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A Brief History of Kolster Brandes and its subsequent names

Kolster Brandes - KB
1908 Brandes, A Canadian company founded in Toronto
1920 International Telephone & Telegraph founded in New York
1922 Brandes became part of AT&T
1924 British subsidiary Brandes Ltd. was established in Slough, to manufacture headphones and Loudspeakers
1928 American parent company became "Kolster Radio Corporation of America",
1928 Moved to a former silk mill at Foots Cray, Kent.

Brandes and Kolster merged.
1930 KB supplied 40,000 of its Masterpiece two-valve, Bakelite cabinet radios to the Godfrey Phillips tobacco company, who gave them away to customers in exchange for cigarette coupons.
1931 the production peaked to 2000 sets per day (The KB "Pup" and KB "Kobra" from circa 1931 have a label on the back stating "This instrument has been manufactured under licence from Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd." which would suggest an association with, although not ownership by STC, by 1931 if not earlier.
1938 KB became part of ITT's British subsidiary STC
1933 Brimar, another STC company founded to manufacture American pattern valves for the British market
1960/61 STC took over Ace, Argosy, Regentone and RGD.
1968 Approximately, KB logo name changed to ITT KB
1973 – 1974 KB was dropped from the logo and sets were now just ITT.

Information from Wikipedia and other sources

KR022 Commodore dated 1967 had the KB logo.
KR028 dated October 1968 had the ITT KB logo.
KR606 Rhapsody 2000 FM which dates from March 1971 badged ITT KB
The WEEKEND AUTOMATIC dated from 1973 badged ITT KB
Weekend Automatic with ITT logo
Golf Electronic from 1974

Past addresses for Kolster Brands & ITT Consumer Products in the UK
Kolster Brandes Ltd, Cray Works, Foots Cray, Nr Sidcup, Kent.
ITT Consumer Products Ltd, Maidstone Road, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 5HT. If you put this post code into Google maps it shows it is in the centre of Foots Cray Meadows
ITT Consumer Products (UK) Ltd, Eldonwall Industrial Estate, Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent,
ITT Consumer Products (UK) Ltd, Chesterhall Lane, Basildon, Essex. (This was in the STC factory)
ITT Consumer Products
(UK) Ltd, Paycock Road, Basildon, Essex, SS14 3DR

The other service departments are shown as;
Eldenwall Industrial Estate, Elden Way, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge Kent.
3 Glenfield Road, Kelvin Industrial Estate, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

Photo of the KB site at Foots Cray c. 1950. Click on image to enlarge.
The corner of Maidstone Rd and Palm Ave. is in the bottom right corner

Photo of the same site at Foots Cray c. 2019.
The KB factory has long gone, replaced by what looks like a retail park.


Standard Telephones and Cables - STC
A brief summary of its considerable contribution to the Telecommunications Industry

1883 The company STC began life in London as International Western Electric
1910 Western Electric Ltd’s Incorporation as a British legal entity.
1925 STC was bought out by the American ITT corporation until mid 1982 owned by ITT of the USA.
1932 multi-channel transmission
1934 microwave transmission
1936 development of coaxial cabling
1936 - 39 The entire radio systems for the liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth
1938 STC acquired KB and became part of ITT's conglomerate.
1938 the patenting of pulse code modulation
1953 Technical milestones were numerous and were crowned by the coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation.
1966 Charles Kao of STC's Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in Harlow demonstrated that light rather than electricity could be used to transmit speech and (even more importantly) data accurately at very high speeds.
1971 STC, installed a fully digital (PCM) software controlled telephone exchange at Moorgate in the City of London.
1977 a commercial fibre optic link had been installed in England.
1979 - 1982 ITT needed to raise cash to fund continued development of its telephone switching system (System 12) and sold off all but a minority shareholding of STC
1982 Before a politically engineered withdrawal STC and its (now equally defunct) partners, Plessey and GEC, developed the fully digital System X switch which is still in service in many UK facilities in 2005
1980s The remainder of the 1980s saw STC lose its way. An attempt to enter the mainframe computer market with the take-over of ICL, led to financial strains. The rationale was the convergence of computing and telecoms but the vision was too early. Almost immediately STC had financial problems and ICL was ring fenced to preserve it as a profit centre.
1991 with an ageing workforce, loss of business from the newly privatised BT, production spread over too many expensive sites and no clear leadership succession to its former chairman, Sir Kenneth Corfield, STC was bought by Northern Telecom (Nortel).

Information from Wikipedia and other sources


International Telephone & Telegraph - ITT
1920 International Telephone & Telegraph was formed, created (with encouragement from New York) by brokers Colonel Sosthenes Behn and his brother Hernand. The brothers had acquired the Puerto Rico Telephone Company in 1914 along with the Cuban-American Telephone and Telegraph Company and a half-interest in the Cuban Telephone Company.
1923 IT&T's first major expansion was when it consolidated the Spanish Telecoms market into what is now Telefónica
1922 - 1925 IT&T purchased a number of European telephone companies.
1925 ITT purchased several companies from Western Electric's international operation, including the Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company (BTM) of Antwerp, Belgium, (which manufactured rotary system switching equipment), and the British International Western Electric, renaming it Standard Telephones and Cables (STC).
1928 In the United States, ITT acquired the various companies of the Mackay Companies through a specially organised subsidiary corporation, Postal Telegraph & Cable. These companies included the Commercial Cable Company, the Commercial Pacific Cable Company, Postal Telegraph, and the Federal Telegraph Company.
1930s, ITT grew through purchasing German electronic companies Standard Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft (SEG) and Mix & Genest, both of which were internationally active companies.
1951 ITT purchased Philo Farnsworth's television company to break into that market.
1951 ITT bought a majority interest in the Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company, founded in 1897 as a pioneer in "divided-multiple" telephone switchboards, and bought the remaining shares the next year. ITT changed the company's name to ITT Kellogg. After merging Federal Telephone and Radio Corporation into ITT Kellogg and combining manufacturing operations the name was again changed to ITT Telecommunications, eventually reverting to ITT Kellogg. One prominent subsidiary of this was the American Cable and Radio Corporation, which operated the transatlantic cables of the Commercial Cable Company, among other ventures.
1970 ITT owned 70% of Chitelco (the Chilean Telephone Company) and funded El Mercurio, a Chilean right-wing newspaper. Declassified documents released by the CIA in 2000 suggest that ITT financially helped opponents of Salvador Allende's government prepare a military coup. On September 28,
1972 Newspaper columnist Jack Anderson disclosed a memo of ITT's Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, which revealed a relationship between ITT's providing funds for the Republican National Convention and a Justice Department settlement of an antitrust suit favourable to ITT.
1973 An ITT building in New York City, New York, was bombed by the Weather Underground for alleged involvement in the September 11th overthrow of the democratically elected socialist government in Chile.
1995 With Araskog still at the helm, ITT Corporation split into three separate public companies: ITT Corp, ITT Hartford (insurance), ITT Industries.
1996 ITT Industries Inc, the current company, was founded as a spin-off of the original ITT Corporation.
1997 ITT Corp. completed a merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, selling off its non-hotel and resorts business.
1999, ITT Corp completely divested from ITT/ESI; however, the schools still operate as ITT Technical Institute using the ITT name under license.
1999, ITT Corp. dropped the ITT name in favour of Starwood.
2006, On July 1, ITT Industries changed its name to ITT Corporation as a result of its shareholders vote on May 9, 2006.continues to be a major manufacturing and defence contractor business.
2011 ITT spun off its defence businesses into a company named ITT Exelis, and its water technology business into a company named Xylem Inc.

Information from Wikipedia and other sources



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 Last modified: 27-04-2021
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