The name EKCO was derived from its founder’s name – Eric Kirkham Cole. In the 1920s, EKCO began hand-making valve radios which were well-known for their stunning Bakelite cabinets, modelled by some of the major Art Deco designers of the 1930s and for their Noise Suppressor Control feature which limited the static noise received from weak signal transmissions.
EKCO was one of the first companies in Europe to adopt new plastic materials for the housing of its products and invested in large scale moulding presses for the new wonder material ‘Bakelite’. The majority of Bakelite products sold by major UK manufacturers up to the outbreak of war in 1939 were moulded in the EKCO plastics factory.
From 1938 onwards EKCO moved ahead with the development of affordable Television receivers and led the field with a low priced, add-on television unit that could be coupled to existing radios for TV reception. By 1955 EKCO was one of the largest manufacturers of TVs and Radios in the UK as well as being a leader in the plastic moulding industry.
In the 1950s and 1960s EKCO moved forward by launching the Ferranti range of radio receivers taking a controlling interest in Dynatron, the well-known manufacturer of radios and radiograms. EKCO car radios were standard fitting to most leading makes of cars and the company started manufacturing the newly fashionable tape recorders.
With its strong interest in the analogue Hi-Fi business particularly in audiophile tube electronic product development, IAG acquired the EKCO brand in September 2009 and released its first vintage tube electronic product, the EKCO EV55SE Integrated Amplifier. A range of Valve Radios, modelled on the Art Deco products that made EKCO famous, form part of the brand’s product range for 2010. In 2011 came the EV55DP CD player which locked the latest technology in a box that resembled the Ekco’s ethos of classical aesthetics and modern technology.