As with most companies Pye became a spiders web of various divisions and subsidiarys.
Pye was started by William George Pye and assisted by his wife Annie Eliza Pye in 1896. W.G. Pye had resigned from a workshop in Cambridge University.
Pye acquired some 80 companies over the next 20 years forming the Pye group. One of the activities was radio transmitters and receivers for shipping, industrial, and government use.
Their first commercially available public receivers were not popular with the public. They followed the British Post Office standard which was restrictive.
Pye’s first successful set was the 700 series designed by William and Eliza’s son. The 24 year old had just graduated from Cambridge.
Management of the radio division fell to C.O. Stanley, a former advertising executive. The controlling family felt that the division was not doing well enough, and it was offered to Philips. Philips rejected the proposal because they felt that C.O. Stanley’s proposed commission of £5000 was excessive on a £65,000 deal. So C.O. Stanley did what all good managers do an bought the company!
Stanley set-up a factory in Haig Rd Cambridge and by 1933 was selling 40,000 radios a year from the expanded 8000 sq foot space under the Pye Radio Works brand.
The company had ties with the Mullard company and used their valves. Of course Mullard was a division of Philips, so it goes full circle.
Whilst Pye had ties with various Australian agencies and industries, they were not big in the consumer area. Their forays into the Australian market were first with a range of radios that seem to be imported from Britain, then a by buying a controlling in interest in Astor’s parent company Electronic Industries Limited in the early 1960s.
The collaboration from the mid 1950s meant that Astor could base their televisions on a proven British design, and there were many Pye branded televisions. However, this doesn’t explain why some radio’s were assembled/manufactured in Sydney when Astor was a Melbourne company.
By the late 1960s Pye had been swallowed up by the giant Philips group. However, the Pye brand is still around in Australia on cheap radios from China sold by Kogan and others.