Allied Electronics

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Allied Electronics
Formerly called
Allied Radio
Industry electronic components
Fate Sold to Electrocomponents in 1999
Founded 1928
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Owner Electrocomponents

Allied Radio was founded in 1928 as an American radio manufacturer and retailer. It sold radio sets, tubes, electronic components, amateur radio equipment, citizen's band (CB) radios, miscellaneous communications equipment, electronic kits, consumer audio systems, and electronics hobbyist supplies through retail stores and by mail-order. The chain was sold to RadioShack parent Tandy Corporation in 1970 and many of the retail storefronts closed; its last retail stores were sold to now-defunct Schaak Electronics of Minneapolis in 1973.

Allied Electronics, its industrial electronic component and equipment business, remains in operation and has changed hands multiple times since Tandy sold the company in 1981. Since 1999, Allied is a subsidiary of British firm Electrocomponents.


Beginning in 1928 as a mail-order and parts distribution arm of Columbia Radio Corporation,[1] it was welcomed by the amateur electronic hobbyist located in areas where such components were not available. The company was started by Simon "Sy" Wexler. He was father to Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and grandfather to Jeffrey Simon Wexler, Oscar-nominated sound engineer. As the company grew, it would slowly add retail stores to meet the demand for both parts and consumer electronics to both eager hobbyist and the radio and Hi-Fi consumer. In 1962 the first industrial catalog was released for its commercial supplier division under the name of Allied Electronics.

Through the 1960s, both divisions were headquartered in Chicago. As it approached the 1970s, Allied found the consumer electronics business was changing with increased competition from such companies as Sony, Panasonic, and JVC. For a time in the late 1960s, Allied sold Pioneer high-fidelity equipment re-branded with its name. This ended with the sale to Radio Shack, who brought in their own line of components.

Allied Radio changed ownership in 1970 when Radio Shack's parent company (Tandy Corporation) bought both Allied Radio and Allied Electronics. The retail division was merged with Tandy's retail unit to become Allied Radio Shack, with the main office of both divisions moving to Fort Worth, Texas. But as a result of the merger, many major shopping centers would have two Allied Radio Shack stores competing for the same dollars. As a result, the former Allied Radio storefronts would fade away, with the former Radio Shack stores taking on both product lines (and the expense of the extra inventory.) This was in some ways a more difficult task as the original Radio Shack storefronts were typically smaller than the Allied Radio stores.

By 1973, due directly to federal court action, Tandy was ordered to divest itself of Allied Radio, but by that time, with the purging of duplicate stock and closing of low volume stores, there was very little left to sell off, and the Tandy stores would once again bear the Radio Shack name. Twenty-seven stores in the Midwest were sold to Schaak Electronics of Minneapolis.

Since Tandy did not have a commercial-industrial supply division, Allied Electronics continued as a "Division of Tandy Corporation" that served the manufacturing sector until the mid-1980s, when it began to change owners.

Allied's main competitors were Radio Shack, Lafayette Radio, Olson Electronics, Newark Electronics, Burstein-Applebee Co, and local independent dealers (such as WinterRadio). Their primary house brands included "Allied" and "Knight-Kit".

Allied Radio enthusiasts have collected both equipment and catalogs from the heyday of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, often to be found displayed on numerous personal web pages and occasionally for sale on auction sites such as eBay. Allied Radio catalogs were also unique as they would identify their continued years in business on the cover, beginning with the 1957 catalog (36th year). The 1971 catalog cover of the new combined Allied Radio Shack heralded their 50th anniversary. The years in business were also mentioned on the 1972 cover. Though the current Allied web site states that Allied began in 1928, all the catalogs indicate the year to be 1921, which is the same year that Radio Shack began in Boston, Massachusetts.

Allied Electronics[edit]

The current incarnation of Allied Electronics has a web site and catalog that bear little resemblance to its original technology or target market. Their primary business focus today is the industrial components and equipment market, with no retail or mail-order consumer products. Although their product line targets industrial components and equipment, they have an extensive supply of parts, tools, and other items that any experimenter might be interested in. They welcome orders of any size from individuals, either from their online ordering facility, or from their 2,192-page catalog which is both online and available in print for the asking. Company headquarters are located in Fort Worth, Texas.

Current ownership[edit]

In 1999 the company was acquired by Electrocomponents, a British-based distributor of electronics and maintenance products.[2]


External links[edit]