Astor Radio Corporation

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Astor Mickey, 1946

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

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, that was not done with permission from the Walt Disney Company and Astor became involved in a long-running court battle with Disney over the 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 competitors, Eclipse and Essanay. However, it was itself bought by the English electronics company Pye Ltd in the 1960s, and Pye was later taken over by the giant Philips electronics company.

Television[edit]

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 adjacent to each other, rather than in numerical order, especially for the capital cities which were allocated channels 2, 7 and 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, which is evidence of the significant problems that ATV0 had at its commencement. Channel 10 could not be used in Melbourne at the time because that would have resulted in interference with the regional station (GLV10). Brisbane had a similar problem a year later with a nearby regional station in Toowoomba DDQ10. That 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.

References[edit]

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