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Old 9th Jan 2018, 1:42 pm   #1
Argus25
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Default British Motorola radios

Split from this thread: https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...07#post1006407

This is not the only example, there is also what I call "English Motorola" For example English made car radios with AF117's in them and Mullard capacitors, again clearly not American designed, but with Motorola labels/logos.
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 1:55 pm   #2
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Motorola's UK output was made by Sydney Bird (Cyldon).
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 3:59 pm   #3
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

My understanding is that the Motorola Car radios of the 60s & early 70s, most owhich were also sold as Radiomobiles, were built under licence in the UK by World Radio Ltd., a susidiary of Smith's Industries, who also owned Radiomobile, to an American design. True, they used all British components, and incorporated Long Wave, and I can't point to a U.S. Motorola Radio of that era as being essentially the same model, so if anyone can add to, confirm or deny my statements, it would add to the knowledge on this forum.

Last edited by AC/HL; 9th Jan 2018 at 9:16 pm. Reason: Thread split
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 8:48 pm   #4
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

According to graces guide, Radiomobile was a brand jointly owned by Smiths and EMI, in order to brand & market EMI's car radios formerly branded HMV. After 1966, Radiomobile joined Motorola in being manufactured under contract by Sydney Bird
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 11:29 pm   #5
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

With rrespect, Kevin, I think you are wrong. The Cyldon tuners were made my Sydney Bird, certainly, but it was always my understanding that the radios were manufactured by Smiths in Cricklewood, whichever of the two brand names they carried. Admittedly I cannot provide documentary evidence to back up my statement, other than the fact that Motorola Radios bore labels bearing the name World Radio Ltd. In the Mid 1970s Motorla set up their own UK factory at Stotfold, Herts., where the 112,114, 121 & 122, amongst others were made. Bird later made car radios & cassette players sold under their own name, and also as Lucas Audio, but that's another story.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 1:54 pm   #6
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

I worked for Smiths for a number of years and knew one or two of the people who had been involved with Radiomobile. The official Smiths history 'A Long Time in the Making' by James Nye (2014) also provides authoritative information.

Back in the final years of WW2, EMI Research Labs in Hayes developed a car radio using the then new miniature B7G valves. Presumably, it was part of a plan to produce products for the post-war markets. What they didn't have was a route into the automotive market. So they talked to Smiths, then a byword for car instruments and clocks, but with no significant electronics capability at that time. Those talks led to the Smiths board in March 1945 agreeing to the establishment of a joint venture company with EMI under the chairmanship of the Smiths chairman, Allan Gordon-Smith.

The radios were branded HMV and as far as I know, installation and service were initially provided by HMV dealers in conjunction with motor service agents. Initial manufacture was at the EMI factory in Hayes, but by 1952, Smiths was manufacturing them at Goodwood Works on the North Circular Road.

By 1957 it became clear that the future of car radios lay in transistor circuits. It became clear to Radiomobile MD Jack Crone that Motorola had a superior mastery of the technology, something that today we can well understand. As it happened, the UK importer of Motorola car radios was World Radio, located not far away on the Edgware Road. World Radio had been founded by Richard Papelian back in 1925 and from 1932 had imported, and then locally manufactured, Motorola radios. Whether Sydney Bird had been involved in this manufacture, I don't know. World Radio and Richard Papelian clearly had a very close relationship with Motorola. Presumably Motorola radio designs would have needed modification for the UK market to add a LW band etc. It may be that the World Radio brand appeared on at least some of these sets.

It was in 1957 that World Radio was acquired by Smiths from Richard Papelian. Motorola manufacture was transferred to Goodwood Works and Jack Crone ran both Radiomobile and Motorola sets down his production lines. Unfortunately, shortly after this, Motorola withdrew permission to use their name and logo, so they were all rebranded Radiomobile. So it's quite possible that one might find a late '50s Motorola design branded Radiomobile.

By 1981, the death knell had sounded for UK car radio manufacture when Philips moved their Belgium production to the Far East and shortly afterwards, production at the Goodwood Works was terminated.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 2:43 pm   #7
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

I worked for Radiomobile on the North Circular Road in the mid 1960s. The car radios which came down the production line were essentially the same whether Motorola or Radiomobile, but with slightly different fascia and labelling. The most popular song through the factory PA was the Animals 'We've got to get outta this place' sung, when it came on, by all the workforce with great feeling. I greatly enjoyed my time there and have one of their Radiomobile models in a Mini Traveller.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 5:41 pm   #8
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Thanks - that's very interesting information - so there were still Motorola branded radios being sold in the mid 1960s, despite the earlier prohibition on use of the brand. Maybe Smiths renegotiated the issue.

Do you happen to recall whether any production was subcontracted to another company at that time? According to the Sydney Bird website at http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/brita...rdy/story.html , Bird was manufacturing car radios branded Radiomobile and Motorola in 1966. Quite possible, though Smiths was inclined to do its own thing at that time.

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Old 10th Jan 2018, 6:45 pm   #9
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Motorola Branded Car radios, identical to the equivalent Radiomobile models, were still being produced, presumably at Cricklewood, until the early to mid 70s. The last ones, models 737 & 838, were identical to the RDM 1070 & 1080 respectively. The only differences were cosmetic. Motorola Radios had Grey top & Bottom Covers, whilst RDM used Blue Lids for their whole range, which, at that time consisted of mdeols 80, 1070, 1080, 1085 & 1095, all of which were AM (MW?LW) radios, the 80 being manually tuned, with a single-ended o/p stage using an AD149. The 1070 was also single ended, but with a Cyldon Push-button Tuner, whilst the 1080, 1085, & 1095 were all push-button sets with push-pull o/p, using AD161/162 output stages. All used AF117 RF/IF Transistors. The later 'X' variations of these used silicon RF/IF Transistors, usually either BF184 & 185 or BF194./195 'Lockfit' devices. These were produced after Motorola had set up their own UK Factory.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 6:49 pm   #10
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Sorry, I do not know the answer to that one. I do know that new models were still being designed and tested there in 1965. I spent quite some time filling in on the production line sticking Motorola or Radiomobile labels to the sets as they came past. Better than riveting tags to sub chassis, but nowhere near as good as fixing defective radios.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 9:45 pm   #11
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

IIRC Motorola UK set up their own factory in about 1974/75. From then onwards there was no connection between them and Radiomobile, though the latter still had an association with Sydney Bird, using Bird tuners (not very good IMHO) in their 1070XB model. The radios you were involved with, Wanderer, were the likes of 717/818, 727/828 (RDM970/980), the 125X(RDM70X) and possibly others.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 11:23 pm   #12
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

There were several 'Radiomobile' branded UK market CB radios on sale immediately post 1981, just as there were also some branded 'Rotel'. The Cybernet-built Rotel units were only ever sold with the Rotel brand on, but the 'Radiomobile' models were much more commonly found branded with Cybernet's own name. (Cybernet were Japanese). I assume that by this time Radiomobile was just a 'badge'.

Attached, a web image of one of the Radiomobile branded CB radios, The 'Cybernet' branded ones had green LED displays and nicer looking dark gunmetal grey knobs.

I did always wonder if the Radiomobile branded models had briefly been intended to be offered as a fitted optional extra in some mainstream car brand or other.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 12:01 am   #13
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Both Motorola USA and Sydney S.Bird have patents for push-button car radio permeability tuners filed within 6 months of each other. I wonder if Bird's maybe supplied complex components or tuning units for Motorola/Smiths et al, and someone's recollection has been slightly confused?

We have a 1950's Daimler with HMV-badged Radiomobile 200X with seperate psu/amp. It's never been serviced since we had the car in the late 1970's and still works perfectly! If you ignore the black colour and Nipper logo, it could easily be an american radio
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 4:01 am   #14
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Motorola's back annual stockholder reports are available online here: https://www.motorolasolutions.com/en...t-archive.html

In the 1960 issue on page 13 is a picture of Mr. Papelion in front of the factory: https://www.motorolasolutions.com/co...-4p97mb-28.pdf

In researching these along with some other sources, I found out Motorola ended its licensing agreement with Smiths in 1969 and opened up a new factory in Stotfold to build car radios. Seems both Motorola and Radiomobile came out with car tape players for the British market shortly after this, and the two became major competitors.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 9:56 am   #15
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

From that report it's fairly obvious that the Motorola 737 & 838, produced by Smiths in the late 60s/early 70s were the last models made by World Radio, who later introduced their 'Courier' Brand.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 1:03 pm   #16
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Dear all,

Car radios are not something I know the first thing about, but until a couple of years ago I worked with a colleague named Roger Smart who I remembered being involved. Annoyingly, he reached the magic '65' and decided to retire from my company (which is not radio/electronics related) which was a loss as I enjoyed working with him. So it was a great prompt for me to email him, wish him happy New Year, and ask what he remembered about Radiomobile etc.

I copy here his reply verbatim, which is as accurate as he can remember it, but as he says, it was a long while ago! You will see it is in Roger's typical tongue in cheek style.

Hope it is of interest!
best wishes
Duncan


Dear Duncan
I worked for Radiomobile part of Smith's Industries at Cricklewood, North London for the two years up to September 1974. I was responsible for the production line which made top of the range 1095 (I think?) models from scratch. (Marketed as 'the radio Rolls Royce fit') .We had four production lines each of which made a different model from scratch, making in total 10000 units a week. Whilst I was there we used a number of Motorola manufactured components such as capacitors, transistors and the like but at that time there was no particular relationship between the two companies. (I guess Motorola still make components today?)

My understanding was that there was a time when Radiomobile made sets for Motorola. Anecdotally, the Motorola sets were 'seconds' from our production lines with a Motorola dial on the front. (Seconds were low gain sets and for example cracked printed circuits repaired with solder ). I believe this was very probably true because during my time we also sold 8 track and cassette players which were bought in from Japan tested, tweaked and fitted with a Rdiomobile badged front.
I'm not sure how or why Smith's got into Car radio, but it was quite likely an accident. They bought up Daintymaid kitchen furniture accidentally in my time when intentionally buying a cabinet maker to make clock cases! My first car radio was a valve Radiomobile radio which was clearly labelled
S Smith and Sons so Radiomobile were part of Smith's fairly early on. ( In my time it was SI or Smiths Industries).
Everything fell apart dramatically for Radiomobile in 74 because of the sudden boom in Japanese cars which came with a radio fitted as standard. We had completed a huge warehouse build early in that year which suddenly filled up with new sets which no one wanted or needed. The factory at Cricklewood was all but closed down although there was a rump left behind making a cheap radio using integrated circuit technology but the business didn't last long maybe 3 or 4 years. I think the cheap sets were branded Courier.
Best wishes to all
RS
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 11:28 pm   #17
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

I've made contact with a few ex-employees of Sydney Bird's on facebook, to see what they made at this fascinating company who I only know from the TV tuners. Here's what people have said about car radio manufacture.

G.B. worked there 1968-74. Remembers making push-button tuning assemblies under contract, and finished car radios for Lucas.

A.D says his mother started in the 50's and they made car radios for Motorola

V.B was there in 57 and says she remembers the Motorola Car Radios

P.W says he was allowed to ride with his Dad delivering to Smith's Radiomobile on the North Circular Road.

Lots of other interesting comments a little off topic but nontheless an insight into a UK company no longer with us; such as the factory tannoy playing the radio for one hour every morning and one hour every afternoon, a reputation for decent pay and staff catering, lots of family members there some of whom spent their entire careers there.

Lord Rockingham's Eleven organist Cherry Wainer paid a visit to look at the organs.

Looking at the dates, it seems they made Motorola radios not much later than the 1950's; by the late 60's they were at the pro end, making assemblies for Marconi Radar and coastal radios to name but two.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 12:30 pm   #18
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley118 View Post
By 1981, the death knell had sounded for UK car radio manufacture when Philips moved their Belgium production to the Far East and shortly afterwards, production at the Goodwood Works was terminated.
Slightly off-topic, but where does the information on moving Tessenderlo production to the Far East come from? I'm sure Philips manufactured car radios in th Far East by then, but Rambouillet remained alive and kicking for local production and was probably even expanded. The source for this information may contain other interesting details.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 12:35 pm   #19
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
I assume that by this time Radiomobile was just a 'badge'.
That might be right but cannot be assumed from the CB offerings, as those were buy-in products even for large brand names such as Philips.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 3:33 pm   #20
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Default Re: British Motorola radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maarten View Post
Slightly off-topic, but where does the information on moving Tessenderlo production to the Far East come from? I'm sure Philips manufactured car radios in th Far East by then, but Rambouillet remained alive and kicking for local production and was probably even expanded. The source for this information may contain other interesting details.
I'm quoting from the official history of Smiths 'A long time in the making' by James Nye, which drew the statement from Smiths Board Minutes and from SI Digest Jan 1982. The actual wording is:

In late 1981, Philips announced the closure of its car radio factory in Belgium, choosing to relocate to the Far East.

Maybe that closure and relocation took a long time to happen at Philips?

For Smiths, the closure of the Radiomobile factory was just an initial action in the strategic exit of the company from motor accessories in general. Their key customer at that time was British Leyland, making the policy self-evident with our benefit of hindsight!

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