Astor Radio Corporation

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Astor Mickey, 1946

Astor Radio Corporation is an Australian radio manufacturer which began operating in 1926. Astor made radio receivers in Victoria. The firm was innovative in that it offered radios in varying colours compared to other companies which offered the standard wood stains.

During 1933, Astor produced the first of its “Mickey Mouse” series of radios, and in 1936 introduced its first Bakelite Mickey Mouse radio with a cartoon of the famous rodent on the dial. Early brochures featured a picture of Walt Disney and the mouse giving their "seal of approval". However this was not done with permission from the Walt Disney Company and Astor became involved in a long-running court battle with Disney over the illegal use of the Mickey Mouse name. The result was that Astor was forbidden to use the name "Mickey Mouse" for its radios, but it continued to produce the “Astor Mickey" radio for the next 16 years.[1]

Astor BPJ 5 valve, 1959

Astor bought its competition Eclipse and Essanay. However, it was itself bought by the English electronics company Pye Ltd in the 1960s, which was later taken over by the giant Philips electronics company.


The Astor radio corporation was a major manufacturer of early monochrome television sets in Australia, commencing production in 1956 in anticipation of services in Melbourne and Sydney.

Astor rotary tuner dial plan.png

Some early Astor television sets featured a rotary dial that located the available channels in an adjacent manner, especially for the capital cities who were allocated channels 2-7-9.

Channel 0 was not included, possibly because the tuner mechanism could only accommodate 12 places. As a result, in Melbourne 1964 (and later in Brisbane), service technicians were required to convert the place marker for either channel 10 or 8 to receive Channel 0, and indicates the significant problems that ATV0 had in its commencement. Channel 10 could not be used in Melbourne at the time because there was a regional station (GLV10) that would have experienced interference, Brisbane had a similar issue a year later with a nearby regional station in Toowoomba DDQ10. This was not a problem in Sydney or Adelaide where the channel 10 frequency was used by the 0/10 Network.

The company sponsored an early Australian television series, The Astor Show, which aired in Melbourne during 1958, and also sponsored a Sydney television series, Astor Showcase, from 1957 to 1959.


  1. ^ "Astor Mickey HQ". Retrieved 2012-07-26.