There aren’t many of us who haven’t owned or used a Philips product at some point in our lives. Just take a look around your home and there’s a good chance you’ll find that iconic blue lettering on some small household appliance or another.
Little noise is made about its headphones and earphones, but the company has been making listening equipment since the 1960s and has maintained a high standard of quality and audio fidelity since.
A brief history
The Philips Company was founded in 1891 as a producer of carbon-filament lamps and other electro-technical products. By the 1920s, it had expanded its product range to include vacuum tubes, among other products.
In 1927 Philips launched its own radio station, and in the early 1930s began manufacturing radios after helping to revive the Stirling engine as a viable power source. The company, being based in the Netherlands, was significantly affected by World War Two. The family who owned the company were forced to flee to the United States and ran it from there until the end of the war, at which point the company relocated back to the Netherlands.
Over the next few decades, Philips moved into audio-visual technology, producing and selling television sets and creating the Compact Audio Cassette tape in 1963. The company introduced its first headphones in the 60s, at the same time that brands such as Onkyo and Sennheiser were also bringing headphones to the table.
Philips introduced the cassette recorder, portable radio and video cassette recorder in 1972, and in 1982 launched the Compact Disc, leading to the 1997 launch of the CD-R, the CD-RW and the DVD, and the 2006 co-launch of Blu-Ray with Sony.
In 2013 the company planned to sell its audio and video divisions to Funai Electric, however the deal never went through, with Philips citing breach of contract on Funai’s part.