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1920's tubes made by Philips for the Export market

Ernst Erb Jacob Roschy Bernhard Nagel 
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Fin Stewart
Fin Stewart
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06.Mar.17 09:49

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As early as 1923, Philips tubes, made in Holland began appearing in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U. S. Some of these tubes were branded Philips but some tubes since found include these brands: Condor, Peerless, Pope and Star. The tubes were identical to given Philips tubes, with printing (except for the Condor and Pope logos) being identical. Most Condor tubes, with the PR tube type number prefix (I.E. PR2, PR52), were sold in Australia and New Zealand. Originally these tubes had nickel plated brass bases but around 1925, this was changed to a brown bakelite. Most Condor tubes have a Philips equivalent. The PR series lasted well into the late 1920's, with 15 different types known, out of a possible 34 types made. These tubes were not sold in Europe or Great Britain as far as is known and none have been found in the US or Canada.


While Pope and Condor tubes were made by Philips, Pope's Draad en Lampenfabrieken of Venlo in Holland still owned the two brands. Philips acquired Pope in 1920 but allowed the company to continue under its own name for some years. A Pope tube catalog dated May 1st 1925 (in Dutch) lists eleven tubes. This catalog is almost identical to an undated ne for Condor tubes (in English) listing all the same tubes. One exception is in the Pope catalog which lists a P.T.1 tube which appears to be equivalent to a Philips Z1 transmitting tube. No Pope tubes of the 1920's have been located and it is not known where the market was for them.


It was different in the US and Canada. For a short while from 1923, Philips tubes - mainly the 201A type - were sold under the Star brand.General Electric obtained a few samples of these tubes and found that they had been made on machines sent to Philips by GE in 1920. GE took legal action against Philips for patent infringement but eventually agreed to patent sharing rights as long as Philips did not invade GE/RCA territory. An agreement regarding this was signed on July 22nd, 1925. Very few of the Philips 201A tubes have been located so far. Some Philips 201A's and 199's have been located in Australia.  


Star brand tubes have been found in the US. One is a Star"Detector" tube (Bill Condon collection), which appears to be the same as a Philips DIV. A Star tube type number 306 (Philips equivalent of the 199) was in the Alan Douglas collection. All Star tubes located have nickel plated brass bases.


Peerless tubes (with nickel plated bases) found so far are: C1 (UV199), C5 (UV201A). An  advertisement dated 1925 has been located showing that Peerless tubes were available from the Peerless Radio Valve Corporation Limited, 297 James St, Montreal, Canada. The source of the advertisement is not known.  

Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.


Collectors information

"Saga of the Vacuum Tube" by G J Tyne, pages 428 & 429

AWA Journal, "The Vacuum Tube" edited by Bro. Patrick Dowd page 323. Date not recorded.

This article was edited 02.Feb.19 02:18 by Fin Stewart .