Tandberg Reel to Reel Tape Recorders

Company Description

Tandberg produced reel to reel tape recorders from 1954 to 1988 which were manufactured in Norway. These tape recorders targeted the consumer and studio market. The early models of Tandberg 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 110-120v, 220-240v & Multi voltages.

From the early 1950s and through the 1970s, the Norwegian Company, Tandbergs Radiofabrikk, (Tandberg’s radio factory) produced some of the best domestic Hi-Fi and semi-professional tape recorders in the world. By the time they stopped tape recorder production in the mid 1980s, they had released over thirty models, sold millions of machines and could boast several ‘World-Firsts’ (read below)

A brief company history

Vebjorn Tandberg was born in Bodo, a small town in the northern part of Norway, in 1904. As a boy he developed an interest in radios, and later studied at a technical University. He graduated in 1930 as an electronic engineer in Trondheim and founded Tandbergs Radiofabrikk in Oslo in 1933. The first radio was named “Tommeliten” and used only earphones. This was followed by the “Corona” which had a loudspeaker

In 1934 the first “Huldra” radio was launched, followed in 1936 by the “Sølvsuper”. During the early years, radios, loudspeakers and microphones comprised most of the factory’s output. The Sølvsuper and the Huldra radios became the foundation for Tandberg’s success.

A new plant at Kjelsas (in Oslo) opened in 1951 and by 1952 the production of reel to reel tape recorders had begun. During the 1950s these became a huge success for Tandberg. Their share of the Norwegian market was significant. By 1956 40,000 tape recorders had been sold in Norway and most of these were Tandbergs. Tandberg became synonymous with advanced technology at a reasonable price and was now being marketed in the USA. Television sets were introduced in 1960 and a new production facility was Opened in Kjeller in Skedsmo in 1966. Tandberg colour  TVs began in 1969.

Another big Norwegian radio and TV manufacture, The Radionette company, was taken over by Tandberg in 1972. At the time of takeover there were 2000 employees which increased to 3100 by 19 76 with seven different plants. that year there was a significant economic downturn and it began a difficult time for the company which eventually went bankrupt in December 1978. In late August, Vebjorn Tandberg, sadly committed suicide at the age of 74.

Today the Tandberg company is based in Oslo, Norway and manufactures videoconferencing systems. Even though they no longer manufacture audio components, their existing products remain in use and are highly sought after by collectors. Tandberg cassette decks (such as the 3014) are considered by some to be among the best performing and most durable ever produced. Tandberg was also well-known for its FM tuners and some audiophiles consider the Model 3001A to be the best-performing tuner ever made.

General Information

Manufacturer: Tandberg

Years in Business: 1933 To 1978

Country: Norway

Years making R-R Tape Recorders: 1952 To 1978

TANDBERG’S HISTORY 1933 – 1978  (google translation can be improved)

Vebjørn Tandberg (VT) (Born 16.9. 1904), founds Tandberg (TR) in Oslo 25.01.33

TR’s activities include the development, production and sale of loudspeakers and radio receivers. The First production facility was in  Kongensgate with 3 employees in a facility of 40 m² . Later that year, he moves to the People’s House in Schleppegrellsgate  in Grünerløkka 120 m² premises. The first products are speakers, Followed shortly after with the first radio Tommeliten which was battery-powered. Tandberg was the first radio factory in Norway.

Huldra 1 put into production, the world’s first series-produced radio with single span (MB and LB on one band). VT is uncompromising in his quality requirements and notifies radio retailers that he will maintain Top quality on the Coronas  and therefore can not engage in price reduction in any Way.

Silver Super 1 and Battery Super 1 put into production.

VT reduces his workers work week from 48 down to 42 with 3 weeks vacation for all employees.

System is introduced which ensures 70% sick pay for 3 months or up to 6 months for employees with more than 3 years of service. The company moves to new premises in Malmö Gata 7 Rodeløkka with 600 m² expanding later in 1939 to 2,000 m².

Free pension insurance for all employees introduced  ie: age, widow, children and invalid pension.

Germany while occupying Norway, prohibits radio listening and country radio receivers confiscated (August 1941). TR will be allowed to produce for stock against delivery when listening ban lifted. Occupation can then be maintained during the war years.

The company introduces time off through Easter week.

Personnel Committee is created. The task is to represent the employees to the management of issues of common interest and to serve as a liaison between management and employees.

Personnel Association created.

TR is January 1, a limited company. The share capital of NOK. 500,000 owned by TRF (4,998 by 5,000 shares). VT is enestyre.

Scholarships for foreign travel are paid (drawing of lots) for the first time.

All employees over 40 years with more than 10 years of service receive an extra week (4 weeks holiday was enacted with effect from 1965).

Working hours reduced to 39 hours / week for all employees (40 h / week established by law from 1976). Sick salary raised to 90% for employees with more than 10-year service period.

The post-war economic expansion for radio receivers ebbs and now preparing a new product: a tape recorder for the general public.

Construction work for the new plant in Kjelsås (completed in 1951) gets started.

The first export orders (battery radios) will be sent to Turkey.

Designated factories on Kjelsås (TR1) with 9,600 sqm of floor space is taken into use at the beginning.

The first tape recorders are marketed. 4.000 pcs. sold during the year.

The first export of tape recorders, to Sweden and Denmark takes place.

The first FM (frequency modulated) radio receiver, Silver Super 6 FM, being released in connection with the first FM transmitter opening.

Creates a pension plan with the aim of ensuring that all employees get a retirement pension from 67 years (for full pensionable service)  corresponding to 70% of the wages the person had at the time the pension takes effect. The scheme is not covered by insurance or secured by funds provision. The payments are expected to take place over the ongoing operations.

The first trial order for recorders delivered to the United States. It introduced 5-dagersuke in June to August.

Hi-Fi radio receiver (Huldra 5) and tape recorder launched. It is decided to develop television receivers.

The first stereo tape recorders are being produced and exported.

The first television receivers (b / w) is produced and marketed.

The first subsidiary (for sale) abroad is established in Sweden.

Administration building in Nordberg road, TR 8, are being built.

High-altitude in Kjelsås, TR 2, with 6,000 square meters of floor area is used.

It introduced 5-dagersuke in March to September.

Subsidiaries established in Finland.

Subsidiaries established in Denmark.

Insurance Council warns strongly against the scheme of corporate pensions.

Construction work on the basement initiated.

TR 3 Factory basement construction with 15,000 square meters of floor space. Investment: kr.25 million.

Subsidiaries established in the Netherlands.

Export ratio reaches 50%.

Plans for new satellite factory in Skullerud, is prepared.

Tandberg of America Inc. is taken over and converted into a subsidiary (sales).

Designated production plant for production of printed circuit boards on the basement.

The first Norwegian-developed CTV? receiver marketed.

The company’s first data product: Tandberg Instrumentation Recorder marketed.

Radionette companies, Norway’s oldest radio factory, founded in 1927, seeks Development Fund for financial assistance.

Subsidiaries (sales) will be established in Austria.

The first digital tape drive connection in larger computer systems are presented.

Meetings (April / May) between Industrial Fund (IF), the Ministry of Industry (ID), Christiania Bank and VT to acquire Radionette. VT shows little interest.

The share capital is increased by NOK 37 million. by public subscription (about 12,000 small shareholders).

TR awarded the Export Prize 1971.

TR acquires  Radionette companies by Owner Jan Wessel and receive shares in TR for kr. 9 million. Since 1969 Radionette companies had been incurring substantial losses, (in 1972 with 3.7 million in deficit).

Sandvika Plant (TR5) with 17,000 sq m of floor area, enters the TR group (for completion in 1968 with cost of 36 million.).

IF allocate TR (6/20/72) a guarantee of NOK. 15 million.

Component Factory starts Notodden (TR 6) with 1.600 sqm of floor area rented premises (Notodden Manufacturing Company A / S). Investment of 7.6 million. In equipment and machinery.

New central warehouse Basement (TR3) into operation, with 5,000 sq/m of floor space. Investment of US $. 7 million.

ID provider (06/19/77) 1ikviditetslån NOK. 5 million.

IF give (10.23.77) guarantee of kr. 30 million

Civil Engineer Andreas Skogvold (b. 1921) is appointed by VT as the new head of the TRF, chairman of TR’s Board of Directors and Managing. Director of TR.

VT turns 70 years old, will continue as a board member by request, while retired.

The factory in Skullerud (TR4) 16,000 sqm of floor space. Investment: NOK. 38 million. + Kr. 7 mill. In machines.

A joint service for TR and Radionette in Sandvika.

Individual daily working hours (flexitime) is introduced.

Production Company is established in Haddington, Scotland (TR7) for the production of CTV which gets started in August.

It established its own sales company in Norway: Sales Company Tandberg Radio A / S, which will serve the Norwegian market parallel to and in competition with, the acquired sales company: A / S Radionette Norwegian Radio Factory.

Subsidiaries are established in San Diego, USA, for the development, production and sales of computer products.

The sales companies for TR and Radionette in Norway, Sweden and Denmark are merged. The sales company in Norway becomes Tandberg Radionette A / S (which was declared bankrupt 24.01.1979).

In Haddington move  into separate building, 6,000 sqm.

(Notodden moved their operations over to newly hire barley (Høgås) with 8,600 sqm.??)

It was early in 1977 is clear that the operating profit for 1976 would be significantly worse than budgeted and that there was a significant unmet capital needs for 1977. IF gives (30/03/77) 10 million. in warranty and $. 30 million subordinated debt, and that the Bank provides 20 million in loans.

As part of the reorganization plan adopts (06/28/77) Annual General Meeting to reduce the share capital by 60%, to abolish the special rights for TRF, to authorize the Board to the A share capital increase by 40-60 million. Kr.

(In late June, it was noted that the liquidity forecast was turned fell due. failure of payments, the failure of the sale and that layoffs / redundancies are not implemented in assuming pace.??)

TR seeking (04/07/77) IF about kr. 35 million. The state Industrial Fund is now the only one who can help the company out of the acute liquidity problem. Ordered by ID adopts IF the extraordinary board meeting 11/07/77 guaranteeing kr. 15 million.

Attempts to engage private stakeholders. The Board addresses (08.15.77) to the Minister of Industry and asks for support for a plan.

The government treats (12/20/77) issue and put forward a plan for redevelopment and refinancing, etc. presented to Parliament. The main features of the plan are:

(A) redevelop state loans of NOK. 55 million.,

(B) old share (18,6mill.) Depreciated,

(C) ID draws new share capital 40 + 80 mill. Kr.,

(D) development support kr. 15 mill. In 1978.

Reorganization proceeding. The government’s plan of 20.12.77 is adopted.

(18/05/78) Board meeting determines to discontinue operations at TR 2 (superstructures Kjelsås), TR 5 (Sandvika), TR 6 (Notodden) and TR 7 (Haddington), thereby floated 36,000 sq.

Staff reduction of 400 people.

Development and marketing strategy is changed in accordance with changes in product strategy.

5-ars framework (17 04.78) with Siemens including the delivery of data products with min. kr. 40 million. Siemens will license agreement with the possibility of own production.

Vebjørn Tandberg dies 08/30/78.

ID briefed (04.10.og 11.13.) That the sale and operating budget for 1978 will not keep. Updated estimates generated sales of 510 million. (Orig. 530) and losses 90 million (orig. Kr. 45 million.).

During budgeting (1979-1981) it becomes clear that there are liquidity issues that can only be resolved by further government involvement.

(12/08/78) After leaks in the press about disagreements between the board and the staff on the operationing plan for 1979  Bank blocks credit facility account and joins publishing collateral.

At the AGM (12/11/78), the Board concludes that the company is insolvent. At the Annual General Meeting, the Minister of Industry requests the board to consider short-term operation while further investigations are carried out. The government says it is willing to propose the supply of an additional NOK. 50 mill. in state funds.

(12.13.78) The Board finds that, against 2 votes, not prudent to continue on these premises  and the General Assembly approves unanimously to ask the board to declare the company bankrupt.

(12.14.78) Oslo Probate pronounces a ruling on bankruptcy.


Sources  HRHF.no