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RCA Radiotron Cunningham Radio Tube Type 6B7 With Carton, by RCA, New Jersey, 20th Century

Inventory Number: 78432

Number of documents: 2

Document Type: Miscellaneous Note

Document Heading: Inscription


"RCA 6B7 / 6.3V" printed on exterior surface of carton lid. "RCA MANUFACTUR- / ING COMPANY INC., / HARRISON, N.J." printed on interior surface of carton apron. "MADE IN U.S.A." printed on interior surface of carton apron.

Document Type: Miscellaneous Note

Document Heading: Manufacturer Details


In October 1919, the General Electric (GE) Company (US) founded the Radio Corporation of American (RCA). This was in response to the realisation by the US military and the US government that it would be advisory for American radio companies not to be controlled by foreign companies. This was in direct response to the returning of radio stations to the American Marconi Company - controlled by the British Marconi Company - at the end of the First World War. In November 1919, the American Marconi Company merged with RCA. RCA was founded as a separate company from GE with the aim of providing ship-to-shore and transoceanic communication. Up until the foundation of RCA Radiotron in 1930, the company had no separate manufacturing facilities and, instead, acted as a distribution agent for assorted GE and Westinghouse apparatus, including radio valves. It must, however, be noted that the aforementioned radio valves were sometimes marked as a 'radiotron' model from about 1921 onwards. Between 1930 and 1932, RCA Radiotron was reorganised as an independent company that manufactured as well as marketed electronic technologies. RCA continued to build upon this success and eventually became a conglomerate with a diverse range of technological interests. In 1986, the RCA Corporation (as it was then known) was bought back by GE.

Elmer Cunningham had been a popular producer of valves on the west coast of American since 1915. When RCA was founded in 1919, it immediately implemented legal proceedings against Cunningham for various patent infringements. The case was settled out of court by RCA in 1920 and Cunningham signed an agreement to produce assorted RCA valves by license, initially for 90 days and then extended until 1925. Initially, the valves produced had subtle differences - such as lacking a RCA logo - but by 1923 Cunningham and RCA valves were virtually identical. After 1925, RCA and Cunningham continued to be closely allied and when RCA Radiotron Inc. was founded in 1930, Elmer Cunningham was its first president. The 'Cunningham' brand continued until 1933 when the brandnames were combined into 'Radiotron Cunnigham'. Radio valve boxes from this era show a Cunningham logo on one side and an RCA logo on the other. The Cunningham name was dropped from tubes in 1936, but 'Cunningham' was revived as a separate brand after World War II.

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