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Encyclopedia > Thorn EMI
Thorn EMI logo
Thorn EMI logo

Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics, music, defence and retail. It was created in October 1977 when THORN Electrical Industries merged with EMI to form one of the largest operating companies in the United Kingdom. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... THORN Electrical Industries Ltd. ... The EMI Group (LSE: EMI) is a British music company comprising of the major record company EMI Music which operates several labels, based in Kensington in London, England, and EMI Music Publishing, based in New York. ...



Thorn EMI's wide range of business covered four principal areas of activity; retail/rentals, defence, music and consumer electronics.

Retail and rental

Radio Rentals, DER and Rumbelows (which was sold in 1995) Radio Rentals United Kingdom logo that was used in the 1990s Radio Rentals was formed in 1932 to rent out radio sets. ... DER was formed in 1938 by THORN Electrical Industries Ltd. ... Rumbelows - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ...


From its formation until the mid-1990s Thorn EMI was one of the United Kingdom's largest defence companies.

Thorn EMI acquired the MEL division of Philips in 1990. This company was involved in radar, electronic warfare and communications. The MEL communications business was sold to Thomson-CSF. Philips HQ in Amsterdam Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (Royal Philips Electronics N.V.), usually known as Philips, (Euronext: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) is one of the largest electronics companies in the world, founded and headquartered in the Netherlands. ... Thomson-CSF was a major electronics and defense contractor. ...

In 1995 the various defence businesses were sold:

  • Thorn EMI Electro Optics to Pilkington Optronics
  • Thomson Thorn Missile Electronics to Thomson-CSF
  • Thorn Sensors Group to Racal (to become Racal-Thorn Wells)

Thales Optronics is a major unit of Thales Group and has three main subsidiaries: Thales Optronics Ltd. ... Racal Electronics plc was a British defence electronics firm purchased by Thomson-CSF (now Thales Group) in 2000. ...


The EMI label expanded greatly as part of Thorn EMI. In 1989 Thorn EMI bought a 50% interest in Chrysalis Records, buying the outstanding 50% in 1991. In one of its highest-profile and most expensive acquisitions, Thorn EMI took over Richard Branson's Virgin Records in 1992. The EMI Group (LSE: EMI) is a British music company comprising of the major record company EMI Music which operates several labels, based in Kensington in London, England, and EMI Music Publishing, based in New York. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Chrysalis logo (1987-2005) Chrysalis Records is a record label that was created in 1969. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, the lead section of this article may need to be expanded. ... Virgin Records is a British recording label founded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, and Nik Powell in 1972. ...

Computer Software

Main article: Creative Sparks

In the early-to-mid 1980's, Thorn EMI released a number of games for several home computer formats, initially under their own name. They received a lukewarm reception with no major hits. These included Gold Rush, Road Racer and Volcanic Planet (1983) and River Rescue (1984). The label was later renamed Creative Sparks. Various issues of River Rescue under Thorn EMI, Creative Sparks, Sparklers and Alternative Software labels. ... Namcos Pac-Man was a hit, and became a universal phenomenon. ... Children playing on a Amstrad CPC 464 in the 1980s. ... Various issues of River Rescue under Thorn EMI, Creative Sparks, Sparklers and Alternative Software labels. ...

Security Systems

Thorn Security installed and serviced all types of electronic security systems from their bases around the UK. The business was absorbed into ADT soon after the EMI demerger and all but a handful of the famous red 'THORN' bellboxes replaced. However, the Fire products especially are still to be found in many premises and until recently spares and complete systems of Thorn heritage continued to be manufactured by ADT. ADT is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below: Abstract data type, a computer programming term Asynchronous data transer, a method of transferring data Automatic double tracking, an audio recording technology invented for The Beatles American Discovery Trail, a coast-to-coast hiking trail across the mid...

Business Communications

This division, based in Marlow provided hotels with televisions and related equipment. It also embarked upon a project called Hotel 3000 which provided interactive Set-Top-Boxes for hotel rooms in the late 1980s.

Advanced Product Development Centre

This small subsidiary further developed existing products as well as introducing new ones. It was based in St.Lawrence House, Broad Street, Bristol and employed the following people:

  • Derek Williams
  • John Peacock
  • Jan Wojna
  • Alan Drake
  • Frank Shirvani
  • John Linney
  • Martyn Wyatt
  • Dawn Chick
  • Rachel Bessel

Consumer electronics

Ferguson Radio Corporation was owned by Thorn EMI and it made consumer electronics like TV sets, VCRs, etc. TVs were designed and manufactured by Ferguson in the UK until around the early 1990s, although before this, some Thomson-designed models were introduced to the Fergsuon range of TVs for sale in the UK. Some of these Thomson-based models were even manufactured in the UK, although in later years, these models were made outside the UK by Thomson. Ferguson Radio Corporation was a British company which made radios and, later, televisions. ... Consumer electronics is a term used to describe the category of electronic equipment intended for everyday use by people, the consumers. ... “TV” redirects here. ... The videocassette recorder (or VCR, more commonly known in the British Isles as the video recorder), is a type of video tape recorder that uses removable videotape cassettes containing magnetic tape to record audio and video from a television broadcast so it can be played back later. ...

By 1992, the Ferguson TV factory in Gosport had closed, ending a long period of manufacturing of Ferguson TVs in the UK. Gosport is a town and district in Hampshire with around 77,000 inhabitants (including Lee-on-the-Solent), situated on the south coast of England. ...

VCRs were sourced until the early 1990s by a joint company called J2T, established by JVC, Thorn (Ferguson) and Telefunken. From around 1991, VCRs were sourced from Thomson alone. Victor Company of Japan, Limited ) (TYO: 6792 ), usually referred to as JVC, is an international consumer and professional electronics corporation based in Yokohama, Japan which was founded in 1927. ... Thorn, a sharp structure or growth on plants. ... Telefunken is a German radio- and television company, founded in 1903. ...

One important aspect of Thorn EMI’s business was its ability to manufacture, say, one of its Ferguson televisions and then to make it available for rental through its rentals sector or sell it through its retail sector.

Prism Micro Products was owned by Thorn EMI for a short period in the 1980s. Prism Micro Products Limited was a British company (Registered No. ...

Domestic appliances

Kenwood Manufacturing Co. Ltd.: The company is now owned by the Italian company De Longhi. First established by entrepreneur Ken Wood in 1947, Kenwood started life as Woodlau Industries before changing its name to Kenwood shortly afterwards. ...

Thorn EMI Video

Thorn EMI Video was established in 1977 and produced three made for video films for the British market: Cross Country (film) (1977), and Strange Invaders (1984) and Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984). Thorn EMI became popular with rental stores. In the US Thorn EMI released films on video from various film companies including Orion Pictures (The Terminator, First Blood) and New Line Cinema (The Evil Dead, Xtro). Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... Strange Invaders was a spoof science-fiction film made in 1983, as a tribute to the 1950s films, but notably The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. ... Bloodbath at the House of Death is a comedy horror film produced in 1983 by the late British comedian, Kenny Everett, and starred Vincent Price. ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Terminator (also known as Terminator in some early trailers and posters) is a 1984 science fiction/action film featuring former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger in what would become his best-known role, and also starred Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. ... For the David Morrell novel, see First Blood (book). ... New Line Cinema, founded in 1967, is one of the major American film studios. ... For other uses, see The Evil Dead (disambiguation). ... Xtro video cover Xtro is a low-budget British science fiction/horror film made in 1983 and directed by Harry Bromley Davenport and co-produced by Bob Shaye. ...

Thorn EMI joined HBO in 1985 to be named Thorn EMI HBO Video. In 1986, Cannon films bought Thorn EMI's video library, but HBO stayed and became HBO/Cannon Video. Cannon left operations and was eventually just called HBO Video in 1987. HBO (Home Box Office) is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner. ... HBO (Home Box Office) is an American premium cable television network. ...


On August 16, 1996, Thorn EMI shareholders voted in favour of demerger proposals. The company became EMI Group plc, and the electronics and rentals divisions were divested as Thorn plc. is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... The EMI Group (LSE: EMI) is a British music company comprising of the major record company EMI Music which operates several labels, based in Kensington in London, England, and EMI Music Publishing, based in New York. ...


  • Thales plc About Thales UK: Our History Retrieved Jan. 20, 2006

  Results from FactBites:
Address EMI Music - Contact information (3623 words)
In 1957, EMI entered the American market by purchasing a controlling 96% stake in Capitol Records, a move necessitated by the recent severing of long-established licensing arrangements with RCA Victor and Columbia Records.
On August 16, 1996, Thorn EMI shareholders voted in favour of demerger proposals.
Four years later EMI and Time Warner announced they were to merge, before the plans were vetoed by European anti-trust laws.
High performance working research project: Thorn Lighting Ltd - Employment Sector (3849 words)
Thorn Lighting, Ltd. was founded in 1928 in the United Kingdom by Jules Thorn and subsequently became part of the Thorn-EMI Group.
Thorn regards its strength as lying in the ability to be a leading player in an increasingly global market whilst, at the same time, fulfilling the requirements of customers and markets at a local level.
Thorn Lighting is undertaking a capital investment programme under its new owner, which includes a new purpose-built distribution centre at Spennymoor, an international expansion programme as a global competitor, a special niche in the local community as a corporate citizen and a committed, skilled workforce who want to continue to grow.
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