Thorn Electrical Industries

  (Redirected from THORN Electrical Industries)

Thorn Electrical Industries Limited was an electrical engineering business. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange, but merged with EMI Group to form Thorn EMI in 1979. It was de-merged in 1996 and became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, but was acquired by the Japanese Nomura Group only two years later.

Thorn Electrical Industries
IndustryElectrical engineering
SuccessorThorn EMI
HeadquartersLondon, UK


Sir Jules Thorn and Alfred Deutsch founded the company in March 1928 as The Electric Lamp Service Company Ltd. Thorn had worked in England as a travelling salesman for Olso, an Austrian manufacturer of gas mantles. When Olso went bankrupt, Thorn decided to stay in England. Deutsch, an Austrian engineer, visited Thorn in 1928 and was persuaded to stay to help organize the company's production process.[1]

In 1932, Thorn acquired the Atlas Lamp Works and began making light bulbs in Edmonton, North London. The company grew rapidly to become Thorn Lighting, one of the world's largest producers of lamps, luminaires and lighting components. The name changed to Thorn Electrical Industries in November 1936. The company later began to diversify by buying Ferguson Radio Corporation in the late 1950s and Ultra Radio & Television in 1961.[2]

In 1965, Thorn took over local Edmonton firm Glover and Main, gas-appliance manufacturers. Thorn manufactured television sets in Australia.[3]

Other notable brands within the Thorn group over the years included Radio Rentals, DER (both TV rental), Rumbelows (electrical goods), Tricity (cookers and fridges), Kenwood (food mixers), Thorn Kidde (fire protection), TMD[4] (microwave equipment) and Mazda (light bulbs).

Merger with EMIEdit

In October 1979, Thorn merged with EMI to form Thorn EMI.[5]

On 16 August 1996, Thorn EMI shareholders voted in favour of de-merging Thorn. The electronics and rentals divisions were divested as Thorn plc.[6]

Future Rentals, a subsidiary of the Nomura Group, acquired Thorn in 1998.[7] It subsequently passed to Terra Firma Capital Partners which set up the BrightHouse chain. The remainder of the company was sold to a private buyer in June 2007.[8]


  1. ^ "His Master's Voice" (in German), in Kultur&Technik magazine, April 1998, accessed 2014-04-18
  2. ^ Vintage Technology: Ultra Electric
  3. ^ Competition Commission Report on Thorn Electrical Industries Archived 2009-09-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Company Background". TMD Technologies. TMD Technologies Limited. Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-06-16. TMD can trace its roots back to the early 1940s, when the microwave tube research division of EMI Electronics was established to develop high power klystrons, for use in the first airborne radars being developed during the Second World War. [...] In 1989, the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of THORN EMI Electronics [...] In 1995, THORN EMI sold the company to a "Management Buy Out" team, led by the Managing Director and, as TMD Technologies, it is now a wholly owned, fully independent private UK company.
  5. ^ EMI: a giant at war with itself Telegraph, 18 January 2008
  6. ^ Solid vote for Thorn demerger Independent, 17 August 1996
  7. ^ Normura will buy Thorn plc The Boston Globe, 1 July 1998
  8. ^ Thorn at Terra Firma

See alsoEdit