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HeadquartersBudapest, Hungary
Key people
Jörg Bauer
RevenueApproximately 300 million (Fiscal Year 2017)
Number of employees
Approximately 4,000 (end of February 2018)

Tungsram is a manufacturing company located in Hungary and known for their light bulbs and electronics. Established in Újpest (today part of Budapest, Hungary) in 1896, it initially produced telephones, wires and switchboards. The name "Tungsram" is a portmanteau of "tungsten" /ˈtʌŋstən/ and "wolfram" /ˈwʊlfrəm/ (the two common names of the metal used for making light bulb filaments). Before becoming nationalized by the Communist government in 1945, the company was the world's third largest manufacturer of light bulbs and radiotubes, after the American General Electric and RCA companies.


On 13 December 1904, Hungarian Sándor Just and Croatian Franjo Hanaman were granted Hungarian patent no. 34541 for the world's first tungsten filament bulb that lasted longer and produced brighter light than a carbon filament. The co-inventors licensed their patent to the company, which came to be named Tungsram after the eponymous tungsten incandescent bulbs, which are still called Tungsram bulbs in many European countries.[citation needed] In 1934, Tungsram incorporated a patent by Imre Bródy for bulbs filled with krypton gas, providing for longer bulb lifetime. During World War I mass production of radio tubes began and became the most profitable division of the company.[1] Hungarian physicist Zoltán Bay together with György Szigeti pre-empted led lighting in Hungary in 1939 by patented a lighting device based on SiC, with an option on boron carbide, that emitted white, yellowish white, or greenish white depending on impurities present.[2]

British Tungsram Radio Works was a subsidiary of Hungarian Tungsram in pre-war days.

In 1990, General Electric acquired a majority stake in Tungsram and over six years invested $600 million in the venture, thoroughly restructuring every aspect of its operations. To date, this has been the largest manufacturing investment by a U.S. firm in Central and Eastern Europe.[3] Tungsram is today a subsidiary of General Electric and the name is merely retained as a brand.

As of February 2018, the CEO of GE Hungary, Jörg Bauer agreed to buy GEʼs lighting business in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, as well as its global automotive lighting business. The business continues to operate again under the name Tungsram Group.[4]

Since February 2020, the business partners of the company have been able to use the recently opened Tungsram Lounge at the Ferenc Liszt International Airport with conference rooms.[5]

Famous engineers and inventors[edit]

Zoltán Bay
Imre Bródy
Ernő Winter
György Szigeti
Tivadar Millner
Egon Orowan
(1902 – 1989)
Michael Polanyi
(1891 – 1976)
Dennis Gabor
(1900 – 1979)
Pál Selényi
(1884 - 1954)
Franjo Hanaman
Sándor Just
Zoltán Bay (1900-1992) Hungarian physicist.jpg Bródy Imre.jpg Millner Tivadar-1930s.jpg Michael Polanyi.png Dennis Gabor 1971b.jpg Selényi Pál 001.jpg Hanaman Ferenc.jpg Dr. Just Sándor egyik utolsó képe.jpg


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Károly Jeney; Ferenc Gáspár; English translator:Erwin Dunay (1990). The History of Tungsram 1896-1945 (PDF). Tungsram Rt. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-939197-29-4. {{cite book}}: |author3= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ https://www.iitk.ac.in/solarlighting/files/brief_history_of_LEDs.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ http://www.worldbank.org/html/prddr/trans/janfeb97/art9.htm[bare URL]
  4. ^ Company of former GE Hungary head to buy GE Lighting EMEA - Budapest Business Journal - February 15, 2018
  5. ^ "Tungsram Lounge opens at Budapest Airport". Budapest Business Journal. Retrieved 2020-05-06.