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British Industrial History

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W. G. Pye and Co

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Tangent Galvanometer. Exhibit at the Musee EDF Electropolis, Mulhouse.
December 1927. Popular Two.
April 1928.
June 1955. Scalamp.
1959. Argon Chromatograph.

Makers of scientific instruments, radio receivers, components, accessories and gramophones, of Granta Works, Cambridge.

1898 William Thomas Pye and his son, William George Pye, formed the W. G. Pye Instrument Co. in Cambridge; William George Pye was an employee of the Cavendish Laboratory, who worked part time in the business making scientific instruments.

1902 William George Pye left the Cavendish Laboratory (presumably) to work full-time in the business

1909 "NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership which has for some time past been carried on by William George Pye and William Thomas Pye, under the firm of "W. G. PYE, AND CO.," at Granta Works, Mill-lane, Cambridge, in the trade or business of Scientific Instrument Makers, was this day dissolved by mutual consent."[1]

1910 W. G. Pye and Co exhibited an easy-to-use electrometer at The Physical Society's exhibition[2]

1911 Exhibited mechanical testing machines[3]

1914 By the outbreak of World War I, the company employed 40 people manufacturing instruments that were used for teaching and research. The war increased demand for such instruments and the War Office needed experimental thermionic valves.

The manufacture of these components afforded the company the technical knowledge that it needed to develop the first "wireless" (as early radios were called) when the first UK broadcasts were made by the BBC in 1922.

1922 A radio branch was formed by T. A. W. Robinson. The company started a wireless components factory at Church Path, Chesterton and the series of receivers that it made were given positive reviews by Popular Wireless magazine.

1924 Harold Pye, son of the founder, and Edward Appleton, his former tutor at St. John's College, designed a new series of receivers which proved even more saleable.

1928 W. G. Pye offered the radio branch of the business to Charles Orr Stanley who borrowed £60,000 from the bank having demonstrated a portable radio to them[4]. Pye Radio Ltd was formed to acquire the radio business[5]; Stanley went on to establish a chain of small component-manufacturing factories across East Anglia.

1929 Partnership between W. G. Pye, T. A. Robinson and H. J. Pye under the style of W. G. Pye and Co was dissolved[6]

1946 Pye Ltd acquired W. G. Pye and Co, of Granta Works, Cambridge[7]

1968 W. G. Pye and Unicam Instruments were merged to become Pye Unicam[8]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 22 January 1909
  2. The Times Dec 12, 1910
  3. The Times, Dec 20, 1911
  4. The Times, January 23, 1989
  5. The Times, Feb 19, 1929
  6. The Times, Apr 06, 1929
  7. The Times, Apr 02, 1946
  8. The Times, Jul 01, 1968