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British Industrial History

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M. E. L. Equipment Co

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of Crawley, manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and electronic instruments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philips Industries.

1961 Previously called Mullard Equipment.

Mullard Equipment Ltd moved to Crawley in 1961. Later became The MEL Equipment Co Ltd, when it was still a Philips owned company, however, once the name was changed, the letters MEL was no longer an abbreviation for Mullard Equipment Ltd. Towards the end of its Philips ownership, this Crawley business became known as the MEL Division of Philips Electronic and Associated Industries Ltd.[1]

1964 M. E. L. Equipment and a French company agreed to develop components for the Concord (sic) aircraft[2]

By 1966 Philips' telecommunications subsidiary was known as Mullard Electronics Ltd[3]

1967 Philips Scientific Equipment was a division of MEL[4]

1968 Supplied automatic message routeing equipment to the Post Office [5]

1968 The Philips Scientific Equipment Division of M. E. L. Equipment Co. became part of Pye Unicam[6]

1969 Was one of the principal subsidiaries of N. V. Philips[7]:

1971 Acquired avionics plants at Southend and Glasgow from Pye with 750 redundancies[8]

1977 MEL was part of the Philips Group; one of its products was a microwave landing system for airfields, suitable for rough airfields and offshore platforms, and its precision approach system which was said to be better than conventional "talk-down" systems in poor visibility[9]

Near the end, there was also an MEL Defence Systems Ltd on Ottawa, Canada as a result of having a major defence contract for the Canadian Navy which required that a system designed in Crawley needed to be manufactured in Canada as condition of winning the Contract.

At the end of 1989 Thorn EMI acquired MEL, which was involved in radar, electronic warfare and communications. The MEL communications business was eventually sold to Thomson-CSF, who were allowed to call this business MEL Communications Ltd.

Before long, Thomson amalgamated MEL Communications Ltd. with Redifon Radio and it became know as Redifon-MEL Ltd. [10]

Thomson-CSF "badge engineered" the business as Thales, Redifon-MEL; it later became Thales Communications Ltd.[11]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Mike Keeping
  2. The Times, Jun 15, 1964
  3. The Times, Nov 25, 1966
  4. The Times, Sep 19, 1967
  5. The Engineer of 5th January 1968 p22
  6. The Times, Jul 01, 1968
  7. The Times, Jun 02, 1969
  8. The Times, Jan 27, 1971
  9. The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jun 02, 1977
  10. Mike Keeping
  11. Mike Keeping