturing factories across East Anglia. In 1937, following the start of television broadcasting at Alexandra Palace, Pye produced a sensitive 5 inch television receiver, priced at £22. By 1939, it had sold over 2,000 sets at an average price of £34. During the second World War, it became involved in the manufacture of radar receivers and army radio equipment such as Wireless Sets number 18, 19, 22 and 62. After the war, it continued to produce communications equipment and domestic radio and television sets. The company developed the first British transistor in 1956 and sold the first transistor set, the Pam 710 shortly afterwards. By 1966, the company found itself in financial difficulties due to cheaper Far Eastern imports and sold a 60% shareholding to Philips. In 1976, the company was fully taken over by Philips, who continued to produce television and audio equipment using the Pye name.
Pye-Generalvertretung für Österreich: Richard Reiss; Funknachrichtengeräte und Radaranlagen. 1020 Wien; Ausstellungsstraße 55

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
GB  53 Eight-Waveband Radio Receiver 77 ECH42  An 8 band AC mains table radio housed in a sapele mahogany wooden cabinet. Fully tropicali... 
GB  53 AC Mains Table Radio PE 77 ECH42  An eight band AC mains table radio in a wooden case. See also the PYE PE77MB model which i... 
GB  59 PE88 UCH81   
GB  36 Remote Control   A kit for enabling a radio to be remotely turned on or off. 
GB  36 Extension Speaker Q.S (QS)   Incorporates a volume control and built in universal matching transformer. 
GB  70 1392 ED1501  A LW (145-270kHz) and MW (520-1610kHz) pocket transistor radio with a socket for an earpho... 
GB  65–68 Westminster W 15 FM   1-channel 2m radio, approx. 6 watts output power, quartz-controlled, connection for exter... 
GB  50 PE41 EF39  Export verison of the A39J/H UK domestic model. The 39J/H and Irish 39JH/E, has an EF39 in... 
GB  75 Pocket Radio 1418   Pocket transistor radio covering MW (530-1650 kHz) and LW (150-260 kHz). Supplied with wri... 
GB  68 1371 2SA201  A battery portable transistor radio covering MW (185-570 metres), LW (1100-2000 metres), a... 
GB  67 Stereo Radiogram 1212 AF178  A mains powered transistorised 2 x 3 watt stereo radiogram fitted with an AM/FM radio cove... 
GB  68 Portable Stereo Record Player with MW radio 1013 2SA201  Mains/battery portable stereo record player with a built-in MW radio and 2 x 0.9W transist... 


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

..So *this* ist High Fidelity... - PYE Werbung, GB 1957.tbn_gb_pye_werbung2.jpg
Frontansichten von PYE-Geräten aus den Jahren 1927-1948.tbn_pyefront.png
Logo auf dem Holzgehäuse eines Empfängers von etwa 1938.tbn_gb_pye_logo_1.jpg
Werbung in der Funkschau 1963, Heft 18tbn_gb_pye_werbung_1963.jpg
From a 1938 Retail cataloguetbn_catalogue_1938_tv2.jpg
Pye advert from 1950s of various HiFi models.tbn_pye_hi_fi_1950s.jpg
Pye factory 1923 (picture taken from 50th Anniversary Brochure)

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Pye Ltd., Radio Works; Cambridge
Threads: 2 | Posts: 11
Hits: 6278     Replies: 7
PYE factory in Ontario - Canada
Meyer Rochwerger

There was a canadian PYE factory !!

Here is an exemplar of the model 53D made in Ajax, Ontario (ebay auction).

I'd like to have more information about it to post it.

All the best,




Maitiu Standun

hello,meyer, i have a pye set with a  similar chasis,and layout ,made in dublin ireland around 1951.

the cabinet is also similar, but with a different persona, it can be viewed as part of my collection in the model page,

                                                               bn          best regards maitiu standun.

Ernst Erb

Dear Meyer
You are one of the most active members in South America. May I beg you to introduce Pye Canada in Ajax, Ontario and then after acceptance bring in your nice model?

We have to be aware that there is only content when members bring it in ...
We have to remember that everything we see has been an effort of an other member ...

Alfred Zeeb

This is from "Radios of Canada" by Lloyd Swackhammer:

"Pye Canada Limited, 2nd Line, Ajax, Ontario, (now Hunt Street). Pye Canada later moved to North Line Road in Toronto, Ontario"

Swackhammer also shows a picture of the Pye Model 39HC, 1951-52 model year.

I live less than two miles from Hunt Street in Ajax and shall make an effort to find out more about this company. If successful, the information will be uploaded.

Meyer Rochwerger

Dear Ernst,

With the precious help received from our canadian friend Alfred Zeeb I will introduce a new entry for PYE Canada Limited next saturday, and the model 53D also.

Thanks for your kind words.

All the best,


Ernst Erb

Dear Meyer
Thank you for adding the model Pye 53D from Canada and introducing the nice pictures from eBay.
I think it is better that this thread stays with the manufacturer - but I do link here also to the model.

What a pity we have not the seller on the picture legend - but surely you did it as I sometimes also do it: get the pictures and only later I can use them - and lost my notice of the seller ... I tried to find the offer but either it has gone or is not listed as Pye 53D or "Pye radio".

Your work is higly estimated because often we have members who are under UACS and they claim that we have listed all of their radios ... But looking into eBay gives many chances - but is also problematic if the correct name and data are not there ... In any case: We are quite far from being "complete" ;-)

Meyer Rochwerger

Dear Ernst,

You're right!!

When I first saw this rare model, I've downloaded the pictures and forgot to write down the seller's nick on ebay.

Then I made this post after  the auction end.

I'll take care in future actions like this.

Many thanks for your words,




Alfred Zeeb

The original request was for information on PYE Canada Limited. This is what could be found so far:

The following is an excerpt from “A Town Called Ajax”, with the friendly permission of the Ajax Historical Board.



PYE Canada Ltd.


Pye Canada Ltd. Was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pye Ltd. of Cambridge, England. Pye Ltd. was a national leader in electronics in the United Kingdom, designing and manufacturing everything from simple battery radios to sophisticated radar equipment.


At the end of World War II Pye decided to expand and develop its overseas markets with manufacturing plants in Australia and Canada. A search was undertaken for a suitable area in which to locate such a plant in Canada. Industrial areas were examined in most provinces, with Ajax being chosen because of its access to highway and rail transport, and availability of labour. It was also close to the large Toronto market and the U.S. border. In addition there were a number of available DIL buildings from which to choose a manufacturing site.


In 1948 the company negotiated with Central Mortgage & Housing Corporation for acquisition of a large warehouse building on the southeast corner of First Street (now Hunt Street) and Avenue B. (now Monarch Avenue). This building was chosen because it had a reinforced floor which would support the heavy machines used to manufacture the metal chassis in which the radio receiver assemblies were housed. The building was still in use by the University of Toronto as a lecture hall for the engineering faculty, but would soon be vacated, as the Ajax campus was to be closed in 1949.


Pye Canada Limited was incorporated in 1947 with its official business address in Ajax. The process of purchasing the equipment to be used in manufacturing by Pye Canada was begun. Assembly benches were also ordered, as well as the necessary office equipment. These preliminary preparations were under the direction of George Greenep, who became the first Managing Director of Pye Canada.


When the building became available, the installation of equipment and offices got underway. Local residents were hired to staff the plant and 1949 saw the production of the first radios. Their design was essentially British, with modifications to qualify for approval from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). To make the technical changes necessary to secure CSA approval, an Engineering section had to be stationed within the plant. This section would become an important factor in the following years, developing many products and systems that were marketed throughout Canada and the United States. As plant production increased the workforce surpassed one hundred persons in 1950.


About this time George Greenep returned to the parent company because of poor health, and was replaced by Bill Jones, who then headed the company until 1960. This was a period of growth, and a second building was purchased on Avenue B. This was a two-storey structure, and the company used the lower floor for storage. The second floor was for company get-togethers, dances and other social affairs. A smaller building which was attached to the warehouse became an employee clubhouse. It was here that the Ajax Dart League had its beginning. This small building was later moved, and joined to the manufacturing plant to increase office space.


In 1952 Pye Canada began marketing two-way radio systems to police forces, fire departments, taxicab companies and others. Among their customers were the Ajax Fire Department and the Pickering police. During the 1950s the company opened offices in Winnipeg and Vancouver in the west, and Montreal and Halifax in the east. An office was also opened on Front Street in Toronto. When television made its debut in Ontario, Pye set up a line for television production. They also obtained government contracts to supply amplifiers and sonar equipment for the Royal Canadian Navy. Next they designed a telemetering range equipped to monitor ground-to-ground missiles for the Armed Forces at Nicolet, Quebec. The first mobile television units were made for CBC by Pye Canada. These were used during the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. Underwater camera work was carried out by Pye when they received contracts to produce underwater programmes for the “Wide World” series on the NBC network in the United States. In addition, the company was under contract to NASA to recover test missiles off Cape Canaveral. Their cameras were also used in checking underwater natural gas well heads. Pye Canada TV and underwater cameras and associated products became widely known, and were sold throughout North America.


Other products marketed by the company included sensitive scientific equipment, electronic test instruments, loud hailers and fish finders.


As the industrial section of Ajax grew, several electronic manufacturers located there. This resulted in a Department of National Defence Inspection Service being set up in the Pye plant to provide services to electronic firms in the area. Hunt Street was still unpaved at that time, and passing vehicles raised much dust. Penetration of dust into the inspection areas could impair the performance of the supersensitive inspection instruments. Faced with the threat of losing profitable government contracts Pye moved its main operation to a building with controlled atmosphere in East York. A technical office was maintained on McMaster Avenue in Ajax until 1968. At that time the parent company was bought by Philips of Eindhoven, Netherlands, and the Canadian plant was consolidated at the Philips plant in Scarborough. Many of the original Pye employees were employed by the Philips company. 



Pye Canada Ltd. manufactured radio, radio-telephone and television equipment on Hunt St. in the DIL building immediately to the west of the Canadian Legion. This Company was a subsidiary of Pye Ltd., Cambridge, England. It employed approximately ninety persons.


End of quote.





The story of Pye Canada should not be told without briefly reflecting on the story of Ajax. When Britain declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, with Canada following suit within one week, the site where Ajax is situated was farmland with fewer than 200 people living in the area.


In the search for a location to build a munition plant safely out of the reach of enemy planes, Britain looked to Canada. The site just to the east of Toronto in the former Pickering municipality met all requirements. In short order farmers were expropriated and plans drawn up for what was slated to become the largest shell-filling plant in the British Empire.


To manage this undertaking and similar projects in Canada, Defence Industries Limited (DIL) was founded. By the end of June 1941 partial operation started. Towards the end of the war the number of workers on this location had swelled to more than 9000 men and women.


With that many people working and living in the area, the place obviously needed an address. A competition among DIL employees resulted in the name Ajax being chosen, in honour of one of the three British warships that in 1939 had engaged the German pocket battleship Graf Spee at the battle of River Plate.


Following the end of World War II, the Government of Canada was undecided about the future of the large munitions complex in Ajax. Eventually it was decided that rather than returning the land to farming, the plant, with its six hundred wartime homes and six abandoned production lines, could be the nucleus of a fully planned model town. To carry out this plan would require an influx of industry to create employment for the resident and to provide a solid taxation base.


The initial policy was to attract industry from Britain, the mother country. In 1950 Slough Estates came to Ajax and purchased a block of industrial land. Hunt Capacitors of London, England, was one of the first tenants in that industrial park. Even before that, PYE Ltd. of Cambridge, England, had chosen Ajax as its Canadian base.



Hits: 7460     Replies: 2
Pye Ltd.
Volker Jeschkeit

Dieser englische Radiohersteller geriet nach dem japanischen Angriff auf Pearl Harbour in eine echte Absatzkrise,da das Symbol der Firma die aufgehende Sonne war,welches sich in vielen Frontausschnitten der Gehäuse wiederfindet.

Die aufgehende Sonne war aber auch die Kriegsflagge der japanischen Streitkräfte.

Gruss Volker Jeschkeit

Georg Schön
  2 Hallo Hr. Jeschkeit,
diese Geschichte kam mir etwas seltsam vor,
ich hab einen Riecher für "urban legends" fest verdrahtet.
Sicherheitshalber fragte ich in einem englischen Radioforum an, siehe:;action=display;num=1082447342

In einer Antwort wird auf :


Der Umstand, daß das Modell in dem zweiten Link ca. 1947 konstruiert
wurde (ca 6 bis 7 Jahre nach Pearl Harbour) zeigt, daß diese Geschichte
ein Märchen ist.
Die Einzelheiten dazu in den links sind wirklich interessant, ich will es mir
ersparen die hier zu widerholen.

Sie wollten doch mal in Ihren Keller gehen an einem April-Wochenende,
und Versuche mit parallel geschalteten Stabis machen?
Gibt es denn (intertessante) Ergebnisse?
Ich hoffe auf einen Bericht, egal wie das Ergebnis ist. :=)
Georg Schön
Volker Jeschkeit
  3 Ich besitze ein Pye-Radio mit der aufgehenden Sonne von 1931...........also vor Pearl Harbour.
Die Auskunft über Probleme mit dem Lautsprecherdesign (aufgehende Sonne)bekam ich während eines Arbeitsaufenthaltes 1989 von einem Vintage-Radiohändler ,der ein ehemaliger Mitarbeiter der Fa.Pye gewesen ist und während WKII bei Pye in der Entwicklung von Nachrichtenmitteln für die Armed Forces tätig war.
Das das Symbol nach dem Kriege wieder eingeführt wurde bezweifle ich nicht,vor allem nicht 7 Jahre danach,war die "rising sun" doch das traditionelle Verkaufssymbol der Fa.Pye.

Die Stabi-Probe hängt als Erinnerung an meinem Pin-Board,allerdings lässt mir momentan meine "Land-und Forstwirtschaft" nur wenig Zeit,aber es ist nicht vergessen.

Gruss Volker
Pye Ltd., Radio Works; Cambridge
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand