Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 136,096 pages of information and 218,915 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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In 1921, Charles Avnet, a 33 year old Russian immigrant, began buying surplus radio parts and selling them to the public on the Radio Rows of United States port cities. In the mid 1920's, when factory-made radios began to replace radio parts, Avnet adjusted his distribution pipeline and began selling parts to manufacturers and dealers. During the Great Depression, Avnet shifted the focus from retailing to wholesalers.

In the mid 1920's to the early 1930s, Avnet diversified by branching out into car radio kits and automobile assembly kits. In World War II Avnet made antennas for the U.S. armed forces. His son, Lester Avnet, joined the business at this time.

Avnet was incorporated in 1955.

In 1956 a second connector assembly plant was opened in 1956 near Los Angeles for the aircraft industry.

In 1959 the company went public on the American Stock Exchange.

In the mid 60's Avnet briefly owned several record labels including Liberty Records and Blue Note.

Over the next ten years Avnet expanded with several acquisitions in the new fields of semiconductors, relays, and potentiometers. Also value added distributor of IT products. Largest customer/partner of IBM.

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