The 'Mullard' radio brand was introduced in NZ in 1937 and lasted until 1955.
Mullard was manufactured by Philips Electrical Industries of N.Z. Ltd, they were distributed by C. & A. Odlin Ltd. Currently there are 20 documented models.
Mullard valves had been widely available across New Zealand since the early 1920s - however, the introduction of radio models bearing the brand did not occur in any organised way until 1937.
The Mullard Radio Valve Co. of Southfields, London, was founded in 1920 by Captain Stanley R. Mullard, who had previously designed thermionic valves for the Admiralty...
Wikipedia - retr. May 2021
Mullard was founded in England in 1919 and it's activities centred around the new radio industry, with particular emphasis on wireless valves.
During the reconstruction of world distribution of Mullard products in 1937, a prominent New Zealand firm of radio importers was chosen to represent Mullard in this country.
From 'Philips in New Zealand', by H. A. Leighton Lord
The company referred to by Leighton Lord was C. & A. Odlin Ltd, a nationwide chain of timber and hardware merchants who had been importing and selling radios since the mid-1920s. By about 1935 they had a separate division to deal exclusively with radio importation and sales, and in 1937 they took over the nationwide distribution of Mullard products. This was disrupted in 1939 with the introduction of import controls by the government of the day - and this meant domestic radios needed to be produced locally, so an arrangement was made with Philips NZ* to produce radios here under the Mullard brand.
This arrangement with Philips stems from 1923 when Mullard UK formed a partnership with Philips in Holland in order to increase their production capability. Then, in 1927, they took complete ownership of Mullard, although retaining the company name and operations. The Mullard name was in operation in the UK under Philips control until around 1988, although the name disappeared from use as a radio brand in New Zealand in 1955 when it was replaced by 'Fleetwood' (the name of a town in England where one of the many Mullard production facilities resided).
Mullard radios had been available in New Zealand before Odlins took over distributorship, although not in any organised way.
* Philips had a factory in Blair St, Wellington at this time, which had opened in 1936 to begin radio production.
Mullard model numbers
Through observation it has been noted by the author that the New Zealand Mullard model code can tell you a bit about the set - it has three digits - the first is the valve count in the radio (including the magic eye), and the last appears to be the year of release. The middle digit seems to be the series of radio for that year - for example, there is a model 520 and a model 620: the 6-valve version seems to be identical apart from the magic eye, so both have a 2 for (what we will call) the series code, the 5 and 6 represent the valve count, and both were released in 1940 - hence the 0. The year is generally right, give or take a year.
Philips codes from 'the Mullard years' have absolutely no discernable meaning that the author has been able to find other than similar models having similar codes - so, knowing the Mullard model code for a Philips equivalent means you can then find the year and valve count for a Philips model as well. In the above example, the model 520 and 620 are equivalent to the Philips models 152 and 153.
Philips and Mullard model equivalents (Based on the NZVRS lists with date corrections based on the Mullard codes and advertising evidence - red models were imported from the UK, models from 1940 were manufactured in New Zealand, no models were produced from the last part of 1942 until mid-1945 as factories were engaged in war work)
|1938||V7A Theatrette||MAS2 Westminster|
|1941||155||531 Long Distance|
|WORLD WAR II - WAR PRODUCTION|
|1945||540 (and 540E) Philette||515 Meteor|
|1948||545||618 Two-Way Portable|
|1949||207 Purse-Size Portable||49 Personal Portable (Also HMV)|
|1952||235 (also BZ626A wooden?)||552 (BZ626A might be 564 wooden?)|
|...in progress, more soon...|
|1940||Mullard model 410||4||Dual Wave|
|1940||Mullard model 520||5, with magic eye on some||Dual Wave|
|1940||Mullard model 620||5, with magic eye on some||Dual Wave|
|1940||Mullard model 630||5 + magic eye||Dual Wave|
|1941||Mullard model 531 'Long Distance'||5, with magic eye on some||Dual Wave|
|1942||Mullard model 542||5 + magic eye||All Wave|
|1942ish||Mullard model 652||5 + magic eye||All Wave|
|1945||Mullard model 515 'Meteor'||5||Broadcast|
|1945||Mullard model 525||5||4|
|1946||Mullard model 736||6 + magic eye||All Wave|
|1946||Mullard model 776||6 + magic eye||All Wave|
|1946||Mullard model 946||8 + magic eye||All Wave|
|1947||Mullard model 537||5||Dual Wave|
|1949||Mullard model 567||5||Dual Wave|
|1950ish||Mullard model 420||4||Broadcast|
|1951||Mullard model 541||5||Broadcast|
|1952||Mullard model 402||4||Broadcast|
|1952ish||Mullard model 552||5||All Wave|
|1953||Mullard model 563||5||Broadcast|
|1955||Mullard model 735||6+magic eye||5|