Roberts Radio

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Roberts Radio Ltd
Type Subsidiary of Glen Dimplex
Industry Audio & Video equipment
Founded 1932
Headquarters Mexborough, South Yorkshire
Products Digital, pocket, world, portable and clock radios. Radio cassette players. Combined radio / CD players.
Revenue N/A
Employees N/A
Website RobertsRadio.co.uk
A Roberts CD/radio alarm clock

Roberts is a consumer electronics limited company now based in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, England. It has been producing radios for over 80 years. Initially the company only traded in the United Kingdom, but now exports worldwide. The company was initially based in central London, near Oxford Circus and then at Rathbone Place, but moved to East Molesey in 1941. In 1962, the company had a purpose-built factory constructed in West Molesey, and still retains premises in the area. The company has been granted three Royal warrants in its own right, and one via the purchase of Dynatron Radio Ltd,[n 1] in 1981.[1]

The company was founded in 1932 by Harry Roberts and Leslie Bidmead[2]
They financed the down payment on a small factory by selling Bidmead's motorbike.[3]

The first models featured a distinctive Aladdin's lamp fretwork loudspeaker grille, but by the late 1930s the company had settled on an upright box shape set covered in coloured leathercloth with fabric loudspeaker grille - a style that they would keep to and evolve slowly with each progressive model.

The company was the first UK manufacturer to market a radio containing an Integrated Circuit. The RIC1 model of 1968 used the TAD100 I.C. from Mullard. This model's status was further enhanced by releasing limited numbers in special finish leather cloths through dealers like Harrods of London.

The Dynatron brand name replaced "Roberts Video" for production of modern and retro styled televisions, though the electronics within both were from Philips TV chassis of the day.

Aside from the television sets above, the company stayed focused on radio sets. In the mid-1950s they made a brief venture into the portable record player market with the Mayflower model, but quickly withdrew. The next minor departures were models that also featured cassette recorders, starting with 1981's RSR series manufactured by Hitachi.[1]

Roberts produced their first DAB digital radio in 1999.[2]

The company was struggling in the 1980s when one of its transistor radios appeared in a 1989 Martini ad, reviving interest in the product. Two limited edition product runs sold out and led to the popular reissue of the original design as the Revival model, inspired by a handbag belonging to Harry Roberts' wife Elsie.[3]

In the 2000s Roberts began to sell BBC World Service branded wide band radio sets (also known as World Radio Receiver sets).

While the company states that it is "family run", it is owned by a large Irish consumer electronics group, Glen Dimplex. All its plastic-cased equipment is designed and manufactured by Sangean in the far-east.[4]

For many years the company's products were the only radios permitted in UK prisons (mainly because their cases could be easily opened to check for contraband).[citation needed] The Rambler of 1975 MW/LW-only models were designed for this market.

Some Sangean made radios are badged as Roberts for sale in the UK market.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bought from Philips, previously owned by Pye and EKCO

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Daily Telegraph, The Roberts Radio is 80, By Emma Barnett, 19 August 2011
  2. ^ a b Fielding, James; Benson, Richard (October 2007). Made in Britain. Summersdale Publishers. pp. 211–213. ISBN 9781840246056. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Watson-Smyth, Kate (1 March 2013). "Sense of majesty--Design: The Roberts radio". ft.com. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Forward with vision". Roberts Radio. 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 

External links[edit]