Philips is a Dutch company located in Amsterdam. They have a number of different divisions within the company that focus on different specific areas. The main divisions include Lighting, Healthcare, and Consumer Lifestyle. The company has been in existence for well over a hundred years. Today, the building where the company started is actually a museum. Philips is one of the largest companies producing electronic devices in the entire world.
Gerard Philips founded the company in 1891 with the financial backing of his father, a banker. The start of the company was rather small, with a single building for a factory in Eindhoven. The company started to produce a variety of early products that would help the fledgling electronics industry. They made carbon filament lamps and a number of other electro tech products.
The early years were actually very hard for the company, and they were near bankruptcy by the time Anton Philips joined the company. Anton, Gerard brother, had a wealth of good ideas as well as a degree in engineering. The company started to do quite a bit better, and they added more divisions to their business, including Philips Metal Filament Lamp Factory Inc., and Philips Light Bulb Factories Inc.
By the time the 1920s came, they started making other products and expanding their area of expertise. They started making vacuum tubes. In 1939, they created their first electric razor, which they marketed in the United States under the brand Norelco. They also created the Chapel radio.
Few people know that in 1927, Philips even had their own shortwave radio station. They developed a number of programs over the next few years. In 1940, when the Germans invaded, the Nazis actually used the transmitters for their own broadcasts. After the war, the two stations from Philips Radio became Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
During the war, the Philips family fled to the United States, and they actually ran the company from the States throughout the war as the North American Philips Company. The only member of the Philips family to stay in the Netherlands during the war was Frits Philips. He was running the manufacturing part of the business, and was able to convince the Nazis to spare the lives of 382 Jewish people. He told the Nazis that if they wanted the production at the factory to continue, they would need to leave the Jewish employees there to work, as they were necessary for the factory to operate at full capacity. In 1943, he actually had to spend time at an internment camp for political prisoners because of a strike at the factory.
After the war, things started to get back to normal at Philips. In 1949, they started to sell television sets, and they formed Philips Records in 1950. They created the compact audio cassette tape in 1963. This proved to be very popular for businesses, as it was perfect for dictation. Journalists also started to use this. They launched the first VCR in 1972. The device, the N1500, was sold in England. The tapes were able to record between 40 and 45 minutes in the beginning, but they were eventually able to record up to an hour. They soon saw competition in the form of Beta Max and VHS.
Philips has always been ahead of the game when it comes to advanced media. They developed the LaserDisc for movies, but held off on launching it so they did not cut into their sales of video recorders. They worked with MCA later to launch the first LaserDisc players. They worked with Sony in 1982 to create the CD, and then the DVD and Blu-ray.
Philips makes a wide range of products in the consumer electronics field today. They make popular televisions, smartphones, Blu-ray players, computer accessories, audio equipment, shavers, and domestic appliances. They make CR scanners, MRIs, and many other types of equipment for the healthcare industry, too.
The Philips brand remains very powerful today, and is a name instantly recognized by many consumers. They have a solid reputation in the field when it comes to many of their different products and devices, and they are consistently among the top consumer electronics companies in the world.