Trade Talk: TV manufacturing In Bishop Auckland
Historically Rediffusion were the last manufacturers in my home town of Bishop Auckland see here
Well now Ferguson make a return under the guise of Cello, the site is only a couple of miles from where I live. see here
Just shows you, even being local I had no idea TV manufacturing had returned to Bishop.
Interesting video. These sets are only assembled in the uk with kits from the far east. Rediffusion made almost everything themselves. Sad sign of the times, Malc.
Are the kits designed in the UK but supplied by the Far East or are they just standard PCB’s bought in and screwed together?
I am just curious as to how much engineering is there or just an assembly line with QA at the end.
I was momentarily tempted to contact Cello to ask I they would like me to set up a Ferguson 3700 demo in their factory area for half a day. With the IMOgen providing test card F and some period test card tunes. To show them and their staff, the worlds first all transistor television, the heritage of Ferguson, the shoulders upon which they stand. Then I thought nahh pointless. First of all they probably couldn't give a toss as its old and why is this nerdy idiot contacting us. The health and safety would probably have a fit with me running it with the back off and chassis extended, "25,000kV what!!!!! ". Also I suppose to be fair it was badge engineering back then too, Ferguson didn't make the 2000, Thorn did.
Whatever they do its at least good to see business thriving in the area.
Whatever they do its at least good to see business thriving in the area.
Yes I fully agree with that.
I was informed by someone who works there that they are all kits of parts sent from the far east.
This week I had to buy a new LCD TV for a loyal customer.
Buy British? That's what I did and the chosen set was made in Bishop Auckland here in the North-East of England.
OK, the electronics are most likely sourced from China but at least local labour was employed assembling the set so that can't be a bad thing. So, if I need any more TV sets that's where I be buying them from. https://ukmade.wordpress.com/category/televisions-tvs/
Well it is good to see even assembly being done in the UK. We have to concede that China is big now re electronics we have let it slip away, and they jumped on the bandwagon. It's the same with MG Rover. Blair and his cronies could have saved them but now the MG badge is just a Chinese company no real input from the UK. Is not Hisense another TV manufacurer in Wales?
I will certainly keep them in mind if I need a new TV, the main tv is a 13 year old Sony used on average about an hour a day, the one in the bedroom is 9 year old cheap Tesco one used a very few hours a year.
Hopefully the Ferguson factory do a little more than assembly, perhaps do the software for the TV then they can keep up with iPlayer or Freeview changes etc.
Posted by Crustytv
Also I suppose to be fair it was badge engineering back then too, Ferguson didn't make the 2000, Thorn did.
Hi Chris, not really badge engineering because the name Ferguson was the original brand used by company founder Sir Jules Thorn way back in the nineteen-thirties. All the other brand names used by Thorn Electrical Industries were acquisitions as Ultra was or licenced names as HMV and Marconi were. According to the label on the back of the new Ferguson LCD TV set the name "Ferguson" is licenced to Cello Electronics by the Technicolor Corporation in Paris.
Watched a YouTube film about the assembly of the 1981 Vauxhall Cavalier. Very few of the components in the car were sourced in the UK and yet it was considered a British car. Even the wheels were imported!
Posted by Till Eulenspiegel
Hi Chris, not really badge engineering because the name Ferguson was the original brand used by company founder Sir Jules Thorn way back in the nineteen-thirties.
indeed that is correct, 1936 was the year Thorn acquired Ferguson. As I'm sure you know, Thorn gobbled up a huge amounts of electrical manufacturing companies in the UK during the 20th Century, becoming an absolute giant of a company, very sad they are no longer and only a few remember them and their achievements.
When I posted this thread almost a year ago about Cello acquiring the use of the Ferguson name, I had not really looked into the history of Thorn. Subsequently I researched and corrected that omission and created an article all about Thorn Electrical. If you or anyone else have not read it you may find it of interest, the story starting in 1899 and ending in 2007. https://www.radios-tv.co.uk/thorn-electrical/
I personally have a huge affection for Thorn products and they feature in about 90 % of my collection.
Interesting story, Chris, but you've obviously compiled it from a variety of sources and, as so often happens, they tend to contradict each other. Also, when compiling something like this, as you make constant changes and add new material it is easy to get confused with what has gone before and fail to spot the ambiguities.
I know from my own experiences that it doesn't matter how hard you check and check that you can still miss even the simplest of errors. I lost track of the number of times that I've circulated reports during my working life, convinced that everything was perfect, only to pick up a copy 6 months later and had a glaring typo jump out at me on the front page!
The chances of being able to nail down the truth about some or all of the ambiguities the best part of a century on is rather remote, so I think you'll have to make an intelligent guess (or draw lots!) as to which version is correct!
Anyway, this is what I've found:
1932 Jules Thorn acquired a controlling interest in Chorlton Metal Co Ltd, established in 1926, dealer in electric lamps and radio goods.
1933 Jules Thorn acquired a controlling interest in Chorlton Metal Co Ltd, established in 1926, dealer in electric lamps and radio goods.
Your guess is as good as mine with that one!
1936 Acquired Ferguson Radio Corporation.
1937 Thorn Electrical Industries had the sole distributor rights for Ferguson radio receivers.
Surely these rights would have been acquired, along with the company, the previous year?
1946 First Ferguson television produced.
1947 Showed the 841T television at the 1947 Radiolympia.
1948 Introduced television sets.
1953 Manufacturer of TV sets.
I can't go back as far as 1947 but in my experience of the later Radio Shows, new ranges were demonstrated immediately before placing them on the market for retail sale.
Produced first TV in 1946 but didn't manufacture them for another 7 years? Shum mishtake there, shurely?
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.
1968 Thorn Electrical Industries acquired ... Tucana, a private retailer of television sets. ... Tucana had 206 retail shops.
If there is a subtle difference in the ownership of Tucana in these two entries, I'm afraid it completely eludes me!
Finally, this might be some financial wizardry which is over my head but how could Thorn acquire Ferguson in 1936 but only acquire the share capital 10 years later?
Thanks for your input and you're correct I tried to pull the info in from various source but as you rightly pointed out missed some boo boo's. I do remember getting in a right pickle at one point but thought I had resolved most, as you say often proof reading ones own work is fruitless. I indirectly asked for others to help with proof reading back in August 2018 (see here) when I was compiling it into the final document but nobody came forward at the time and the thread eventually died with no further input, so I left it.
I do appreciate you doing so now and will make the changes/additions that I can from your input and credit your observations. ?
The very first Ferguson radios were of North American design and resembled certain models made by Pilot. By 1939 Ferguson were designing radios in the UK. The model 902U is an example: https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/ferguson_902u.html
Before WW2 the first radios marketed by Michael Sobell were models designed by the American Sparton company.
The history of Thorn is a particularly convoluted one, they were a vast empire with many mergers and acquisitions along the way as well as many internal re-shuffles, I take my hat off to anyone who attempts to try and document this accurately, I suspect that a lot of this was deliberately obtuse for tax/financial reasons, you did not get to be the size of Thorn without knowing about every trick in the book to maximise profits and return on investment.
BTW I did not mean to imply Thorn did anything wrong or illegal, just like any large firms of today they would have had a veritable army of financial whizz kids that sought to reduce any liabilities, tax or otherwise, and what may seem odd decisions made to us would have made perfect sense to them, one thing for certain is they were far from stupid.
They would have almost certainly have 'gamed the system' as much as they could within the framework of the system as it stood at the time, just as big multi-nationals still do today.