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.
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.
|1928||Courier Junior '1-Valve'||1||Broadcast|
|1929||Courier QR3 'Quenched Radiation'||3||Dual Wave|
|1934||Courier 7LAW||7||Dual Wave|
|1937||Courier BCC||7||All Wave|
|1938||Courier BWC 'Vesper'||7 + magic eye||All Wave|
|1946||Courier RG||8 + magic eye||Broadcast|
|1947||Courier RU 'Teal'||5||Broadcast|
|1956||Courier RCD 'Courier Special'||5||Broadcast|