Bell Radio-Television Corporation Ltd.
Colt - the radio that made Bell
Of the New Zealand manufacturers who came into existence after the end of the Second World War the Bell Radio-Television Corporation became, and remained the largest and fastest growing. The origins of the company go back to 1947 when two young returned servicemen, O'Brien and Stewart, went into business with the idea of making hearing aids. However, this idea was abandoned before any production had commenced and, instead, the two decided to manufacture a then new type of portable radio, one that would work on both mains and batteries. The design of this set was quite unique in that it had separate interchangeable battery and mains power units which plugged into a recess in its base resulting in a set of extremely small dimensions and light weight.
By 1948 production of the 'Antone' portable, as it was known, was underway at 347 Queen Street, Auckland, the factory at that time being an upstairs room. A modified and slightly larger version superseded the original model in 1950 and in the same year a small 4-valve AC set known as the Antone 'Cadet' was produced.
At about this time a third person, Mr A. Bell, joined Antone Ltd. Al Bell was a man with considerable business acumen and an ambition to be first in the field in the production of television receivers. (Al Bell registered Bell Radio Television Corp. Ltd. on 22 November 1948 with a capital of £700.) Not long after his appearance on the scene the two original members of the group pulled out of the company leaving Al Bell in control. The inclusion of the word 'television' in the company title at this early date was an indication of Bell's intentions.
22nd November 1948 Al Bell registered private company Bell Radio-Television Corp. Ltd., with a capital of £700.
In August 1952 Al Bell established Precision Press Products Ltd., to manufacture metal chassis components. This company ceased business in 1990.
December 1957. A £200,000 public company, Bell Radio Television Holdings Ltd., is floated in Auckland. Capital: £200,000 in 400,000 10s ordinary shares. Initial subscribers: A. Bell, C. A. Rouse and G. H. Turner 400 shares each; A. Bell and S. P. Cotter, one share jointly; Joan E. Bell, N. C. Gore and B. P. Hopkins, one share each. - Objectives: To acquire shares in Bell Radio-Television Corp, Ltd., and to deal in financial commercial trading, etc,.
In August 1965 Bell Radio-Tv buys one year old plastic company for £15,430 (in Bell ordinary shares valued at 36s per share) and renames it Auto Blo (Auckland) Ltd. He sees potential for toy making.
September 1965 Bell opens Hostel For Ladies next to Dominion Rd. factory. Mainly for use by employees of Bell Radio-Tv. Able to accommodate 26 young ladies in single rooms. Bedding supplied and laundered free. Cost £2 10s includes tea and toast breakfast. Overseen by Manageress who keeps motherly eye on the younger girls. Male visitors restricted in lounge and no alchohol allowed.
1974 Bell Radio-Tv and Dominion Radio and Electrical Corp. Ltd (Dreco) merged resulting in the formation of Consolidated Electronic Industries Ltd. Other company names followed. Consolidated Audio Ltd, Atlas Majestic Industries Ltd. (Otahuhu).
April 1978 the ordinary shares of Bell Radio Television Holdings, Ltd., are removed from the Stock Exchange list upon virtual completion of take-over by Atlas Majestic Industries Ltd. 21st July decision by directors to repay outstanding debentures together with interest within 14 days.