Timeline

1901

Birth of Eric Kirkham Cole at 14th July.

1922

Cole started a small business manufacturing wireless “sets” of valve receivers at a production rate of 6 per week.

1924

Cole Devised and patented H.T. Eliminator.

1925

Cole started a partnership with Mr. W.S. Verrells which was a customer being extremely interested in the H.T. Eliminator.

1927

First (50-100 men) factory was build behind London Road – Leigh on Sea to accommodate the rapid growth.

1930

Start of using Bakelite and a new Factory in Priory Crescent in Southend and expanded shortly after.

1931

Compression-moulding presses were installed at the Southend factory.

1937

Introduction of the add-on television unit which was to be used in combination with existing radio receivers.

1939

EKCO entered the electric lamp market.

1939

The outbreak of the war caused EKCO to open a ‘shadow’ factory in Malmesbury. The resources were used for the development of standard Air Interception (AI) and the Anti-Surface Vessel (ASV).

1940

Opening of multiple ‘Shadow’ factories in Aylesbury, Woking and Rutherglen in Scotland.

1945

Southend started producing for the domestic market again, but EKCO continued the production of telecommunications, radar, electronic and nucleonic equipment at the other factories.

1949

Essex’s plant the Hadleigh started radio production. EKCO also started national production in India of radio receivers, components and electric devices. 

1953

EKCO’s expanding activities resulted in another formation of a new subsidiary; EKCO Electronics Ltd. which took care of the marketing of radars, VHF radio, nucleonic equipment, etc.

1955

Increasing demand for radio and television receivers caused the Southend factory to expand to 30.000 square feet.

1955

The plastics division, which is now one of the biggest producers of industrial mouldings and plastic domestic ware, installed vacuum sheet forming presses.

1955

A controlling interest was acquired in Dynatron Radio Ltd. which produced high-grade radio, radiograms, television and electronic equipment.

1956

ECKO introduced world’s first main/battery portable television receiver.

1957

The millionth television receiver left the ECKO factory. Ferranti Radio and Television Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary started selling receivers under the Ferranti trademark. 

1958

The EKCO heating equipment was being expanded with the complete range of domestic reflector fires and ‘Warmglow’ electric blankets.

1958

The EKCO car radio was being used by the most leading car brands and the ‘Superbath’ got awarded the Gold Seal for the Design of the Year Award by the Council of Industrial Design.

1958

Eric Cole received the CBE from Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

1959

The 1959 Radio Show experienced the Introduction of the slimmest television ever – the ‘Ekcovision’ portable.

1959

Extension of EKCO Plastics moulding shop was completed and so included the largest injection press which enabled the production of the first moulded refrigerator liners.

1960

Domestic manufacture encompassed mains and portable TV’s, mains and portable radios, radiograms, tape recorders, car radio’s electric heaters, thermotubes, electric blankets, plastic toilet seats, various plastic utensils, plastic bathroom fittings and ‘Superbath’ baby-baths.

1961

Resignation of Eric Cole and his son Derek Cole from the joint and the separate EKCO board.

1963

Start of developing colour television. Black and White television faced a strong decline in sales.

1964

The 625 line standard TV sets enter production in anticipation of launch of BBC-2.

1965

In this year, EKCO won the contract to develop the weather radar for Concorde.

1966

Death of Eric Kirkham Cole.

1967

Philips Electronics Industries emerged as the new owner of the business.

2005

International Audio Group Ltd. (IAG) acquired the trademark EKCO and it was added to it's portfolio of British and Japanese consumer audio brands including Wharfedale, Audiolab, Quad, Mission and Luxman to name but a few. 

2008

International Audio Group Ltd (IAG) begin to develop strategies for the relaunch of the EKCO brand. Utilisig their own expertise of audio equipment manufacturing and understanding the success of the 'golden age' of Ekco's early Bakelite radios, a plan was to develop a new consumer audio product range influenced by the retro charm of Eric Cole's original designs with a focus on high quality, enjoyable sound reproduction. 

2010

EKCO's new strategy was implemented, firstly featuring the release of the EV55SE, integrated vacuum tube amplifier. 

2012

EKCO announced and started producing the EV55DP, EKCO’s first CD-Player ever, at the end of the year. 

2014

With continued success and the unique offering of EKCO's retro influenced valve products combined with modern technologies, the EKCO EV55DP picks up a 5 Globe review with industry recognised Hi-Fi World Magazine, for being a 'Well designed KT88 valve amplifier that sounds clean and punchy'.

2016

While the new strategy of EKCO's valve amplifiers struck a chord with consumers, the range was extended with two power amplifiers, the EV55ST, stereo power amplifier and EV80M, mono power amplifier. 

 

 

Founder, Eric Kirkham Cole.

Founder, Eric Kirkham Cole.

An EKCO assembly line, 1932.

An EKCO assembly line, 1932.

An Ekco AD65 Wells Coates Radio from 1934.

An Ekco AD65 Wells Coates Radio from 1934.

EKCO's main assembly line, 1942.

EKCO's main assembly line, 1942.

Business partner, William Streatfield Verrells' Rolls Royce, 1932, fitted with an EKCO radio system.

Business partner, William Streatfield Verrells' Rolls Royce, 1932, fitted with an EKCO radio system.

EKCO manufacturing facility, Priory Crescent Southend-On-Sea, 1947.

EKCO manufacturing facility, Priory Crescent Southend-On-Sea, 1947.

1945 EKCO Malmesbury Factory Logo.

1945 EKCO Malmesbury Factory Logo.

EKCO was involved in the manufacturing of RAF machinery, indluding the Avro Anson plane.

EKCO was involved in the manufacturing of RAF machinery, indluding the Avro Anson plane.

A Lancaster cockpit wiring room, 1943.

A Lancaster cockpit wiring room, 1943.

EKCO A22 3-band Radio, 1945.

EKCO A22 3-band Radio, 1945.

An advert for the EKCO TMB 272 vacuum tube portable TV, 1956.

An advert for the EKCO TMB 272 vacuum tube portable TV, 1956.

International Audio Group's (IAG) 400,000 sq ft manufacturing facility.

International Audio Group's (IAG) 400,000 sq ft manufacturing facility.

Part of EKCO's current product line-up, the EV55SE vaccum tube amplifier.

Part of EKCO's current product line-up, the EV55SE vaccum tube amplifier.

Part of EKCO's current product line up, the EV55DP CD player, DAC & Preamp with valve output stage.

Part of EKCO's current product line up, the EV55DP CD player, DAC & Preamp with valve output stage.