Jules Thorn

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Sir Jules Thorn (7 February 1899 – 12 December 1980) was the founder of Thorn Electrical Industries, one of the United Kingdom's largest electrical businesses.

Career[edit]

Born in Vienna to Jewish parents Leibisch Thorn and Teme Thorn (née Finkelstein), Julius[1] (later known as Jules) Thorn was conscripted into the Austrian Army during World War I.[2] After the War he studied at the Handelshochschule (Business School) in Vienna.[2]

In 1923 Thorn moved to the United Kingdom as representative for Olso, an Austrian manufacturer of gas mantles.[2][3] In 1926 Olso went bankrupt and Thorn chose to set up business on his own trading as the Electric Lamp Service Company.[2] In 1936 he diversified into manufacturing and expanded the company into one of the largest electrical businesses in the country, Thorn Electrical Industries.[2] He was knighted in 1964.[4]

In 1970 Thorn retired from full-time involvement in the business to devote himself to his racehorses and his collection of Impressionist paintings. He was a successful racehorse owner and won the 2,000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket with High Top in 1972.[5] Only in 1976 did he retire as Chairman of the business.[2] Sir Jules was a noted philanthropist supporting many medical, educational, artistic and humanitarian charities and endeavours. A large number of legal and medical scholarships as well as museums carry his name.

Thorn died in Westminster on 12 December 1980,[2] not long after seeing his company's successful takeover of its long-time rival EMI. His work and vision is continued through the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, chaired until recently by his daughter Ann Rylands.[6]

Family[edit]

In 1928 he married Dorothy Olive Tanner and together they went on to have one son and one daughter.[2] He married a second time, to Jean Norfolk, in 1971.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vienna Birth Records 1899". Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jules Thorn at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ "His Master's Voice" (in German), in Kultur&Technik magazine, April 1998, accessed 2014-04-18
  4. ^ "No. 43250". The London Gazette. 18 February 1964. p. 1563. 
  5. ^ Racing Better
  6. ^ Jules Thorn Charitable Trust