Philips Reel to Reel Tape Recorders

Company Description

Philips produced reel to reel tape recorders from 1950 to 1983 which were manufactured in Netherlands. These tape recorders targeted the consumer, studio and semi-pro market. The early models of Philips tape recorders used tube electronics and later on they transitioned to solid-state tape recorders. The company produced both 2 and 4 track machines available in 220-240v, 110-120v, Multi & 100v Japan voltages.

1891– Anton and Gerard Philips established Philips & Co. in the Netherlands to make carbon-filament lamps
1918– Philips introduced a medical X-ray tube
1920s– Philips developed an optical sound track recording technology for movies. Photographic film stock was exposed to light modulated by the signal to be recorded.
1927– Philips began producing radios
1939– Philips launched its first electric shaver
1936– Philips released the Miller optical recorder for adding sound to film scores optically
1950’s– Philips released many models of reel to reel recorders and dicta-phones including portable ones
1960’s– Philips released hi-fi reel to reel recorders including vertical models including the Pro 12, Pro 36, 4520, and the 7300
1963– Philips introduced the first Compact Audio Cassette and released the Norelco Continental 101 portable reel to reel tape recorder. Philips could not use their brand in North America after legal action by Philco, so they used the Norelco brand
1964– The Philips released the EL 3586 portable reel to reel video recorder. It was the same as the Norelco Continental but marketed for the European market, Norelco introduced the Philips Compact Cassette portable tape player/recorder in the United States
1970– Philips release the stereo 4500 reel to reel multi track recorder
1972– In a joint partnership with Siemens, they started PolyGram which would become a very successful recording label. Philips had 60%, Siemens 40% ownership.

1972– Philips launched the world’s first home video cassette recorder

1974 – Philips buys Magnavox in Fort Wayne Indiana with the intention of breaking into the higher end audio market and will eventually sell in the US under Philips high fidelity laboratories name
1983– Philips produced their first Compact Disc model

General Information

Manufacturer: Philips

Years in Business: 1891 To Present

Country: Netherlands

Over the years, Philips bought many electronics manufacturers worldwide. This gave them the opportunity to compare and improve their technologies. Depending on the market, they would continue to use the existing name or market new brands. Here are some examples-

Aristona– Usually a Philips sub-brand but not always. Nederlandsche Seintoestellen Fabriek NSF
NSF started in 1918 as a joint venture of Philips (40%), Marconi UK (40%) and Radio Holland (20%), to produce radio transmitters for the Dutch Navy, the Air Force and the Dutch Colonies. NSF produced the first Philips radios, models 2501 and 2502 between 1925 – 1927. NSF continued to distribute using its own brand with product made by Philips. In Belgium and Germany, NSF product was marketed using the Aristona brand. Aristona sold better than NSF products. In the 1950s, Philips discontinued the NSF name and switched to Aristona. The products were same as Philips, but looked different and the price was lower than the original Philips products.

Philips acquisitions of tape recorder manufacturers

Hornyphon  Acquired by Philips in 1936 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

Cossor (U.K) Acquired by Philips in 1958

Stella (U.K) Radio and tape recorder manufacturer. Most of the Stella Tape recorders produced were very similar to existing Philips Models

Pye A U.K. record label that also built Radios and tape recorders, acquired by Philips in 1966

Dux (Sweden) founded in 1926, was bought by Philips in 1934. The Dux tape recorders sold in the 1960s looked very similar to the Phillips models

Here’s a Wiki 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

Other electronic manufacturer acquisitions

Magnavox (Fort Wayne Indiana) Bought by Philips in the mid-70s, as they wanted to break into the higher-end US market. Magnavox was renamed Phillips high fidelity laboratories and relocated to Greenville Tennessee, producing limited quantities of excellent product, the 673 tuner, the 572 preamplifier, 578 power amp. They also designed and produced receivers and integrated amplifiers that would eventually be outsourced to Japan.

MEL Mullard Equipment Ltd. (UK), Sierra (Belgium),  Erres, Radiola, Franklin and Norelco (American Branding of Philips export product)