Tandberg, Lysaker, Norway
Founded in 1933 by Vebjorn Tandberg as Tandbergs Radiofabrikk (Tandberg's radio factory) in Oslo
Vebjørn Tandberg (16 September 1904 – 30 August 1978) was a Norwegian electronics engineer. An alumnus of the Norwegian
Institute of Technology, founded Tandbergs Radiofabrikk of Oslo in 1933, and made it a great success.
In addition to his technical and commercial achievements, Tandberg was a pioneer in providing good conditions for his workforce.
He instituted a 42 hour week and 3 weeks yearly vacation for all in 1937, and a free pension and health insurance scheme for all from 1938. A four week vacation for all employees over 40 years of age was introduced in 1947, while the working week was reduced to 39 hours in 1948. There was a five day work week during the summer months from 1955, over the full year from 1969.
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 a branch plant in Kjelsas (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.
The Kjelsas factory also started producing TV sets in 1960, and in 1966 a second TV plant was opened in Kjeller in Skedsmo. Color TV's were added to their lineup in 1969.
In 1972, Tandberg purchased Radionette, another large Norwegian electronics firm now focussing on televisions.
By 1976, TV's 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 Vebjorn 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 three parts.
The television manufacturing portions became Tandberg Television, 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.
Cisco Systems acquired Tandberg on 19 April 2010.
Go to stories about Tandberg