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N.V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken

Overview

The foundations for what was to become one of the world's biggest electronics companies were laid in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 1891.

Philips began by making carbon-filament lamps and, by the turn of the century, was one of the largest producers in Europe. As developments in new lighting technologies fueled a steady program of expansion, in 1914 it established a research laboratory to study physical and chemical phenomena and stimulate product innovation.

In 1918, it introduced a medical X-ray tube. This marked the beginning of the diversification of its product range and the moment when it began to protect its innovations with patents in areas stretching from X-ray radiation to radio reception.

In 1925, Philips became involved in the first experiments in television in 1925 and, in 1927, began producing radios; by 1932, it had sold one million of them. A year later, it produced its 100-millionth radio valve and started production of medical X-ray equipment in the United States. By 1939, when it launched the first Philips electric shaver, the company employed 45,000 people worldwide.

Science and technology underwent tremendous development in the 1940s and 1950s, with Philips Research inventing the rotary heads that led to the development of the Philishave electric shaver, and laying down the basis for later ground-breaking work in transistors and integrated circuits. The company also made major contributions to the development of the recording, transmission and reproduction of television pictures. In 1963, it introduced the Compact Audio Cassette. In 1965, it produced its first integrated circuits.

The flow of exciting new products and ideas continued throughout the 1970s. Research in lighting contributed to the new PL and SL energy-saving lamps, while Philips Research made key breakthroughs in the processing, storage and transmission of images, sound and data. These led to the inventions of the LaserVision optical disc, the Compact Disc and optical telecommunication systems.


Contributed by Indra is here (19677) on Jul 07, 2007.