History of Kriesler – Sydney – N.S.W.

Of the some 430 companies that began making radio’s in the 1920s and 1930s, relitavly few remained by the Second World War. Those that remained were drawn into war production for the armed forces.

One such company was Kriesler.

Alec, Leon, and Raphael Weingott established and registered their company as The Kriesler Radio Company in Alice Street, Newtown, Sydney. It was March 1931. By November 1931 Leon had left the company

They did intend it to be KREISLER, involving the name of Fritz Kreisler the composer and violin virtuoso but changed the spelling to avoid any legal problems. By 1933 the company had been operating for some five years, having concentrated upon the manufacture of stencil lines for music houses, such as Elvy’s and Palings. The company was in trouble and liquidation seemed unavoidable. Kriesler was, by this time, one of the 243 registered radio manufacturers in Australia.

Although selling “Meccanoised” (a short lived ventre that ran from July 1932 to September 1932 brought about by an injuction by the Meccano toy company), “Kreisler Mechanised Kits” as they became known sold relatively well when the medium was new and untested. None-the-less Kriesler continued to sell assembled chassis, speakers, and the nessesary valves both direct to the public and through distributers across Australian states.

Despite this and all of Raphaels showmanship, (He did a K-tel 50 years before Philip Kives sold his first million knifes in the mid 1960s) experience in the radio industry (He had had a commercial interest in radio from 1924, managing the Airmaster Radio Co., Sydney, later the Electric Trading Co., Inevettes Ltd. and Vocalion Ltd. before setting up Kriesler.) the company was a small player in a very crowded industry. Kriesler had to file for recievership in July 1933, just over two after it started.

However, in September 1933 an investor, Percy Tuit who had made his money from a hosiery wholesaling business, offered to buy the about to be liquidated Kriesler Radio Company, and loaned the youngest Weingott (Rae) sufficient capital to take up a 49% interest. Kriesler continued to make stencil brands. Raphael realised its own brand name was worth concentrating upon and did so with the pizzazz that only he could.

Raphael Weingott had flair. To see him present a new season’s range of products at the Trocadero or old Wentworth Hotel, was apparently an experience never to be forgotten. He was the master of the remotely controlled “magic lantern” and “voice over” techniques, well before it was used by others. One would believe he was presenting a new season’s range of motor vehicles, not mere radios.

Kriesler made a great contribution to Australia’s 1939-1945 war effort, as the special Mingay’s edition commemorating the effort of the Australian radio makers will testify. After the war, Kriesler put to good use its special “put aside” advertising account and that, plus inspirational phrases from Rae Weingott, such as: “Mirrorscopic Tuning”, “Triple Throat”, and those “Three Little Words – Kriesler Triple Throat”; resulted in Kriesler being ranked third in Australia’s radio manufacturers prior to the advent of television in Australia in 1956.

Perce and Rae sold Kriesler to Philips in about 1950 because they did not have the money to go into television without going public. They also believed their loyal staff worthy of care and what they did was best for them. The rationalisation of the Australian radio industry after 1973 included, in due course, the demise of the truly Australian Kriesler Radio brand name. The Caringbah – Sydney factory was closed in 1982 and the KRIESLER brand left the Australian market 31st December 1983.

This variation is the UK model that goes from 87 to 104 MC (MHz). There are variations that have the standard band 88-108 MHz. (Apparently the emergency sevices were alocated the upper end of the FM band from 100 Mhz, but this was pared back first to 104 MHz then 108 MHz over 40 years.

The radio now works correctly. However, it sounds far from good with very tinny sound from the oval speaker. It doesn’t sound much better with a proper external speaker.

Interestingly, there was an optional extention speaker of the same style. It contained a stereo decoder and amplifier.

Last updated 04 April 2021.