MULLARD POSTWAR

Posted by STEVE M on

Well, the war was over and 1946 dawned. America had cut off Lend-Lease money to the UK and materials for home and export production were in short supply. There existed a massive surfeit of military surplus electronics which was growing at an alarming rate as war supplies were withdrawn from various theatres of operation. At this time, the great military surplus gravy train was about to commence where not only radio equipment and componentry were available for knockdown prices but military vehicles and even aircraft – and ex RAF pilots to fly them – typically those that did not possess a decent golf handicap that enabled them to get a job with BOAC and an IWC Mk X or Mk XI watch into the bargain!!!

Of great concern to Mullard was not only the fact that valve demand had dropped to 50% of it’s wartime peak but also that the cash strapped Government hit on the plan to dispose of their massive war stocks of valves to the ‘radio trade’ at a bargain price of £5000 per million devices. In all, this disposal lasted for ten years after the end of WW2 and in excess of 32 million devices were trickled back for domestic and industrial use in this way.

To put this into perspective, this mind boggling number equates to the entire sales of valves made by Mullard during any single year throughout the 1950s!!!! Add this to the worry that an immediate post war television boom that never came – at least until 1952 (wonder what happened that year) and you can see why various belts had to be tightened at Mullard.

SS Eriks, General manager of Mullard realised that innovation and product introduction were the key to a successful and stable future, to this end, he arranged for the Mullard Research Laboratories to be built in 1946 at Cross Oaks Lane in Salfords, Surrey and thence for the laboratory to be generously funded.

1947 also brought some corporate and boardroom shennanigens as Philips Gloilampen Fabrieken (UK) was reorganised into Philips Electrical Industries UK. This had the knock on effect of The Mullard Radio Valve Co. Ltd being renamed Mullard Limited and for the Mullard headquarters to be situated within the Philips Electrical Industries UK headquarters at Century House, Shaftesbury Avenue, London -can you pick out SS's office in the photo below?

This was followed in 1948 by the renaming of the Mullard Wireless Service subsidiary to Mullard Electronic Products to ensure placement of the Mullard name in areas other than traditional ‘wireless’ manufacturing. Also in 1948, as a reward for his sterling war effort and his vision of the future, a grateful nation awarded SS Eriks his OBE.

Thus reorganised, the Mullard machine marched onwards to face the challenges of the fabulous 1950s.


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