The Story behind Astor.

ID: 481536
This article refers to the manufacturer: To the manufacturer

The Story behind Astor. 
21.Aug.18 01:37

Gary Cowans (AUS)
Articles: 106
Count of Thanks: 6
Gary Cowans

The Cairns Post  (QLD) advertised The Story Behind Astor over fourteen issues from 7 June till 25 June 1935 for Pittard Dick & Co Pty. Ltd., a radio dealer in Cairns.

The text is reproduced below:

The Story behind Astor.

CHAPTER I. - The Story behind Astor.

Behind Astor Radio lies the most amazing romance of modern commercial enterprise.

In 1923, before the establishment of National Broadcasting the embryo radio industry came into being in a small factory, tucked away in an obscure corner of the City, the manufacture of fixed condensers was commenced by two enterprising young men under the name of "Clark and Hagblom”. Their operations were later extended to include the production of other necessary components, such as audio transformers, and rheostats. Larger premises and bigger plant became necessary to cope with the phenomenal development of this new industry. By an amalgamation of the three largest radio parts manufacturers in Victoria, the Radio Corporation of Australia Pty. Ltd. was formed in 1926.

Shortly afterwards this new organisation commenced to manufacture the first Astor receivers under contract to Messrs. Louis Coen Wireless. The transformation of wireless from the hobby of experimenters to a primary family entertainment, involved additional extension of activities. Connections were formed overseas with leading international manufacturers and laboratories.

Finally, a further reconstruction, effected under the name of Radio Corporation Pty. Ltd., purchased the entire Louis Coen Wireless wholesale interests.

This powerful corporation with enormous capital invested and employing the most up-to-date merchandising methods has won nationwide recognition for Astor. Big advertising, an army of travellers, aeroplanes, etc., were employed to ensure that specialisation in production essential to modern advancement.  It has been laid down on the policy of the Radio Corporation, that the entire laboratory and engineering resources shall be devoted only to the production of radio receivers for broadcast entertainments.


Approaching the new works, which occupy the whole of one side of Nolan-street, from Sturt Street, through to Dodds Street, South Melbourne, you are impressed with the massive proportions and enormous coverage of the Radio Corporation Factory.

Over two acres under one expanse of roof The Research Laboratories, Testing Division, Parts Production and Assembly Plant, together with the administrative and merchandising departments, are organised into the largest works in Australia, devoted exclusively to the production of radio receivers.

Entering the Works through the swing door of the administrative department, you step into the pulsating centre of an industry that amazes with the multiplicity of its activities.


Here you see the Astor research laboratories where the best brains of Australian research engineering, in collaboration with the Hezeltine Laboratories of U.S.A., are working day and night, developing new inventions.  Experimenting.  Adapting the world's latest patents to suit Australian conditions. Carrying out continuous research in order that the new Astor models shall maintain Astor's undisputed Instruments worth over £5000 are to be found in these laboratories. Many of these instruments are unprocurable in Australia, for the Astor research laboratories are equipped with the most complete electro radio scientific apparatus.


A battery of huge presses, such as in the Astor Engineering Shop, is not usually associated with the production of delicate radio apparatus. These presses are used to stamp out the steel chassis, metal cabinets, etc., of Astor Receivers.

Here, also, is the line of automatic lathes, employed in producing perfect precision parts in large quantities. The small metal components required in Astor sets. Into these up-to-date machines, rods of brass or iron are fed, to emerge as finished products; nuts, screws, or parts as required.

Since the protection tariff came into operation in 1930, it has been possible to manufacture every part in Australia. Even the sheets and rods of metal are purchased from Australian mines, and are fabricated in the Astor works.


Every part of every Astor receiver is manufactured in its entirety at the Astor Works - from the minutest screw to the largest power transformer.

In this department is to be found the transformer winding and impregnating plant. Machines, specially designed to wind 14 transformers together, are busily engaged in turning out the transformers, which are the heart of every Astor Radio.

The interesting process of vacuum impregnation is also carried out here. By this process all moisture is scientifically removed from the coils, which ensures the extraordinary long life characteristic of Astor receivers.


In the main assembly hall, the central store functions as a hub, around which the whole factory organisation revolves.

 In front of this store are six main assembly lines, each one devoted to a separate phase of production.

No. 1 line assembles dynamic loud speakers. No. 2 line, electric gramophone motors. No. 3 line assembles variable condensers. Line No. 4, resistances, coils, etc. Line No. 5, transformers and transformer coils, including lamination and impregnating of coils. The last and most important line, No. 6 assembles the complete chassis.

At the end of each line is the general inspection department, which examines, inspects and tests every article which has been manufactured. If the part does not form a finished product, it is sent back to the store, from which it is later issued to the next assembly line.

The work of wiring the receiver is carried out on a moving belt assembly line. At the end of this line the chassis arrives completely assembled and wired, and is passed into the testing department.


An important factor of Astor dependability lies in the rigid tests to which each part is subjected at every stage of its manufacture, before; it is finally assembled on the pressed steel chassis.

The completely assembled and wired chassis is then subjected to a continuous 20% overload test over a number of hours. This rigorous test ensures that the receiver will definitely stand up to any overload which might occur in the user's home owing to line fluctuation.

The receiver chassis is again tested both before being placed in the cabinet and afterwards as a complete radio. Each Astor is definitely measured on instruments for volume, sensitivity, and selectivity.  Tone is tested in the final sound-proof test rooms before the receiver is packed for release.


The new Astor Superheterodynes are the only receivers on the Australian market designed and licensed by the Hazeltine Laboratories. It is of interest to note that 80% of superheterodynes produced in USA., including names as Majestic, Crossley and Philco are built to the design and licensed under patents, of these world famous laboratories.

The new Astor models are specially designed to exploit the unique advantages of the new high efficiency 5-element triple grid valves. They introduce greater range, unbelievable selectivity, and immense power, with a simplicity of operation not previously associated with superheterodynes.


Beneath the chassis of the Astor is found the secret of that continuous good service for which the Astor is designed.

The units in the chassis are as delicately attuned to each other as those in a fine watch. Each connection between them is wired and soldered so carefully and perfectly that a lifetime of uninterrupted efficiency is assured.

The valve sockets guaranteed positive contact with side-wiping double springs.

All wire resistors are protected with vitreous enamel, while Astor construction embodies automatic compensation for fluctuating and excessive current supply.


Signals transmitted by the broadcasting stations are so weak the human ear cannot detect them. It is only the delicate radio receiving apparatus, adjusted to synchronise with the incoming impulses, that

enables these signals to be recorded.

Mathematical accuracy is therefore essential in tuning apparatus. See how precisely the Astor tuning coils are wound. How the rigid die-cast construction of the tuning condensers ensures maintenance of that great accuracy (to within half of one per cent.) to which each condenser is tested.

Built so that nothing interferes with their exact operation, these delicate contrivances function tirelessly and accurately. Picking up and separating the radio impulses, so that only the signals of the

station desired are passed on to the reproducing units of the receiver.


Here is the power transformer. The unit that transforms the power from your electric light supply. On this unit, coupled with the filter condensers, depends the steady flow of current necessary to give that full, undistorted volume for which the Astor is justly renowned.

See how the coil is layer wound from highest quality American enamelled wire. The thousands of fine strands are carefully layer insulated. Once the coil is wound it is subjected  to numerous laboratory tests for continuity, correct proportions, shorted turns, and insulation break down. The coil is then preheated, thoroughly dried to eliminate all moisture, and finally impregnated to seal the entire coil against atmospheric effects. The lamination of the iron core inside the coil is then carried out.

When completed the transformer is subjected to tests for leakage, and correct output voltages.

Finally, it is aged on overload for two hours to eliminate any possibility of transformer breakdown when operating in the set.


The loud speaker is responsible for the reproduction into audible sound of the radio impulses picked up by your receiver.

Recognising its importance, Astor Engineers insist that sensitivity should not be  sacrificed by employing the cheaper standard speaker design, which leaves out the sides of the pot enclosing the field coil.

Complete sensitivity can only be obtained by a completely enclosed pot. In the Jensen the heavy round metal pot completely covers the large field coil, preventing leakage of field energy.

Solid pressed steel frame ensures freedom from mechanical distortion. 3-point spider support  maintains accurate centering of the voice coil. Input transformer is specially designed to handle the

tremendous output of the new super Pentode valves.

Each speaker is tested over an extraordinary range of notes.

Thus Astor ensures reproduction, true as the original, from the most subdued whisper to the crescendo of a 100-piece symphony orchestra.


All Astor Cabinet artistry is not apparent on the surface.

The various plane surfaces within the cabinet are mortised together, to such exactitude that it seems as though a cabinet were actually carved out of a single piece of-wood. The legs are dowled to the body of the cabinet in such a manner that warping is impossible. Consequently, your cabinet will be as beautiful and intact in all the years to come as it is the day you select it. Astor Cabinets are fashioned from the finest figured walnut veneers with ebony inlays. The designs admirably express the trend of modern, cabinet styles, and are exclusive to Astor.


Entering the home, Astor charms with its mobility. The coordinated compactness of design which enables you to take the Astor into any room. No elaborate installation is necessary.

You note with pleasure how the beauty of the Astor Cabinet adds to the attractiveness of home furnishings. How Astor Radio enhances your hospitality; enabling you to offer outstanding musical entertainment to your friends.

Astor gives you that certain period of real recreation which is a daily necessity to the physical and mental well-being of you and your family.

Astor Radio has definite educational value; it enables, you to gain some new knowledge each passing day. It is a modern convenience that costs less to operate and keeps you in closer touch than the telephone.

The running cost is negligible. Astor electric Radio consumes less than an ordinary lamp; less than one half-penny per day. It is an entertainment investment which represents a valuable addition to the assets of your home. DECIDE UPON AN ASTOR TO-DAY.

Pittard, Diack & Co. Pty. Ltd.

Extracted from TROVE archive by Gary Cowans, 9 October 2017.

To thank the Author because you find the post helpful or well done.