Formed as Radio Ltd in 1922 to produce Ultimate receivers, and reorganised in 1936 to become Radio (1936) Ltd, the company behind one of the best-known names in NZ radio manufacturing would also become one of the countries largest. They produced a wide range of receivers, typically of high quality, for their Ultimate brand as well as their private brands - such as Golden Knight for Farmers, Rolls, Luxor and others.
They would reorganise one more time in 1955 as Ultimate-Ekco (N.Z.) Co. Ltd, and the company would last another 12 years before being dismantled by Pye NZ Ltd.
THE BEGINNINGS OF RADIO (1936) LTD.
Radio (1936) Limited commenced in a small upstairs room in the City in 1922. For six months the Company retailed small Radio parts, and then bought from the U.S.A. some 500 crystal sets already made up. In order to sell these, it was necessary to order at the same time a 500 watt transmitting station. The crystal sets and the transmitter arrived as arranged on the same boat and the Company was fortunate in obtaining the services of one of the few New Zealand Engineers who had studied the then new science of Radio, or Wireless as it was then called.
The business expanded, and in 1928, larger premises were acquired. Wholesale trading was undertaken just prior to this and the first all wave battery operated receivers were produced in our small manufacturing section in 1927. The demand for our manufactured sets increased, and we were by 1933 well and favourably known as large manufacturers of radio sets.
There were some twenty-five people employed by the Company at that time, but by 1935 the factory staff numbered 280, and two plants were necessary to handle the steadily growing business.
The year 1936 saw yet another move, and the company purchased a five floor building on the waterfront in Auckland, and still houses all its activities in this plant of 42,000 sq. ft.
At present, besides the manufacture of Household Radio Sets, the Company makes a comprehensive range of Electrical appliances such as Radiators, Toasters, Jugs, Kettles, Rangettes, Soldering Irons, Cupboard Heaters, etc., and also builds to order, office and school educational receiving and intercommunication systems, amplifiers and all kinds of industrial Electronic equipment.
To give us the service we desire in such a large manufacturing organisation, we have our own electroplating section, for the plating of household appliances, and an expanding plastic moulding department, to supply assembly departments with moulded handles, knobs and bases for jugs, toasters, and other items, also a special engineering section devoted to the design and construction of the many intricate tools and dies necessary for modern manufacturing.
Besides these specialised sections, there are numerous other departments which feed, so to speak, the main Radio and Electrical benches. These include Transformer, Coil, Machine, Paint and Spray Departments. Each in itself a little plant building the component parts of the complete radio receiver or Electrical appliance.