Written by Bryce Ringwood   

Grundig began with the opening of a store called Fuerth, Grundig and Wurzer in 1930 in Nuremberg, Germany. In 1945 Max Grundig built and sold two testing devices, the “Novatest” and “Tubatest” – the latter being a valve tester. In the same year the company moved premises from Schwacher Strasse into a former factory on the Jakobinersrasse.

In 1946, the “Heinzellmann” was devised. This was a radio kit for short, medium and long waves. It became so successful that a further move to new premises on the site of a former spa bath on the Kurgartenstrasse was made.

The company continued to expand and produced a complete superhet radio- the “Weltklang”. Over 150 000 were produced.. In 1949, a portable radio to be named the “Grundig Boy” was developed and became a a popular model. The 1950s an 60s saw many popular models being introduced. The most popular models I encounter in South Africa are those based on the model 5077 and have 4 or more speakers and a “bar graph” type “multisonic” tone control. The sound quality from these sets is (to my mind) better than anything produced today. (Even better than the Tivoli Audio, although you wouldn't want a Grundig model 5077 on your bedside table).

Grundig also made tape recorders in Northern Ireland in 1960. The managing director of the plant was killed by the provisional IRA in 1973 and the factory was closed in 1980.

The introduction of FM broadcasting and Television in the '50s ensured that the company would grow until the 1970s. In 1972 Grundig became Grundig AG. At this point Philips began to acquire shares in the company, assuming complete control in 1993. Philips later resold Grundig to a Bavarian consortium in 1998 due to unsatisfactory performance. In 2001, Grundig lost over 1 billion Euro, and the company was declared insolvent in 2003. The brand lives on, however, with various manufacturers licensed to use the Grundig brand. Perhaps the most well-known being the Eton Corporation, based in Palo Alto, California who make the shortwave radios.

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