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Posted by STEVE M on

The Ken-Rad Corporation, Incorporated, A Division Of Ken-Rad Tube & Lamp Corporation, Owensboro, Kentucky owes it's inception to the Kentucky Electrical Lamp Company which began operations at 817 Lewis Street during February 1899.

The company was sold to Roy Burlew in 1918 who also founded the Kentucky Radio Corporation with just 6 employees later shortened to Ken-Rad. Burlew grew the company significantly as the lamp plant continued to be profitable with Burlew expanded the product range to include the manufacturing of valves for radios in 1922 and by 1930, the company had expanded to open plants in Bowling Green, Tell City & Huntingburg, Indiana.

In 1935, Ken-Rad supplied the light bulbs for the first major league basketball game to be played at night  on May 24, 1935, between the Cincinnati Reds against the Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati's Crossley Park Field.

In 1943, Burlew sold the lamp division which he acquired in 1918 for $55,000 to Westinghouse Electric  in exchange of 35,000 shares of that company's stock valued at $1,600,000 - a tidy profit indeed!  

In 1945 Burlew sold the remainder of the company- the tube division,  by now employing 5328 staff - to General Electric and they became GE's primary tube making facility.  GE let the Ken-Rad name run until the late 1940s but absorbed the production under the GE brand.   Some GE branded valves carry the RETMA code for the Ken-Rad plant of 188-5 but most carried the house standard 188-4 & 188-6 codes.


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