Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We used to make things in this country. #139: RCA Victor Company Ltd., Montréal, Québec

Below, seen at an estate auction last summer:

This is apparently a 1938 model.  

Emile Berliner invented the disc record and the microphone, but was mired in litigation in the U.S.  Consequently, he packed up and came to Canada in 1900, creating the Berliner Gramophone Company of Montreal.  In the U.S., the Berliner company became the Victor Talking Machine Company in the early 1920's.  RCA merged with Victor in 1929, which included equity in the Canadian firm.  In 1929, RCA bought out the Canadian firm completely.  Radios in Canada were actually made under contract by Canadian Westinghouse and Canadian General-Electric.  By 1940, the company was employing 150 people in a 300,00 square foot plant, and RCA Victor was the largest record maker in Canada.  In the late 1950's and early 1960's, the Montreal plant made some of the parts for Alouette I, Canada's first satellite.  In the early 1970's, production was moved to the U.S. and Japan.  The history of Berliner and the company is now preserved in the Musée des Ondes Emile Berliner in Montréal.

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