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Lekmek Radio Laboratories; Sydney

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Name: Lekmek Radio Laboratories; Sydney    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: lekmek
Products: Model types Others
Summary:

Lekmek Radio Laboratories (1931), Lekmek (Australasia) Ltd.(1938)
Berk House, 75 William Street, Sydney, NSW.

 

 

Lekmek commenced in 1931 making kit sets for home construction and started making complete radios in 1932. Studio equipment was produced in 1937. Production had ceased by 1940.

The Name “Lekmek” is derived from combination of the words, "electrical" and "mechanical."[1]

Founded: 1931
Closed: 1940
Production: 1931 - 1939
History:

Norman Stanley Gilmore (25-9-1890-) was a founder director with L.P.R. Bean of Stromberg Carlson (Australasia) Limited (and the incorporated company, L. P. R. Bean and Co., Ltd.) since 1922. In 1931 he resigned to set up in his own business to realise a life-long aim.

Both gentlemen were Electrical Engineers who left the Postmaster Generals Department (PMG) in 1922 to set up L. P. R. Bean and Co., Ltd. [1]

Initially the company concentrated on kit sets, chassis and later complete receivers. In 1933 Gilmore produced an 11 valve superhet, Model 11E which he claimed to be the first of its kind in Australia.

In November 1935, Gilmour completed a series of exhaustive experiments to perfect a two-way telephony system for ambulances, police patrol cars, and fire brigades. The central station of, say, an ambulance organisation, is fitted with a powerful transmitting set and the ambulance wagons carry small transmitting and receiving sets. Messages are sent direct to the wagons. Replies are transmitted, picked up by "listening posts," which are located at frequent intervals around the area where the wagons are operating and automatically sent by land wire to headquarters. Wagons cannot carry transmitters powerful enough to contact headquarters direct. After patenting this invention, Mr. Gilmour sold the rights to a patents group, so that people all over the world could benefit from his discovery.[1]

They also manufactured studio and transmission equipment from 1937 for broadcast stations.[3]

In January 1938 Lekmek (Australasia) Ltd. with a public share offer was formed to take over the business of Lekmek Radio Laboratories. [3)

Model production increased steadily up till the fire in 1938.

The factory was badly damaged by fire in March 1938, however the company seemed to recover from this.

It is unknown as to why they ceased manufacturing in 1940 as other manufactures switched to construction for the war effort.

Gilmore was a foundation member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (Australia) and was Vice-President since its inception in 1932 and President 1938/39.

The company was liquidated on the 31 December 1940. [4]

[1] Smiths Weekly (NSW) Feb 26, 1938, Page 8.
[2] Broadcasting Business Yearbook 1937, page 81.
[3] Smiths Financial Review Mar 19, 1938, Page 23
[4] Commercial Broadcasting Jan 30, 1941, Page 2.

This manufacturer was suggested by Wolfgang Scheida.


Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  36 513A [Table Model] 6A7  See also version with 513 chassis (different valve line-up). 
AUS  36/37 Treasure Box 406 6A7  "Leatherette" covered wooden cabinet available in three different colours. 
AUS  37 402 1C6  Price includes batteries. 
AUS  34 701 57  Has three short wave bands; 10-25, 20-45, 45-100 metres. 56 oscillator only works on the ... 
AUS  34 504M Ch= 504 6A7   
AUS  34 504C Ch= 504 6A7   
AUS  34 505 1C6   
AUS  33/34 58EM Ch= 58E 57  58E chassis used in the console model 58EC and mantle model 58EM.  
AUS  35 509 6A7   
AUS  34 606 CF2   
AUS  37 530M Ch= 530 6A7   
AUS  37 530C Ch= 530 6A7   

[rmxhdet-en]

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

[1] Smiths Weekly (NSW) Feb 26, 1938, Page 8.tbn_aus_lekmek_1_smiths_weekly_nsw_feb_26_1938_page_8..jpg
[2] Broadcasting Business Yearbook 1937, page 81.tbn_aus_lekmek_2_broadcasting_business_year_book_1937_page_81.jpg
[3] Smiths Financial Review Mar 19, 1938, Page 23. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_lekmek_3_smiths_financial_review_mar_19_1938_page_23.jpg
[4] Commercial Broadcasting Jan 30, 1941, Page 2.tbn_aus_lekmek_4_commercial_broadcasting_jan_30_1941_page_2..jpg
Advert for 1938 models. Radio Trade Annual 1938, Page 177.tbn_aus_lekmek_ad_rta38_p177.jpg
Electrical & Radio Exhibition Program 1934 Feb 1934, page 6.tbn_aus_lekmek_ad_feb_1934.jpg
Company advertisment, circa 1940.tbn_aus_lekmek_ad.jpg

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Lekmek Radio Laboratories; Sydney
Threads: 1 | Posts: 1
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Article from 1938 for the Prospectus for Lekmek (Aust.)
Gary Cowans
04.Mar.21
  1

FROM KITE-FLYING MESSENGER BOY TO LEADING RADIO SCIENTIST

Intriguing Career of Norman Gilmour-Wireless Pioneer

LIFE DEVOTED TO IMPROVING BROADCASTING

0ne day in 1912, a young radio enthusiast sat patiently in a back yard in Horsham, Victoria, with a pair of primitive headphones over his ears, and his eyes on a tin foil kite attached to a contraption at his feet by a long piece of thin wire. Suddenly he jumped with joy. He had succeeded where the most experienced radio engineers in the Commonwealth at the time had failed and picked up test signals which Commonwealth authorities were trying to transmit from Sydney to Melbourne.

That same pioneer, Mr. Norman S. Gilmour, is now Managing Director of Lekmek (Australasia) Ltd., an organisation which is playing a leading part in the development of broadcasting in Australia. The sequel to Mr. Gilmour's early experiment Is amusing these days, when a radio set has become as common a piece of furniture in the house as the kitchen table. When the Melbourne papers heard of the young man's "amazing achievement," they featured it, to the chagrin of the Commonwealth authorities, who, instead of thanking him for the data he supplied to them, contemplated taking action against him for having listened in without an experimental licence.

But official frowns meant little to the enthusiastic Gilmour. What happened to him was unimportant, he was out to improve broadcasting. And he did. Taking the bit between his teeth, he marched into the National Wireless station in Melbourne, and showed the then director of wireless, the late J. G. Balsillie, a receiving set which amazed the expert. It could be tuned in to any station in Australia without interference. Balsillie, when he did succeed in getting Sydney, also got Adelaide at the same time on his own sets. Since then, Mr. Gilmour has devoted his life and talents to the progress of radio, and it is to men of his calibre and inventive genius that Australians today owe thanks for the efficient and high-quality radio goods available to them at prices to suit the pocket of the poorest labourer. Although still a young man," Mr. Gilmour has packed enough experience into his life to satisfy the average greybeard. In 1904, he joined the P.M.G.'s Department as a messenger boy, at Horsham, Victoria. He was ambitious and sought to improve his knowledge by study. His burning of midnight oil was appreciated by the Department, which has a fine name for encouraging keen and promising young men, and soon he was transferred to the clerical division as a telegraphist. He proved so competent at the morse key that he was rewarded with the doubtful pleasure of transmitting most of the long messages handed in at Melbourne General Post Office. There were compensations, however. The long messages were usually the most interesting. A prominent Melbourne solicitor almost broke his heart when a beautiful musical comedy actress, with whom he had become infatuated, went on to Sydney; and found solace in sending 200-word telegrams, three times a day, to her. Next to radio, Mr. Gilmour considers he has never engaged in a more absorbing pastime than following the progress of the courtship and reading the outpourings of the broken legal cardiac. In 1913, Mr. Gilmour first had an opportunity of testing out his manufacturing ability. A colleague Invented a telegraph transmitter which has become world-famous. Gilmour applied to the department for permission to manufacture models of it for sale. In his spare time, he made transmitters, and studied until 1915, when he passed the professional engineer’s examination, and was transferred to Sydney to supervise the laying of telegraph cables underground.

Three years later he was moved to Newcastle. All this time he did not stop experimenting and studying. He had vision broad enough to see that radio was bound to develop into one of the most important forms of communication and entertainment the world had known. While others laughed at him, all his spare money was absorbed in buying parts.

In 1922, he decided that the time was ripe for him to leave the P.M.G.'s Department and branch out on his own. The training he had gained as a telegraphist and engineer in the department's service and through his own experimenting and study, had fitted him for the big work he sought to accomplish — provide the best equipment possible at reasonable prices.

With Mr. L. P. R. Bean he went into partnership, and together they pioneered the manufacture of telephone equipment in Australia.

Success attended the enterprise and, in 1927, the two men formed Stromberg Carlson (Australasia) Ltd. By 1931, Gilmour saw the chance he had long looked for, and opened his own laboratories, calling them "Lekmek" — a quaint combination of the words, "electrical" and "mechanical." He experimented in the manufacture of equipment for broadcasting stations, high fidelity goods and receiving sets. The products he sent out from his laboratories were of such a standard that even his keenest rivals had to take their hats off to him. But he had a secret. He was sparing no expense to produce the very best possible. He engaged skilled engineers who demanded high salaries for their services. From colleges he obtained young men with a flair for radio and spared no pains in training them to the lofty standard he considered all his employees should attain. Then came the rewards. The P.M.G.'s Department gave him contracts, and then came back for more goods. Both A and B class broadcasting stations quickly became interested in Lekmek products. The national stations at Canberra and Dalby, Queensland, are to be equipped with Lekmek instruments, and the studio equipment of the sole commercial station in Canberra, 2CA, is 100 per cent, Lemek.

"Quality" has become the keynote of Gilmour's organisation. He has made tremendous personal sacrifices to maintain It In the past, and he Is just as determined to see that it Is maintained in the future.

Lekmek high fidelity equipment has become famous throughout the Commonwealth. It enables sound frequencies over the amazing range of 80 to 10,000 to be broadcast and received at the one strength. For Instance, with a cheap transformer, the high- note of a piccolo Is so faint that it cannot be distinguished from other instruments accompanying It. A high-fidelity transformer gives the pure note, clearly and distinctly.

One product of which Mr. Gilmour is particularly proud is his "fader," for use in the broadcasting studio. You have often wondered, probably, how an announcer Is able to fade music into the background while he Is speaking or fade one musical number into another. This is accomplished by the "fader" — an amazingly delicate Instrument. Very few organisations in Australia have employees skilled enough to make them. One fault in the Intricate wiring produces a jerky Instead of a smooth fading, and also clicking noises, which ruin the effect. In the studio, the faders are grouped on the control cabinet of the announcer or, in big studios, the control engineer.

In November 1935, Mr. Gilmour completed a series of exhaustive experiments to perfect a two-way telephony system for ambulances, police patrol 'cars, and fire brigades. The central station of, say, an ambulance organisation, is fitted with a powerful transmitting set, and the ambulance wagons carry small transmitting and receiving sets. Messages are sent direct to the wagons. Replies are transmitted, picked up by "listening posts," which are located at frequent intervals around the area where the wagons are operating, and automatically sent by land wire to headquarters. Wagons cannot carry transmitters powerful enough to contact headquarters direct.

After patenting this invention, Mr. Gilmour sold the rights to a patents group, so that people all over the world could benefit from his discovery. It gave him some pleasure to think that no one would have the temptation of having a monopoly on the invention and charging unreasonably for the use of it.

Besides doing so much for the technical advancement of radio, Mr. Gilmour had taken a keen interest in trade politics, and Is known personally to radio men, professional and amateur, from Darwin to Hobart. A foundation member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (Australia), he has been vice-president since its inception in 1932. Because of his outstanding ability as an engineer and his keen business sense, he was chosen with Mr. R. J. W. Kennell, to fight the case for the majority of organisations in the trade when the big dispute arose over patents in 1933. Patent rights had become so confused that, in many cases, several people were claiming the one patent.

To back Gilmour and Kennell, Radio Interests Ltd., was formed with a fully paid-up capital of £5000. Not only did Gilmour and his associate obtain an arrangement which gave the trade a free hand to develop for five years, but they achieved that result with no cost to the people they represented. Every penny of the £5000 was returned to the men who had subscribed it Mr. Gilmour is also Deputy Chairman of Compressed Medical and Industrial Gasses (Australia) Ltd., a £100,000 company which has been established after a battle with one of the biggest and most Influential organisations in the world. As a result, Australian Industry will be saved many thousands of pounds.

These few points give some idea of the all-round ability of Norman Gilmour, the man who created Lekmek. And Lekmek is to grow. It is no abstract idea or dream, but a solid, concrete fact. In the trade, no name ranks higher when measured against the exacting rule of quality in production. The Australian public is to be offered an opportunity to share in the future success of organisation. Demand for Lekmek products has grown to such an extent that the organisation has no alternative but to expand. Investors interesting themselves in the expansion do so with every confidence, knowing that they are backing a horse which has already won in public esteem and which is being ridden by the man who developed it into the thoroughbred it is acknowledged to be.

Extracted from Smiths Weekly (NSW) Feb 26, 1938, Page 8.

 
Lekmek Radio Laboratories; Sydney
End of forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand

  
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