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Emerson Radio Corp. was incorporated in 1915 as Emerson Phonograph Co., based in New York City, by an early recording engineer and executive, Victor Hugo Emerson, who was at one time employed by Columbia Records. The first factories were opened in Chicago and Boston, in 1920. In December of that year, the company fell victim to the unanticipated sales slump for phonograph music that accompanied the post-World War I recession and the growth of commercial radio. It went from the self-claimed third largest record manufacturer into receivership.
In 1922 Emerson Phonograph Co. passed into the hands of Benjamin Abrams and Rudolph Kanarak. Abrams, a phonograph and record salesman, along with his two brothers, ran the company and renamed it Emerson Radio & Phonograph Corp in 1924, after entering the radio business. The company's record interests were sold. Although Emerson introduced the first radio-phonograph combination sold in the United States, the company remained in obscurity until 1932, when, during the Great Depression, it introduced the "peewee" radio (below).

Emerson Radio & Phonograph converted to military production for World War II in 1942, when it held one-sixth of the U.S. radio market. In 1943, it became a public corporation. In 1947, among its first post-war products, Emerson offered a television set with a 10-inch tube. Although its ending retail price was nearly equal to a month's salary for the average working American, it put Emerson at the lower end of the market. However, between fiscal 1948 and 1950, the high demand for television allowed Emerson to more than double its sales.
In 1953 Emerson Radio and Phonograph purchased Quiet Heet Corp., which entered the company into air conditioning. Although radio represented only 15 percent of Emerson's revenue by 1954, the company credited itself as creating the firsts of the clock radio, self-powered radio, and transistorized pocket radio; production of tape recorders began in 1955.
Emerson Radio and Phonograph purchased the consumer products division of DuMont Laboratories in 1958. With this acquisition, a higher-priced line of television sets, phonographs and high-fidelity and stereo instruments, along with the DuMont trademark was added to Emerson's products. Unfortunately, by this time, almost every U.S. household that wanted a TV set already had one, and many customers who were in need of another set were waiting for colour television instead of buying a replacement.  
In 1965 the company acquired the Pilot Radio Corp. Later in 1965 Emerson Radio and Phonograph was purchased by National Union Electric Corp. This company continued to produce radios, television sets and phonographs distributed under the Emerson and Dumont names and hi-fi  equipment under the Pilot name.
In late 1972 National Union Electric announced that Emerson was discontinuing distribution of television sets and other home entertainment products. In 1973 Emerson sold its license for marketing products under the Emerson name to Major Electronics Corp. In 1976 the company moved its headquarters to Secaucus, New Jersey, and changed its name to Emerson Radio Corp. in 1977.

In 1978,  phonographs, radios, tape recorders and players, compact stereos, digital clock radios, and other low to medium-priced electronic equipment was being imported, assembled, and marketed, primarily under the Emerson name. Emerson Radio dropped its last U.S.-made product, the phonograph line, in 1980 because it became unprofitable due to rising labour costs.

In 1983 the company reintroduced  television sets. Emerson purchased sets from Goldstar Electric Co. (AKA LG Electronics) but sold them at a higher price.
In 1984, Emerson signed a 10-year contract with Orion Electric to produce a line of VCRs to its existing products.
In 1985 a compact disc player and microwave oven were introduced.  Later that year, Emerson Radio moved its headquarters to North Bergen, New Jersey, and acquired H. H. Scott, Inc., a company that manufactured high-fidelity audio and visual equipment. Products were sold under the Scott name until 1991, the year the line was discontinued.
In 1986 Emerson began importing and marketing compact refrigerators and Hi-Fi stereo VHS VCRs. Camcorders, telephones, and answering machines were added to its product line in 1988. In 1990 pcs and fax machines were added for a major roll-out to more than 500 Wal-Mart stores, but it ended up being a catastrophe for the company—a $150 million loss.
Fidenas Investment Ltd., a Swiss firm based in the Bahamas, began purchasing shares of Emerson Radio stock in 1989. Unfortunately, Emerson's financial situation worsened. When the company filed for bankruptcy in October 1993, Emerson had been in default on $223 million in debt for the previous two years.
In 1994, the company emerged from bankruptcy pursuant to a plan of reorganization. In early 1995, in an effort to cut costs, Emerson Radio licensed the manufacture of certain video products under the Emerson and G Clef trademarks for a three-year period to Otake Trading Co. Ltd. The company also licensed the sale of these products in the United States and Canada for the same period to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  Also in 1995, Emerson Radio entered the home theater and car audio fields and the home and personal security market with a carbon monoxide detector. The company planned to eventually lend its name to burglar alarms, motion detectors, personal alarms, smoke detectors, and safety lights, however, the company left this field in 1997. Additionally, Emerson announced it would license the Emerson name to more than 250 audio and video accessories made by Jasco Products Co.
Nearly 84 percent of its merchandise in 1999 was imported, primarily from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand. Tonic Electronics, Daewoo, and Imarflex  were its main suppliers. The company depended heavily on Wal-Mart Stores,, and Target Stores, Inc.
In 2001, Emerson exited the video electronics business (TVs, DVD players, VCRs) and handed 100% of the operations to Funai. Funai currently makes and markets Emerson consumer video products for Wal-Mart, Sanlian licenced the Emerson brand for additional product categories it finds suitable for China-wide distribution and cooperates with Emerson in the design, development and sourcing for such.
Text from article in Wikipedia

This page was last edited on 03.12.2016