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W.G. Pye & Co. Ltd. was founded in 1896 in Cambridge by William George Pye, an employee of the Cavendish Laboratory, as a part-time business making scientific instruments. By the outbreak of World War I in 1914 the company employed 40 people manufacturing instruments that were used for teaching and research. The war increased demand for such instruments and the War Office needed experimental thermionic valves. The manufacture of these components afforded the company the technical knowledge that it needed to develop the first wireless receiver when the first UK broadcasts were made by the British Broadcasting Company in 1922. Instruments continued to be designed and manufactured under W G Pye Ltd, later situated in York Street Cambridge, while a separate company was started to build wireless components in a factory to become known as Cambridge Works at Church Path, Chesterton.

A series of receivers made at Church Path were given positive reviews by Popular Wireless magazine. In 1924, Harold Pye, the son of the founder, and Edward Appleton, his former tutor at St John's College, Cambridge, designed a new series of receivers which proved even more saleable. In 1928 William Pye sold the company, now renamed Pye Radio Ltd., to C. O. Stanley, who established a chain of small component-manufacturing factories across East Anglia.

The new EF50 valve from Philips enabled Pye to build a high-gain receiver, which was a Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) type and not a superhet type. With the outbreak of World War II, the Pye receiver using EF50 valves became a key component of many radar receivers, forming the 45 MHz Intermediate Amplifier (IF) section of the equipment. Pye went on to design and manufacture radio equipment for the British Army, including Wireless Sets No. 10, 18, 19, 22, 62 and 68.

In February 1944, Pye formed a specialist division called Pye Telecommunications Ltd which it intended would design and produce radio communications equipment when the war ended. This company developed, prospered and grew to become the leading UK producer of mobile radio equipment for commercial, business, industrial, police and government purposes.

Pye Ltd. is now wholly owned by Philips.

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