Tandberg

Norwegian electronics brand.

The company was founded by Vebjørn Tandberg as Tandbergs Radiofabrikk (the Tandberg Radio Factory) in Oslo in 1933. The company's first radio was named "Tommeliten", and used only earphones. This was followed by the "Corona" with a loudspeaker. In 1934, the first "Huldra" radio was launched, followed in 1936 by the "Sølvsuper". During the early years, radios, loudspeakers and microphones were the main output from the factory. The Sølvsuper and the Huldra radios became the foundation for Tandberg's success.

In the early 1950s, Tandberg opened another branch plant in Oslo to produce reel-to-reel tape recorders. Their first model was the TB 1, introduced to the market in 1952. Over the next decade, Tandberg quickly incorporated a number of leading-edge concepts; the TB 2 Hi Fi of 1956 had three tape transport speeds, allowing improved high-frequency response. The TB 3 Stereo from 1957 was Tandberg's first stereo system. In the 1960s Tandberg introduced the cross-field recording technique in the TB-6X model, allowing their recorders to handle higher frequencies than competing models. Tandberg licensed the concept to Akai, who used it widely in the 1970s and 80s in their Akai and Roberts recorders.

Tandberg tape recorders dominated the Norwegian market, and had a reputation for advanced technology and high quality at reasonable prices. It was on Tandberg reel-to-reel machines that President John F. Kennedy recorded many meetings in the Cabinet Room of the White House, including those associated with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1972, Tandberg purchased Radionette, another large Norwegian electronics firm now focusing on televisions. By 1976, TVs were Tandberg's major product and their factories employed 3,500. However, that same year a major economic downturn seriously disrupted the company, and by 1978 it was insolvent. A shareholder revolt removed Vebjørn Tandberg from control of the company, and he committed suicide in August. In December, the company declared bankruptcy.

In the aftermath of the bankruptcy, the original Tandberg was split into two parts. Tandberg Data took over the tape recording side of the company and moved it purely into the computer storage field, and the remaining portions lost the "Radiofabrikk" to become, simply, Tandberg.

In 1984, the consumer audio equipment division was spun off to become Tandberg Audio.

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