Blog posts tagged with 'Philips'


There has been much discussion over the merits and dangers in running up valves using precious valve testers rather than the safer option of using a powered rig for this purpose.   I have delved into the Mullard document archive today and came up with the photo below which shows Willeke Fokkink in 1955 at Philips Herleen attending to one of the giant valve ageing racks - simply super stuff indeed.





Today's stroll through the Mullard company's document archive threw up this rather fetching photograph which was attached to a memo from Philips BV in 1954, advising Mullard Blackburn of how operators were trained about valve componentry and assembly at Philips Heerlen.  They advocated the use of  a LARGE training aid because apparently, girls tend to be impressed by large things and the training association sticks..   

Who said it's not the size that matters but how you use it?


We had an interesting case in the workshop over the weekend, a Philips Monoknob from 1936 with a squeaky Bowdon cable control.  Now these as some of you will be aware are tricky.  We've gone hi-tech here at Mullard Magic none of this 3 in 1 stuff, instead, I reached for my handy dry slide spray et voila, squeak sorted.   You too can get similar results by using the same wonder product I do so without further ado, here are the details of what you need to ask for from your friendly supplier: - 



FUKKOL PTFE DRI-SLIDE SPRAY & MOULD RELEASE AGENT is designed to give fast, efficient and clean release with faithful reproduction of the mould profile however complex the mould or minute the detail. Suitable for use on all plastic and rubber mould tools including injection, compression and blow mouldings.


Penetrates and spreads to all parts of the most intricate moulds to give full, clean release whilst the dry film will not affect profiles or interfere with precision fits. Applied film has excellent adhesion, is non-staining, will not transfer to product and can be safely used without fear of blemish or any adverse effect on subsequent finishing operations.



Well, the war was over and 1946 dawned. America had cut off Lend-Lease money to the UK and materials for home and export production were in short supply. There existed a massive surfeit of military surplus electronics which was growing at an alarming rate as war supplies were withdrawn from various theatres of operation. At this time, the great military surplus gravy train was about to commence where not only radio equipment and componentry were available for knockdown prices but military vehicles and even aircraft – and ex RAF pilots to fly them – typically those that did not possess a decent golf handicap that enabled them to get a job with BOAC and an IWC Mk X or Mk XI watch into the bargain!!!

Of great concern to Mullard was not only the fact that valve demand had dropped to 50% of it’s wartime peak but also that the cash strapped Government hit on the plan to dispose of their massive war stocks of valves to the ‘radio trade’ at a bargain price of £5000 per million devices. In all, this disposal lasted for ten years after the end of WW2 and in excess of 32 million devices were trickled back for domestic and industrial use in this way.

To put this into perspective, this mind boggling number equates to the entire sales of valves made by Mullard during any single year throughout the 1950s!!!! Add this to the worry that an immediate post war television boom that never came – at least until 1952 (wonder what happened that year) and you can see why various belts had to be tightened at Mullard. SS Eriks, General manager of Mullard realised that innovation and product introduction were the key to a successful and stable future, to this end, he arranged for the Mullard Research Laboratories to be built in 1946 at Cross Oaks Lane in Salfords, Surrey and thence for the laboratory to be generously funded.

1947 also brought some corporate and boardroom shennanigens as Philips Gloilampen Fabrieken (UK) was reorganised into Philips Electrical Industries UK. This had the knock on effect of The Mullard Radio Valve Co. Ltd being renamed Mullard Limited and for the Mullard headquarters to be situated within the Philips Electrical Industries UK headquarters at Century House, Shaftesbury Avenue, London -can you pick out SS's office in the photo below?

This was followed in 1948 by the renaming of the Mullard Wireless Service subsidiary to Mullard Electronic Products to ensure placement of the Mullard name in areas other than traditional ‘wireless’ manufacturing. Also in 1948, as a reward for his sterling war effort and his vision of the future, a grateful nation awarded SS Eriks his OBE.

Thus reorganised, the Mullard machine marched onwards to face the challenges of the fabulous 1950s.


Well, using the recently developed Philips Azide technology for coating and preparing cathodes with barium oxide, the age of the dull emitter had dawned. Following technology transfer from Eindhoven to the Balham works, the production of the PM series valves commenced ( – PM for Philips – Mullard – geddit????.......) with the PM 3 and PM4 in 1925.

Original valve box images  by kind courtesy of Alan Wyatt of The National Valve Museum = see more at

 These early PM valves were very distinctive in having four brass pins, each with a single slot cut into them, set into a black ebonite base and having the electrode lead outs wire wrapped and soldered to the pin tops just proud of the ebonite. They were also prone to poor connections and transit damage, so much so that the valves were shipped ‘pins up’ in a box that had a circular peek hole in the lid. The idea was that the valve could be tested at the retailer without unpacking and prior to sale thus allowing the retailer to conduct Mullard quality control on prevent their product’s reliability being sullied by disgruntled consumers finding they had been sold unserviceable new valves!