Mullard was a British manufacturer of electronic components and domestic appliances.
1920 The Mullard Radio Valve Co Ltd. of Southfields, London, was founded by Captain Stanley R. Mullard, who had previously designed valves for the Admiralty before becoming managing director of the Z Electric Lamp Co.
The company soon moved to Hammersmith, London and then in 1923 to Balham, London.
c.1923 Mullard Wireless Service Co established to market the valves made by the Mullard Radio Valve Co.
1924 Needing further finance to support development, Mullard sold half its shares to N. V. Philips of the Netherlands. This partnership with Philips also helped to meet the technical demands of the newly formed British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) or BBC. The valves produced in this period were named with the prefix PM, for Philips-Mullard, beginning with the PM3 and PM4 in 1926.
1925 Private company.
1927 Mullard finally sold all its shares to Philips in 1927.
1928 the company introduced the first pentode valve to the British market.
1929 Mullard opened a new manufacturing plant at Mitcham, Surrey in 1929.
1936 Started production of cathode ray tubes for the new BBC television service.
1936 A second building was added at Mitcham. Both buildings had a very distinctive flat roof construction and were very similar to those at Philips' headquarters in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Co-sited with the Mullard buildings was the manufacturing complex for Philips Radios. Mitcham was also home to the Mullard Application Laboratory.
1938 Mullard opened a new plant in Blackburn, Lancashire, in conjunction with the local authority as a way of addressing local unemployment; made radio components and wire.
1938 Acquired the thermionic valve business of E. K. Cole
Postwar: The Blackburn factory was supplying valves to most of the domestic equipment manufacturers.
1947 Reorganisation by N.V. Philips of its subsidiaries; Philips Lamps Ltd and Mullard became wholly-owned subsidiaries of a new company Philips Electrical Ltd.
1948 22nd April. The subsidiary Mullard Wireless Service Co was renamed Mullard Electronic Products to reflect the company's expansion of activities beyond that of purely "wireless" and into industrial, scientific and communications activities.
By 1949 Mullard had produced a number of television sets, such as the MTS-521 and MTS-684.
In 1951 Mullard was producing the LSD series of photographic flash tubes.
1951 Name changed.
The first transistors produced by Mullard were the OC50 and OC51 point-contact types, which were not widely used.
In 1953 Mullard moved to junction transistors, beginning with the plastic-cased OC10 series. These were followed by the glass-encapsulated OC70 series, which were produced in large numbers and copied by other companies, such as Valvo (another Philips subsidiary), Intermetall and Siemens A.G. in Germany, and Amperex in the USA.
1957 Philips-Mullard helped to set up the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO) at the University of Cambridge.
1960 Mullard had 75% (by volume) of the British market for semiconductors (50% by value). GEC and Texas Instruments (Bedford) had about 15% (by value) each with AEI on 10%; the remainder was shared amongst more than 10 other companies.
1961 Manufacturers of X-Ray, electron and cathode-ray tubes, semi-conductors, magnetic materials electronic components and equipment, and fine wire. 17,500 employees.
Mullard had factories in Southport and Simonstone, Burnley both in Lancashire. There was also a sister factory in Durham. Other factories included those at Fleetwood and Lytham St. Annes and a feeder factory at Haydock.
1964 the company produced a prototype electronic desktop calculator as a technology demonstrator for its transistors and cold cathode indicator tubes.
1966 the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) was opened near Dorking, Surrey as part of University College London.
1967 The Royal Society Mullard Award for young scientists and engineers was set up.
1968 Showed a Varactor Diode
1968 Major expansion at the plant at Simonstone which was making a million colour television tubes. Production of passive components was centralised at Blackburn.
1972 Lytham St. Annes factory closed.
1974 Cut-back in production at TV components factory at Southampton; short time working at Simonstone and Dunfermline
1975 Closure of Blackpool black and white TV tube
1977 Mullard Research Laboratories in Redhill, Surrey became Philips Research Laboratories.
1979 Fleetwood factory closed.
1981 The feeder factory at Haydock was closed.
Early 1980s, Mullard manufactured some of the earliest teletext decoding modules made in the UK.
1982 At Blackburn, started making the video discs for Philips' Laser Disc system
Mullard owned semiconductor factories in Southampton and Stockport. Both sites are now owned by NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors.) The one in Hazel Grove, Stockport specializes in power semiconductor devices.
1988 Philips continued to use the brand name "Mullard" in the UK until 1988.
1990 Thorn EMI acquired MEL (Mullard Electronics). The MEL communications business was sold to Thomson-CSF.
2004 Burnley factory closed.
As of 2007, the "Mullard" brand has been revived by Sovtek, producing a variant of the EL34.
Z Electric Lamp Co continued business into the 1970s operating from premises in Thornton Heath near Croydon, Surrey manufacturing lamps of specialised design.
Sources of Information
- The Times, Jul 08, 1929
- The Times, Mar 05, 1968
- The Times, 24 December 1960
- The Times (London, England), Tuesday, May 01, 1962
- The Times, Nov 25, 1966
- The Times, Oct 18, 1974
- The Times, May 04, 1982