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History of the manufacturer  

Webster Co., The, Webster-Chicago, Webcor; Chicago (IL)

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Name: Webster Co., The, Webster-Chicago, Webcor; Chicago (IL)    (USA)  
Abbreviation: webster
Products: Model types Brand

The Webster Company
3506 West Lake Street, Chicago, Ill. (1926)
850 Blackhawk St., Chicaco, Ill. (1929)
5622 Bloomingdale Ave, Chicago, Ill (1940)

Webster-Chicago Corp.
3825 W. Lake St., Chicago, Ill. (1937)
5610 West Bloomingdale Avenue, Chicago 39, Ill. (1939)

Webcor Inc.
5626 Bloomingdale Ave., Chicago 39, Ill. (1957)

The Webster Company operated in the same business fields as the Racine WI based Webster Electrical Co. They were commonly referred to as Webster (Chicago) and Webster (Racine) respectively. At some point this situation has led to a change of name to Webster-Chicago - but both names might have been used concurrently as the address information suggests.

The company name was officially changed from Webster-Chicago to Webcor Inc. in 1956, after Webcor was used as a brand for a few years already.

A new stylized logo was introduced not later than 1962.

See also the later Webcor Electronics (from 1967 onward).

Founded: 1914
Closed: 1967

Tubes were made for the company with the Webster and Webcor brands, for the latter see Webcor (tubes).

Webster-Chicago Corporation of Chicago, Illinois, also later known as Webcor, was once a leading manufacturer of business and consumer electronics spanning more than half a century from 1914 to the late 1960s.

The product line included phonographs and recording equipment, public address systems, amplifiers, intercoms and power supplies. In 1925, the first factory built radios including "B" battery eliminators and power packs made by Webster-Chicago. In 1926, the company designed and produced amplification equipment that helped create some of the first talking motion pictures.

Webster-Chicago went on to produce and manufacture amplification and phonograph equipment for entertainment, public address and also business intercom systems which were state of the art for the time. They offered a new method of inter-office communications in large scale applications such as factories, office buildings, hospitals and schools. [1]

Webster-Chicago phonographs and record changers were among the finest made and were often incorporated by other leading manufacturers into some of the highest quality radio and phonograph combinations. The company introduced many different models and designs and led the industry in several innovations, including key contributions in pioneering the mutli-speed automatic record changers that were famous for many years.

In 1945, Webster-Chicago became a licensee of the Armour Research Foundation and began manufacturing wire recorders, the first product being a version of the Armour "military" wire sound recorder which it sold to the U.S. Navy. The stainless steel wire media was perfect for military applications as it could withstand extreme temperature and climate variations in the field. After World War II came to an end, Webster-Chicago continued to produce wire recorders and introduced a whole new product line oriented toward the civilian market. [1]

The Webster-Chicago wire recorders were one of the top selling products ever made and the company specialized in models for both office dictation use and the private consumer market. The mechanism used a stainless steel wire with a diameter of .0036 inches that traveled past a vertical motion recording head at an average of 24 inches per second. The units produced very lifelike sound quality, especially in some of the later high end models where cabinet and amplification circuits were redesigned specifically for better frequency response. The production run lasted from about 1945 through the early 1950s.

In 1952 the company launched a new line of tape recorders and eventually discontinued its production of wire recorders as the industry movement towards Hi-Fi was in its initial stages. In that same year Webster-Chicago intruduced the Webcor brand. Webcor model 210 was the first tape recorder built for the consumer market with dual record/play heads and two balanced induction motors. This would allow for playing a tape in both directions without having to turn the reels over by hand and a single TV type control knob for ease of operation, huge selling points at that time. In 1953 the company also produced a matched 3 speaker series which began the company's endeavors into the Hi-Fi arena.

Webcor continued to produce consumer electronics throughout the 1950s and into the later 1960s creating many innovations in Hi-Fi and Stereo. The company did have business problems in later years as the industry became more competitive and saturated with foreign and domestic electronics. [1, corrected Webcor brand/company inaccuracy] 

After 1967, the trade name Webcor was acquired by Consolidated Merchandising, part of U.S. Industries Inc. - Consolidated was then reorganized to form Webcor Electronics, division of U.S. Industries in late 1971 (see there for later models with the brand name Webcor).

[1] = Information largely taken from

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  45 Wire Recorder 80 6SJ7  Operating frequency: 60 Hz. Power consumption 65W 
USA  59 Webcor EP-1991-1 Ch= 73X014-1 + 14X278-1 12BE6  The Webster Model Webcor EP-1991-1 is an AC operated 5 Tube AM Tuner with Phono Amplifier ... 
USA  59 1894 CH= 14X271, A + 73XO12-2, A 12BE6  The Webster Webcor Model 1894 is a AC operate 5 Tube AM Receiver with 73XO12-2(A) AM-Tuner... 
USA  59 Webcor 1941   The Webster Webcor Model 1941 is a AC operated four speed automatic changer. 
USA  59 Webcor 172   The Webster Webcor Model 172 is a AC operated four speed automatic changer. 
USA  59 Webcor 171   The Webster Webcor Model 171 is a AC operated four speed automatic changer. 
USA  59 Webcor 170   The Webster Webcor Model 170 is a AC operated four speed automatic changer. 
USA  99 Not existing    
USA  99 Not existing    
USA  52 Record Changer Chassis 100-1   There are two versions of the basic model 100 chassis: Model 100-1: basis chassis with ... 
USA  52 Record Changer 100-55 Ch= 100-1    
USA  52 Record Changer 100-557 Ch= 100-27   For GE "Variable Reluctance" cartridges. 


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

Scanned from the Radio Retailing February 1937.tbn_webster_prom_feb37_p90.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing March 1946 page 128.tbn_webster_prom_rr_mar46_p128.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing May 1946 page 99.tbn_webster_prom_rr_may46_p99.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing June 1946 page 107.tbn_webster_prom_rr_jun46_p107.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing July 1946 page 76.tbn_webster_prom_rr_jul46_p76.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing January 1947 page 76.tbn_rr_jan47_p76.jpg
Scanned from the Radio & Television Retailing March 1947 page 112.tbn_rr_mar47_p112.jpg
Scanned from the Radio & Television Retailing April 1947 page 62.tbn_rr_apr47_p62.jpg
Scanned from the Radio & Television Retailing July 1947 page 66.tbn_rr_jul47_p66.jpg
Hair-curler type plate showing the Webcor / Consolidated brand.tbn_usa_webcor_haircurler_type.jpg
Webcor logo in the 80s (taken from a Webcor ZIP phone).tbn_usa_webcor_logo_1.jpg
Webster Drahtspule für Drahttongerätetbn_usa_webster_drahtspule.jpg
Scanned from the Radio Retailing February 1939 page 67.tbn_rr_february1939_ad_webster_p67.jpg
From original "Service Instructions".tbn_usa_webster_motto.png


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