The foundations for what was to become one of the world’s biggest electronics companies were laid in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 1891.
Philips began by making carbon-filament lamps and, by the turn of the century, was one of the largest producers in Europe. As developments in new lighting technologies fueled a steady program of expansion, in 1914 it established a research laboratory to study physical and chemical phenomena and stimulate product innovation.
In 1918, it introduced a medical X-ray tube. This marked the beginning of the diversification of its product range and the moment when it began to protect its innovations with patents in areas stretching from X-ray radiation to radio reception.
In 1925, Philips became involved in the first experiments in television in 1925 and, in 1927, began producing radios; by 1932, it had sold one million of them. A year later, it produced its 100-millionth radio valve and started production of medical X-ray equipment in the United States. By 1939, when it launched the first Philips electric shaver, the company employed 45,000 people worldwide. © 2006 Philips