'Brings Tidings From Afar'

The 'Courier' brand was introduced in NZ in around 1927 and lasted until 1955.

'Courier' branded equipment was manufactured by Radio (1936) Ltd, they had various distributors. Currently there are 36 documented models.

Courier was a brandname originally manufactured by J. Wiseman and Sons, and distributed by Frank Wiseman Ltd in Auckland.  Frank Wiseman had taken over the Queen St based retail arm of the family firm of J. Wiseman and Sons Ltd in 1924 to allow J. Wiseman and Sons to concentrate on their wholesale business.  The retail store was a general merchants specialising in sporting goods, but also selling dinnerware, perfumery and rifles among other things. 

Advertising shows that by 1927 Frank Wiseman Ltd had the dealership in Auckland for Atwater Kent radios, and by May they were advertising 'Wiseman's guaranteed' 2- and 3-valve sets as well as crystal sets and other radio accessories.  Given the high cost of AK sets, these locally manufactured receivers would be to cover the lower cost end of the market.  They were manufactured by J. Wiseman and Sons Ltd, likely under the management of Eric Wiseman given articles in the NZ Radio magazine from 1928 had his input and comments on valve types and voltage classes (NZ Radio, Vol 5 no 1).

1927 Advert in the NZ Herald - Atwater Kent and 'Wiseman's Guaranteed' sets

Shortly after this the Wisemans sets were advertised as 'Courier's'.  The model lineup included the 3 and 4, being 3- and 4-valve sets respectively, and the Courier 1-valve set known as the Junior for only £5/5/- with 'Australian headphone reception'!  An advert in New Zealand Radio shows the original factory and gives details of the Courier brandname and motto.

Manufacturing proceeded through to 1930, with new models being released, however it appears that fate stepped in and stopped production of a promising new brand.

On the 2nd of September 1930 J. Wiseman and Sons was put into voluntary liquidation (although Frank Wiseman Ltd was a separate entity and not associated with this event) and this was the end of the line for Courier radios associated with the Wiseman name - although within 2 months the company plant and stock was purchased back as a going concern by the Wiseman family and the company re-registered in its previous name!  Something that must have caused more than a few raised eyebrows at the time.  It is assumed that they concentrated on their core leather goods and saddlery business from this point on and the radio manufacturing plant and stock, along with the Courier brand, was probably sold to its new owners - Radio Ltd.

In 1931 Radio Ltd began production of Courier branded sets as a side brand to Ultimate - this production ran through until around 1955.  The early sets were often quite striking in appearance with very ornate cabinets, although as was the case with most large manufacturers the chassis was generally a common one used across several brands.

Where the model code is not clearly stated it can be found (in most cases) as the letters at the start of the serial number.  For example, RB10574 would be a model RB.

36 Documented Courier Models
1928 Courier model 4 4
1928 Courier Junior '1-Valve' 1  Broadcast 
1929 Courier model QR3 'Quenched Radiation' 3  Dual Wave 
1930 Courier model ES 'Electric Screen-Grid' 3  Broadcast 
1933 Courier model 5CA 5  Broadcast 
1934 Courier model 5TC 5
1934 Courier model 7LAW 7  Dual Wave 
1935 Courier model 7CAW 7  Dual Wave 
1935 Courier model CC 6  Dual Wave 
1936 Courier model UC 5  Broadcast 
1937 Courier model BAU 4  Broadcast 
1937 Courier model BBC 5  Broadcast 
1937 Courier model BBS 5  Broadcast 
1937 Courier model BCC 7  All Wave 
1937 Courier model BDC 'Oxford' 6  Dual Wave 
1937 Courier model BOU 14 + magic eye  All Wave 
1938 Courier model BWC 'Vesper' 7 + magic eye  All Wave 
1939 Courier model CMU 5  Broadcast 
1940 Courier model EA 6  Dual Wave 
1941 Courier model FG 5  Dual Wave 
1941 Courier model FJ 5 + magic eye 5
1945 Courier model RA 5  Dual Wave 
1945 Courier model RB 5  Broadcast 
1945 Courier model RB 5  Broadcast 
1946 Courier model RG 8 + magic eye  Broadcast 
1947 Courier model RT 'Tiercel' 5  Dual Wave 
1947 Courier model RU 'Teal' 5  Broadcast 
1947 Courier model RU 'Swallow' 5  Broadcast 
1948 Courier model RAB 'Condor' 10 + magic eye 5
1948 Courier model RAG 'Cygnet' 6  Broadcast 
1948ish Courier model RAJ 6  Broadcast 
1948 Courier model RW 'Kingfisher' 6  Dual Wave 
1948 Courier model RW 'Flamingo' 6  Dual Wave 
1948 Courier model RX 'Falcon' 5  Broadcast 
1948 Courier model RY 'Osprey' 5  Dual Wave 
1956 Courier model RCD 'Courier Special' 5  Broadcast