History of Allied Radio & Allied Electronics Corporation:
Over the years, Allied Radio/AlliedElectronics has built an enviable reputation as a distributor of electronic components. Here is a timeline through their fascinating, eight and a half decade history.
■ 1928: Allied Radio (now known as Allied Electronics) is a company with a long history. On
August 6, 1928, the company was started by Chicago industrialist Simon "Sy" Wexler when he was only 31 years old. Simon Wexler associated with noteworthy entrepreneurs. Simon, Jay Pritzker (founder of the Hyatt Hotel chain), and industrialist Henry Crown rode the train weekly from Chicago to New York when Henry Crown was building the Empire State Building. Simon Wexler was also remembered as a philanthropist who even had the mental health clinic named after him at Michael Reese Hospital.
Simon Wexler had three notable sons: HASKELL WEXLER: nominated for five Academy Awards and winner of two Oscars for Best Cinematography. JERROLD WEXLER: Chairman of Jupiter Industries, a Chicago holding company with interests in real estate, retailing and industry. Stepfather of Chicago-born actress Daryl Hannah. YALE WEXLER: A major hotel and real estate developer in the Chicago area, with a long career in the theater and in Hollywood, appearing in a number of movies and television shows during the 50's & 60's. He was the classmate of Andy Warhol and his actor's group included Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
Initially, Allied Radio's purpose was to distribute radio parts for Columbia Radio Corp. At the time, Allied Radio occupied a building at 711 W. Lake Street in Chicago, IL (building shown above). Coincidentally, this address was also used by Columbia Radio Corporation from 1926-1927, Hamilton-Carr Radio Corporation from 1927-28, and Randolph Radio Corporation in 1928.
■ 1932: Allied was selling electronic parts by catalog. Storefront sales operations were established with the goal of selling to amateur radio operators and electronics experimenters. The company built a growing business in marketing radio parts and kits to home hobbyists, and was one of the first to sell electronics through a catalog. In addition, Allied opened storefront distribution outlets to reach more amateur ham radio operators and experimenters. During this time, Allied moved to 833 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL. Allied's main competitors were Radio Shack, Lafayette Radio, Olson Electronics, Newark Electronics, Burstein-Applebee Co, and local independent dealers (such as WinterRadio). Allied's primary house brands included "Allied" and "Knight-Kit".
■ 1941-45: Having survived the depression, Allied focused on the war effort, primarily servicing government contracts and high-priority industrial orders. During WWII, Allied devoted itself to the war effort by handling government contracts and high-priority industrial needs. This was Allied's first real experience in industrial electronics. After the war, Allied continued to sell to the consumer and industrial markets. Interestingly, Simon Wexler, then owner of Allied Radio Corporation, listed his occupation in the 1940 U.S. Census as being a "manufacturer" in the "wholesale furniture" industry.
■ 1946-60: The electronics industry exploded as new developments in electronics were adopted on a widespread basis in commerce and industry. Innovations such as television, industrial automation, space technology and defense accelerated the need for electronics. Consumer demand also grew as radio sets and components not available during the war proliferated. During this exciting era, Allied gained both the experience and specialized staff necessary to handle both consumer and industrial sales. Allied's main competitors were Radio Shack, Lafayette Radio, Olson Electronics, Newark Electronics, Burstein-Applebee Co., and local independent dealers (such as WinterRadio). Allied's primary house brands included "Allied", "Knight", and "Knight-Kit".
■ 1953: Allied Radio Corporation moves into its new, 2 million dollar building at 100 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL. This "ultra-modern" facility was designed by experts to give their customers the best service in the industry. The new building covered a full city block and provided 147,000 sq. ft. of efficient floor space for better, faster service. It included pneumatic tubes and conveyors to carry transactions and merchandise on a speedy order-filled schedule that cut hours off normal handling time.
■ 1961: Allied Radio Corporation established Allied Electronics Corporation as a wholly owned subsidiary to assume industrial sales of its small electronic components, relays, semi-conductors and the like which accounted for more than one-third of Allied's $40 million annual sales.
■ 1962: The first industrial catalog for Allied Electronics, a subsidiary of Allied Radio, was released. The company continued to serve both amateur and professional ham radio operators as one of the few places to locate that "hard to get" piece of radio equipment.
■ 1967: Allied Radio Corporation acquired by LTV Ling Altec, Inc., a subsidiary of Ling-Temco-Vought.
■ 1970: LTV Ling Altec, Inc. sold Allied Radio Corporation to Tandy Corporation, of Fort Worth, TX for about $30 million. The transaction included some $12 million in cash with Ling Altec retaining certain Allied assets.
■ 1970: Allied has 21 regional locations. Allied moved its headquarters from Chicago, Illinois to Fort Worth, Texas because 1970 marked the year when Radio Shack's parent company, the Tandy Corporation (now Radio Shack Corporation) , purchased Allied Electronics and Allied Radio. On the consumer side, the new firm became known as Allied Radio Shack. Allied Electronics, with their new "computerized order tracking systems," boasted the highest percentage of filled orders in the country.
■ 1970: For their 1971 calendar year, Tandy introduced combined catalogs of Allied Radio Shack stereo equipment, computers, phones, CB radios, scanners, speakers, antennas, P.A. systems, walkie-talkies, radios, electronic components, test equipment, electronic kits, & more. Allied Radio Shack catalogs from 1971 can be found on the RadioShack Catalogs website.
■ 1970: The retail division was merged with Tandy's retail unit to become Allied Radio Shack. But as a result of the merger, many major shopping centers would have two Allied Radio Shack stores competing for the same dollars. As a result, the former Allied Radio storefronts would fade away, with the former Radio Shack stores taking on both product lines (and the expense of the extra inventory.) This was in some ways a more difficult task as the original Radio Shack storefronts were typically smaller than the Allied Radio stores.
■ 1972: The catalog is now a treasure trove for persons tracking down old components when trying to restore old professional and industrial equipment. Essex/Stancor, UTC, Switchcraft, Dialco, Arrow-Hart, Sprague, Fairchild, Robertshaw, Centralab, Belden, Sigma, Magnecraft, C. P. Clare, Amphenol, Shure, Electro-Voice, Sola, Simpson, Superior Electric, Hurst, RCA, Elmenco, ADC, H. H. Smith, are only some of the brand names represented. Interspersed with the major pro names were Micronta, Realistic, and other Radio Shack "consumer level" house brands.
■ 1973: Due directly to federal court action, Tandy was ordered to divest itself of Allied Radio. But by that time with the purging of duplicate stock and closing of low volume stores, there was very little left to sell off. To satisfy the Justice Department's antitrust suit, Tandy Corporation agreed to sell some of its Allied Radio stores. Seizing the opportunity to buy Allied stores, Richard (Dick) Schaak, then owner of Schaak Electronics headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, purchased not only 8 Allied stores in Chicago, but 19 Allied stores in other locations. After this 27 store acquisition, Schaak Electronics was now double its original size and the Tandy retail stores would once again bear the Radio Shack name. Read more about Dick Schaak and the history of Schaak / Allied Electronics and their Catalogs.
■ 1980s: Since Tandy did not have a commercial-industrial supply division, Allied Electronics would continue as a "Division of Tandy Corporation" that served the manufacturing sector until the mid-1980s when it began to change owners again.
■ 1981: Allied began the process of moving from an all manual system to a fully computerized company. The process was completed in 1985. Allied Electronics was aquired by Spartan Manufacturing.
■ 1995: Allied is the first electronics distribution company to come out with a CD-ROM catalog and quickly followed-up by entering the e-commerce arena with the launch of a web site.
Allied's main competitors were Radio Shack, Newark Electronics, Digi-Key, Jameco, and Mouser Electronics.
■ 1997: Allied Electronics was aquired by Avnet Company, a distributor of electronic components, including connectors and semiconductors, technology solutions, computer products and embedded technology.
■ 1999: Electrocomponents Group of the United Kingdom acquired Allied Electronics. Allied has now added a global presence to their customer orientation. That year, Allied had 69 sales offices generating $178m in sales.
■ 2007: Allied Electronics moves to its new 357,000 sq. ft. warehouse and office facility in Fort Worth, TX.
■ Today: Allied Electronics is a small order, high service level distributor of electronic components and electromechanical products with over 50 sales offices across the United States and in Canada. With more than two million parts online and more than 110,000 products featured in the Allied Catalog, engineers and purchasers often look to Allied for a broad range of product solutions from over 300 world-class suppliers. Allied Electronics and RS Components are trading brands of Electrocomponents plc, the world's leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products headquartered in Oxford, England. Allied Electronics continues to sell electronic components by catalog and Internet ordering.
■ Future: The combination of Allied's commitment to a high level of customer service and Electrocomponents' global reach delivers a very powerful supply chain solution to meet future customer demands.
Excerpts derived from: http://www.alliedelec.com