Charles Avnet

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Charles Avnet
Died1979 (aged 90–91)
Known forFounder of Avnet
Spouse(s)Celia Avnet
ChildrenLester Francis Avnet
Norman Avnet
Robert Avnet
Lillian Avnet Marks
FamilyJon Avnet (grandson)

Charles Avnet (1888–1979) was an American businessman who founded electronics parts distributor Avnet.


Avnet was born to a Jewish family in 1888 in Russia.[1][2][3]

In 1921,[4] Avnet began buying surplus ham radio parts and selling them to the public on Radio Row in the lower Manhattan[1] capitalizing on the end of the World War I era ban on the trade of radio parts in 1918.[2] He had $85,000 in sales in his first year.[1] With the advent of commercial radio broadcasting and factory-made radios (which did not require parts), he adjusted his distribution pipeline and began selling parts to manufacturers and dealers.[2] In 1929, he diversified by branching out into car antenna kits and automobile assembly kits. During the Great Depression, he shifted the focus from retailing to wholesaling.[2] During World War II, sales to the private sector were banned, so Avnet shifted to government sales[4] with an emphasis on connectors.[2] After the war, the market was flooded with war surplus components and Avnet flourished incorporating as Avnet Electronics Supply Co Inc in 1955 reaching $1 million in sales.[4] In 1959, the company went public as Avnet Electronics Corporation.[4]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Celia Avnet.[3] They had four children: Lester Francis Avnet, Dr. Norman Avnet, Robert Avnet, and Lillian Marks.[5][6] He died in 1979; services were held at Congregation Beth Sholom in Long Beach.[3] His grandson (son of Lester) is director, writer and producer Jon Avnet.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Hall, Thomas; Wally, Bock (May 12, 2010). Ruthless Focus. ISBN 9781608446384.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Charles Avnet and the Golden Age of Radio" (PDF). Avnet. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  3. ^ a b c New York Times: "AVNET‐Charles‐Beloved husband of Celia. Devoted father of Lillian Marks, Dr. Norman Avnet and the late Lester and Robert Avnet" December 26, 1979
  4. ^ a b c d Bodine, Paul (February 2, 2004). Make It New: Essays in the History of American Business. pp. 34–36. ISBN 9780595309214.
  5. ^ New York Times: "AVNET—Robert" July 31, 1964
  6. ^ Berkshire Eagle: "NORMAN L. AVNET" January 22, 2017
  7. ^ New York Times: "Joan Avnet, Dealer, Collector and Donor Of Art, Is Dead at 80" By RITA REIF January 15, 1994