DOMINION RADIO AND ELECTRICAL CORPORATION LTD

Dominion Radio and Electrical Corporation Ltd was formed in 1939 and closed in 1980.

Brands manufactured by Dominion Radio and Electrical Corporation Ltd


Dominion Radio & Electrical, a subsidiary company of Chas Begg and Co., was formed in 1939 to produce Philco radios in New Zealand (which Begg's had previously imported from the US of A before new import tariffs meant that bringing in built-up sets was no longer viable). Beginning with a staff of just 4, by 1954 they had outgrown their premises and a purpose-built factory was erected on a 6-acre site in Otahuhu, Auckland.  

In 1959 they merged with (absorbed?) Russell Import Co. who were importers and distributors of appliances (notably Morphy Richards), musical instruments and radio / electronics equipment.

Philco: Prior to 1939 chassis' were imported from Philco USA and fitted to NZ made cabinets.  Once import tarrifs made this too costly DRECO began producing sets here in New Zealand, models starting off quite similar, but over time the electronics (if not the cabinets) became distinctly NZ designed.  Part of this was probably because US mains voltage was 110-volt and transformerless or series-string set became quite popular (where the heaters of specially designed valves would be strung together and would add up to 110 volts, meaning a transformer was not needed for the heaters), but NZ's 230-volt mains system was not readily suitable for this technology, although some manufacturers tried (Philips being the main offender).

With the 1961 sale of Philco USA to Ford the former agreement with DRECO lapsed and this led to the end of the Philco brand in NZ.

La Gloria: In 1956 DRECO introduced the La Gloria brand name which had been used by the father of the managing director, Charles Pearson, years earlier in his K-Road business, La Gloria Gramophones*.  This new brand was used to market a budget line of radiograms and appliances - and this name took over from Philco within a couple of years. 

Majestic and DRECO: In 1962 two new brands were introduced: Majestic to replace Philco as the high-end brand and DRECO for portable record players, tape players and radios.

In around 1974, in an effort to create an economy of scale for manufacturing in the television era, Dominion Radio & Electrical merged with Bell Radio/Television Corp. to form Consolidated Electrical Industries Ltd.  This operation, like so many other casulaties of in the NZ electronics industry from cheap imported products, ceased production around 1980.

 

*Pearson senior was also the original owner of radio station 1YB, which subsequently became 1ZB - the first commercial station under the N.Z.B.S.

 

Information sourced from GAR, MGAR, RandE May 59 and company pamphlets