Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company first began making
non-industrial receivers for the amateur market after World War
I at the Marconi Scientific Company Co. in London. In 1922 a 'Marconiphone'
department was formed in Chelmsford and became a subsidiary
company of Marconi in the following year. In August 1925
Marconiphone took over one of Marconi's subsidiary companies.
The Sterling Telephone and Electric Company took over their
headquarters in London, and the majority of the receivers were
thereafter made at Sterling's old factory at Dagenham. By
1928 the Marconiphone Company was losing money and Marconi's
Wireless Telegraph Company were looking to dispose of the
business. In December 1928, British Thomson-Houston (BTH) had an
option to purchase the Company for a million pounds,
when this option expired in February the following year
HMV stepped in.
Victor, who owned HMV had been taken over by this time by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) who saw the Marconiphone
Company as an opportunity to improve HMV's position in the radio
and recording business. The deal was agreed in March 1929 and
HMV acquired not only the business but also the Marconi name and
Marconi's interest in the Marconi-Osram Valve Company that they
owned jointly with GEC.
In 1931, HMV and Columbia Gramophone Company merged to form
Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI) who rapidly became a
leading player in the radio industry. The Marconiphone receivers
were distributed through wholesalers and by the late 1930s the
only thing differing the Marconiphone and the HMV receivers was
the cabinet design. In 1957, EMI stopped making domestic
receivers and the HMV and Marconiphone brands were manufactured
by Ferguson, their distribution and sales taken-over by the
newly formed British Radio Corporation, a subsidiary of Thorn.
By 1979 when Thorn acquired EMI the Marconiphone name had been
dropped. Subsequently the Marconiphone trademark has reverted to