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History of the manufacturer  

Airzone (1931) Ltd.; Sydney

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Name: Airzone (1931) Ltd.; Sydney    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: airzone
Products: Model types

Airzone Ltd.
Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney, NSW (1926)
16 Australia Street, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW (1928 - 1931)

Airzone (1931) Ltd.
16 Australia Street, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW (1931 - 1944)
68 Parramatta Road, Auburn, NSW. (1944)

The Airzone company was started by Claude Plowman (1895-1954) and Edgar Sydney Wolfenden.

Airzone became one of the biggest manufacturers in Australia and produced sets also for Malvern Star, Mullard and Peal.

Founded: 1925
Production: 1925 - 1955

Airzone started manufacturing crystal sets in 1925. In 1928 they moved to Parramatta Road at Camperdown in Sydney and expanded to 750 employees.

The Airzone trademark registered earlier in July 1926 and on 16 February 1927, Airzone Ltd. was incorporated.

In September 1931, Airzone Ltd. was liquidated and the company was reorganised as a public company, Airzone 1931 Ltd., with 9000 ordinary and 1000 employee shares at £1 each.

By 1936 the factory floor area was over 3400 square metres.

At different stages in World War II the factory produced instruments for testing radar and electrical communications, assembled grenades and made asdic equipment.

On the 24 June 1946, the company was taken over by Electricity Meter and Allied Industries Ltd. (EMAIL), who had taken over Emmco in 1936 and were manufacturers of Philco brand sets. After the takeover, Plowman remained as manager of Airzone.

After 1948 both Airzone and Philco branded sets were the same.

Radio production finished end of 1955, after which Airzone branded radios were manufactured by AWA.

Sir Claude Plowman (1895-1954)

As a senior member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, he was prominent in the 1945 discussions that led to the establishment of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race. He skippered the Morna to three successive, first-cross-the-line wins from 1946.

He was knighted in 1948 for services to industry and yachting.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  38 Symphony Leader 537 6A8G  The dial lights in amber for broadcast, green for short wave. There is also a 1940 ... 
AUS  35 552 Ch= 508 6A7   
AUS  33 303 Ch= 300 57  Advertised in the Radio Trade Annual 1933, Page 104, for £13/19/6. 
AUS  34 580 Ch= 505A 57   
AUS  41 Concert Star 6552A 6A8G  Shares the same cabinet as models 6551A, 6541A & 6641A. See also Peal model P6652A. 
AUS  36/37 Radio Star 550 Ch= 520 6A7   
AUS  37 Radio-Star 560 Ch= 521 6A7  Airzone model "560" is a five-valve receiver, using chassis type "521", wh... 
AUS  36 554 Ch= 511M 6A8G  First Australian Radio with all metal valves. Also uses an "iron cored" f... 
AUS  37 590 Ch= 520 6A7   
AUS  36 Radio Star 452 Ch= 402 6A7   
AUS  99/99 Doublet ID = 109186    
AUS  36 Midget 553 Ch= 504 6F7   


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

Airzone new models for 1932 advertisment from "West Australian Wireless News & Musical World" magazine April 1932.tbn_aus_airzone_1932_new_model_advert.jpg
Advertisement listing new Airzone Radios and prices for 1932 available from Morris Brothers, Perth Western Australia. From "West Australian Wireless News & Musical World", April 1932, page 75.tbn_aus_airzone_1932_new_models_advert.jpg
Peal Logo "Clear as a Bell" Peal Radios were manufactured by Airzone.tbn_aus_airzone_peal_logo.jpg
Advertisement from the West Wyalong Advocate (NSW), March 10, 1936. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_airzone_ad_1936.jpg
Airzone trademark application #44006. Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (NSW), 21 July 1926, page 8. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_trademark_application.jpg
Article from the Sunday Mail (NSW) 25 February 1934, p23, describing the factory manufacturing process. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_article_sunday_mail_nsw_25_2_34_p23.png
In 1944 Airzone (1931) Ltd. moved to a new factory at 168 Parramatta Road, Auburn, N.S.W. From Mercury (TAS) 7 October 1944, page 4. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_auburn_mercury_tas_7_10_1944p4.jpg
In 1928 Airzone Ltd. purchases a factory at 16 Australia Street, Camperdown, Sydney. From The Sun(NSW) 24 July 1928, page 14. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_camperdown_factory_sun_nsw_24_7_1928p14.jpg
The death of Sir Claude Plowman in 1954. From The Canberra Times (ACT) 7 September 1954, page 2. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_plowman_death_canb_times_7_9_65p2.jpg
In May 1931 Airzone Ltd. was wound up. Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (NSW),8 May 1931 Page 1724. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_wound_up_gg_nsw_8_may_1931_p_1724.jpg
Advert from the Radio Trade Annual 1933 describing models, 303, 404, 501, 601 & 603.tbn_aus_airzone_rta_1933_page_104.jpg
In October 1931 Airzone (1931) Ltd. was listed. Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 17, 1931, page 15.tbn_aus_airzone_ltd_shares_smh_17_10_1931p15~~1.jpg
1933 advertisement for Airzone Models 555 and Midget. From the West Australian Vintage Radio & Gramophone Club archives.tbn_aus_airzone_1933_advert.jpg
1933 advertisement for Airzone Models 909, 801 and 540. From the West Australian Vintage Radio & Gramophone Club archives.tbn_aus_airzone_1933_advert2.jpg
1933 advertisement for Airzone Models 540, 530, 535 and 530B. From the West Australian Vintage Radio & Gramophone Club archives.tbn_aus_airzone_1933_advert3.jpg
Airzone models in 1937. Radio Trade Annual 1937, Page 109. Credit Marcus Chick.tbn_aus_airzone_radio_trade_annual_1937_page_109.jpg
Christmas 1939 advert for consoles 576, 657, 651B & 583. Bulletin Dec 11, 1939, Page 31. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_airzone_bulletin_dec_11_1939_page_31.jpg
RECONSTRUCTED SPEAKER LABELtbn_aus_airzone_speaker_label_2.jpg
RECONSTRUCTED SPEAKER LABELtbn_aus_airzone_speaker_label_4.jpg
RECONSTRUCTED SPEAKER LABELtbn_aus_airzone_speaker_label_5.jpg
RECONSTRUCTED SPEAKER LABELtbn_aus_airzone_speaker_label_6.jpg
RECONSTRUCTED SPEAKER LABELtbn_aus_airzone_speaker_label_7.jpg
RECONSTRUCTED SPEAKER LABELtbn_aus_airzone_speaker_label.jpg

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Airzone (1931) Ltd.; Sydney
Threads: 1 | Posts: 1
Hits: 451     Replies: 0
Airzone Policy of Planned Production (1938)
Gary Cowans

Not many men in Australia can look back on a thirteen years’ record as the head of a radio receiver factory. Mr. Claude Plowman, managing director of Airzone (1931) Pty. Ltd., is one of them. To-day he presides over one of our largest and most reputable radio factories. In 1925, Airzone was in its infancy, with no indication of the big future which lay ahead. This year found radio broadcasting stations well into their stride, and the public listening to them on thousands of crystal sets. Airzone made a big share of these sets when it first went into business in the Wentworth Building at Dailey Street. At first the business was carried on in a single room, then in two, and so on until it grew right out of the beginner’s class and clamoured for more space. In those days, a tremendous number of component parts were sold. Every radio set had to use a coil kit. Mr. Plowman, therefore, commenced to make coil kits for such famous circuits as the Browning-Drake and the Neutrodyne. These were tricky things for the homebuilder to wind for himself, and so Airzone commenced winding them for him. Thus, was started a section of the business which was to be a big feature for some years to come.
In 1926, in his search for more commodious premises, Mr. Plowman bought the complete plant of an engineering works at Enfield. More than this, one of the terms of the sale was that the building could be occupied rent free for six months. Airzone moved in and made more parts and more crystal sets. Even this was not enough. Soon another change was needed, and the factory moved to Paddington, where there was 4000 square feet of floor space to play with, and a staff of 70-100 hands. Coils and components were still a big part of the Airzone production. Whether Mr. Plowman’s training as an engineer is to blame, or not, Airzone always have laid great stress on making the parts they require. They began to lay in the beginnings of the fine engineering shop they now possess, and in which they make so many parts, and tools to make more parts.
In this year, 1926, the Airzone portable made its first appearance. It was a four-valve broadcast set in a carrying case and was such a success that in 1930 it was still being made with little variation from its original form. It is estimated that altogether more than 10,000 Airzone Portables were placed on the market, and they were sold in every State in the Commonwealth.
The business continued to consolidate and grow, until in 1928 the present building in Australia Street, Camperdown, was purchased. At first, it was too big for the activities of the firm, but not too big, as Mr. Plowman was beginning to realise, for the Airzone of 1937. At first two-thirds of the building was rented, and from time to time, more and more of it was occupied to meet the requirements of the growing firm.
In the year 1931 the whole business was reconstructed, and became Airzone (1931) Ltd. Many very important points of policy were laid down at this time, and these have, with minor exceptions, proved themselves by remaining intact at the present day.
Mr. Plowman began to realise the importance of looking ahead. In fact, it is correct to say that every move at the Airzone factory is planned with a horizon, two, three, and even five years ahead. It is a factory whose policy is built on the future and not merely on the present. Previous to this, the factory had, in common with so many others, done a big business in unbranded chassis, which were sold to firms who marketed them under their own name. Airzone decided that the nationally known and advertised receiver was the one to build a big business. As a result, no more sets were made, except those sold under the name of Airzone. It was a big step, and it meant losing much business. But it was all according to plan. A controlled sales policy was laid down, under which Airzone themselves controlled the condition under which their sets were sold. They determined to make quality sets and sets which would stand or fall on their own worth. As a result, they claim to-day to have a percentage of service calls less than half that of the next best manufacturer. Perhaps the careful system of checking components as they enter the factory is responsible for this. With thousands of pounds of laboratory equipment in use, Airzone consider it is cheaper to make sure the components that go into the set are right before the set is even assembled, than to use their equipment, finding faults due to components which even in the best of families are faulty from the start. It costs more to test the components in an Airzone set before the set is assembled than it does to actually assemble the set itself.
One of the first successes oi the reconstructed company was the “Airzone Cub,” a mantel set of two valves and rectifier, which sold over the counter for £l2/19/6. It needed no expert installation, being just plugged in to the power socket like any other domestic apparatus. It sold in thousands.
Airzone’s story since 1931 has been one of steady progress according to plan. To-day they make a full range of battery and A.C. receivers. The component section of their business has been almost eliminated. The parts they make to-day nearly all go into Airzone sets. The gang condensers used are all made at the factory. The tuning coils are wound on special machines which were made at the factory. Machines were not available which would do the job just the way they required. So the machine shop got on the job, and produced machines that would. The Airzone moulded cabinet mantel model is one of its latest and more popular productions, just as the “Cub” and the “Portable” were in the past. No one then, however, could have visualised a cabinet moulded completely in one piece, by means of a die weighing approximately one ton. Although Airzone did not make this intricate die, it was made to their design. Only by moulding the cabinet in one piece was it considered possible to get the finish and uniformity required.
With its policy of planned production, Airzone is looking still further ahead and planning extensions. Behind them all will be the same policy and the same search for quality that has distinguished them in the past.
Wireless Weekly 1938, February 28, 1938, Page 20.

Airzone (1931) Ltd.; Sydney
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand


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