Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 128,065 pages of information and 202,478 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of 105-109 Judd Street, London, WC1. Telephone: Euston 1183. Cables: "Eleclampo Kincross, London"
of Atlas Works, Edmonton, and of Enfield.
1924 Company founded (according to DnB) as Electric Lamp Service Company, dealer in electrical and radio goods, by Jules Thorn
1928 Incorporated as a company in March as The Electric Lamp Service Company to take over the business and assets of a company of similar name.
1931 Thorn opened his first shop renting radios
1933 Began making Atlas light bulbs in Edmonton, north London.
1936 Acquired Ferguson Radio Corporation
1936 Company became public and the name changed to Thorn Electrical Industries Ltd; incorporated The Electric Lamp Service Company and Chorlton Metal Co and Lotus Radio Co including acquiring the outstanding interests in those companies. The lamp manufacturing part of the company grew rapidly to become Thorn Lighting, one of the world’s largest producers of lamps, luminaires and lighting components. Capacity for manufacturing cathode ray tubes.
1936 The company later began to diversify. Alfred Deutsch CBE, who was instrumental in the founding of Thorn, used to recall how he bicycled around London selling radio parts from a basket on the back of his bike.
1939 Formation of DER, a small subsidiary to enable Thorn to enter the television business. Post-war this became the television rental arm of Thorn.
1947 Developed fluorescent lamps and fittings; lamp factory moved to Enfield; new plant in South Wales.
1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of "Atlas" Electric Lamps, Incandescent and Fluorescent, "Atlas" Lighting Fittings, "Ferguson" Radio Receivers, "Mary Ann" Electric Domestic Appliances. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. C.1528) 
1948 Technical exchange agreement with Sylvania which was issued some shares.
1948 2400 employees; share issue to finance development and expansion in lighting products. Subsidiaries were Ferguson Radio Corporation, Lamp Presscaps Ltd, Domestic Electric Rentals Ltd, British Electric Domestic Appliances (1938) Ltd, as well as South African interests.
1949 Introduced television sets.
1950 In a move to concentrate electric lamp production, Thorn Electrical Industries acquired 51% of Ekco-Ensign Electric; lamp production at Ekco's Southend factory ceased but their Preston factory was expanded. The sales organisations of the 2 companies continued to be separate.
1951 Acquired Tricity Cookers; the start of a move into a new and booming field of domestic electrical appliances.
1953 Manufacturer of TV sets 
1955 Announced intention to manufacture television tubes on a large scale in conjunction with Sylvania Electrical Products of USA.
1956 Opening of Sylvania-Thorn Colour TV Laboratories
1959 Thorn acquired an interest in Multi-Signals Ltd, a company which established relay systems in six towns
1959 Thorn sold the controlling interest in Tricity Finance, its hire purchase subsidiary, to Lombard Banking.
1961 Had 35 subsidiary and associated companies. 15,000 group employees.
1961 Tucana Ltd was formed as a subsidiary of Thorn to take over retail shops where the owners were retiring or the shops were threatened by bankruptcy or liquidation.
1963 The newly-formed Thorn Electronics, which served various specialised markets including TV studios and metallurgy, had rationalised its activities with production concentrated at the Nash and Thompson factory.
1964 Lighting was an important business for the company but there was need for increased scale to compete internationally, and to handle new technologies such as production of fluorescent tubes, so merged the company's lighting interests with those of AEI - the new venture was called British Lighting Industries in which Thorn had a controlling interest, one of the largest lighting groups in Europe.
1964 Multi-Signals became a wholly owned subsidiary of Thorn.
1965 Thorn took over Glover and Main, gas appliance manufacturers.
1967 Joint Venture with Bendix, Thorn-Bendix, of their specialised electronics interests, including Thorn Electronics, Thorn Special Products, Thorn Electronics Laboratories, Bendix Electronics and M. P. J. Gauge and Tool Co; this included around half of the Thorn's R&D activity.
1967 Acquired Metal Industries after a contentious battle with Aberdare Holdings. This was said to be to ensure supplies of sheet metal, essential to the production of cookers, but was the start of a diversification into engineering. This acquisition included Lancashire Dynamo Electronic Products which was later renamed Thorn Automation. At the same time the bid was announced, AEI bid separately for one part of Metal Industries, Lancashire Dynamo and Crypto.
1967 Acquired AEI's minority interests in British Lighting Industries
1968 Many of the television sets rented through DER were made by Thorn in the summer months when other orders were not available. Tucana had 206 retail shops. Multi-Broadcast had 87 outlets in London, the Home Counties, and the Midlands.
1968 Acquired Kenwood, manufacturer of food mixers
1971 The Thorn group's principal activities were: Radio and Television, Lighting, Domestic Appliances, Engineering, as well as a number of other companies.
1971 Acquired Parkinson Cowan range of gas cookers and meters. Thorn had also invested £1,250,000 in the lighting laboratories at Enfield.
1971 George Kent sold Evershed and Vignoles to Thorn Electrical Industries; the senior members of the board resigned and were replaced by directors of Avo and Taylor Electrical Instruments. Also owned Record Electrical Co.
Formed Thorn-Ericsson Telecommunications
1974 Acquired Clarkson International Tools
1975 Further expansion in consumer appliances on purchase of J. and F. Stores
1976 Acquired Cleveland Twist Drill.
1976 Sir Jules Thorn retired.