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Hornyphon Reel to Reel Tape Recorders
1923 To 1985
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1923 – The Austrian Radio Factory, Vindobona was founded in Vienna by Friedrich Horny
1924 – Showed the Brownian Cristavox microphone relay as an eye-catcher at the Vienna Autumn Fair
1926 – Presented the Trio Dyne de Luxe, a combination of a device, loudspeaker, loop antenna, rechargeable battery and anode battery in one device
1927 – Hornyphon brand name registered and all products now sold under that name.
1928 – Horny makes a deal with Philips agreeing that Hornyphon would stop producing radio tubes and would purchase Philips tubes. Philips allows Hornyphon to use various Philips patents.
1930 – Begins exporting console radios overseas
1933 – Company name changed to Radiowerk Horny
1934 – Expansion to a locomotive factory in Vienna where they were able to consolidate with staff of over 600 people and 66 technicians
1936 – Expansion had financially taxed the company and was sold to Philips with Friedrich Horny remaining in charge of the operation. The company’s fortunes turned around fairly quickly, continuing to produce their own branded products and also others that are sold under the Philips brand in Austria. Company name changes to Radiowerk Horny GMBH
WW2 – Company continues production and marketing of radio equipment for export and was a useful source of foreign currency. As the war progressed they got into manufacture of bomb detonators and a magnetic mine detector was also developed in 1940
1944 – December The workshop and the two warehouses were destroyed
1945 – Friedrich Horny dies. An estimated 550,000 radio sets were produced during the war
1946 – Production was resumed in the 15th district of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus . A second plant was built in Vienna-Landstrasse , where all production took place until 1960
1947 – Philips begins to integrate sales and branding from various of the companies that they owned worldwide and Philips products began to appear in Austria branded Hornyphon. Hornyphon products are now being branded Philips to sell in other countries
1955 – Introduced Diola WM 95-4754 A, tubular case tape recorder, mono, 2 tape speeds
1959 – Hornyphon Belcanto 60 and WH 489 A music master 60 with AM-FM superhet receiver with turntable and stereo stage
Late 50s? – It is not known exactly when the Radiowerke Horny factory name changed to WIRAG: Wiener Radio AG. We have found Phillips vacuum tubes produced in the plant in 1959. Heading into the 60s, the main products are tape recorders, cassette recorders, portable radios and radio / cassette recorders and later video cassette recorders.
1960 – Launched Belcanto 61 superhet receiver with record player
1960s – Hornyphon name continues to be marketed only in Austria. Horny Werke were the largest radio and television producer in Austria before becoming the Austrian Philips-Industrie-Fabrikationsgesellschaft in 1971
Late 60s – The Austrian Wirag factory has proven to be very good at design, engineering and manufacturing and some of the better tape recorders like the Phillips N4520 were made there. Serial numbers start with WR and are clearly marked – Made in Austria
We’ve heard some references to professional tape recorders produced by but have yet to substantiate that. Perhaps some Philips Tape recorders were rebranded. Later on the company would produce video recorders.
The Hornyphon name disappeared in the 1980’s perhaps as the English slang word began to circulate more greatly.
Here’s an interesting article translated into English about the Zeiss factory in Vienna which eventually was named Wiener Radiowerk” (WIRAG) this article suggests that the first Philips tape recorder was produced here in 1947 and the first video recorder in 1964.
Original in German