Telephone Works, Coventry




Milestones in GEC Telecommunications

1886 The General Electrical Apparatus Co. formed. Published world's first electrical catalogue which included telephones
1888 Telephones and Switchboards among first products of factory opened in Manchester.
1889 Name changed to The General Electric Company Limited
1903 Peel Works in Salford became the first factory in U.K. for exclusive production of telephone equipment. (Opened in Salford in 1893 after a fire at the Manchester factory).
1910 First 10 000 line manual exchange in U.K. installed in Glasgow.
1921 Telephone equipment production transferred from Salford to Peel-Conner Telephone Works, Copsewood, Coventry.
1922 Transmission Division formed to design and manufacture equipment for long-distance telephony.
1923 Production of radio sets, including Gecophone Crystal Sets, began at Copsewood.
1924 First GEC Strowger automatic telephone exchange installed in Dundee.
1926 First automatic telephone exchange installed in Coventry.
1929 Designed first unattended rural automatic exchange standardised by GPO.
1932 First GEC single-channel open-wire transmission system installed.
1936/7 Telephone and radio production expanded beyond capacity of much enlarged Copsewood site. Additional premises acquired in Whitefriars Street ex Coventry Swaging Co; Priory Street ex Triumph Motor Co; Ford Street ex Lea Francis Motor Co.
1939 Factories in Spon Street ex Rudge Whitworth Motor Cycle Co. and Queen Victoria Road ex A.C. Wickmans, acquired for expansion of wartime production including two-way radio for Battle of Britain fighter planes and airborne radar for nightfighters.
1940 Introduced transmission system for carrying 12 speech channels.
1945 Helen Street factory acquired from The Rover Co. for expansion to meet postwar demands for telecommunications services. Introduced coaxial-cable transmission system earning 600 speech channels.
1949 First microwave-radio transmission system in Europe opened carrying BBC Midlands TV service between London and Birmingham.
1954 First microwave-radio system across the Alps linked Germany and Italy in first Eurovision TV service.
1958 First STD exchange in UK opened by H.M. The Queen in Bristol.
1959 After 33 years service Coventry exchange in Hertford Street replaced by new exchange in Little Park Street.
1963 Began development of computers for telephone exchange control.
1964 First completely transistorised microwave-radio system introduced.
1965 First reed-electronic exchange in UK network installed at Leamington Spa.
1966 Began quantity production of reed-electronic exchanges.
1971 First computers in UK network supplied to control 100 Director Trunk exchanges.
1972 Supplied first pushbutton telephones in U.K.
1974 Strowger electro-mechanical telephone exchange production ceased in Coventry, replaced by electronic systems.
1977 Awarded development contracts for System X - Britain's new computer-controlled electronic digital telephone exchange system. Introduced computer-controlled digital PABX - Private Business Exchange Systems.
1980 First System X exchange installed in UK network. First high-capacity optical-fibre transmission system in UK installed.
1982 First export order for System X.
1983 System X trunk exchange installed in Coventry.
1986 Cable TV system opened in Glasgow.
Granted licence for and began planning new national mobile radio network.
  • The above was produced as an "information sheet" in 1986 for the GEC's Centenary

Last update: 23/07/10