Pye of Cambridge

The Story


Welcome ...

... to a site charting the history and achievements of the Pye of Cambridge Company.


To search this site please use the spyglass symbol on the main menu bar

For an improved viewing experience when using a Tablet device, the use of landscape mode is recommended

Pye of Cambridge arms or crest





From the

Tangent Galvanometer







... to the Mobile Outside

Broadcast Unit

The Story of Pye


From WG Pye beginning the company in 1896 in his garden shed, through a vital support of the country during both World Wars, to a global technology company of up to 30,000 employees.

Some of the remarkable people who have shaped and moulded a worldwide technology company that improved the lives of many.


The vast range of products and technologies, ranging from hostess trolleys to TVs to military radar and communication equipment to outside broadcast vehicles.


Some of the 60 or more companies that designed, developed, manufactured and marketed a huge range of products and services.


The Pye History Trust collection of Pye objects and memorabilia is now housed in the Pye Building of the Cambridge Museum of Technology. Support from the Lottery Heritage Fund and the Pye Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.


Latest News

Recent Site Additions

Pye Unicam - 40 CWQI Posters from late 1980s

World’s First Electronic PBX Telephone Exchange returns to Pye

The Pye Postscript ... Pye Lives On

About Us Changes

How Things Work

Ever wondered how radio actually works?

How a valve or transistor function and what their differences are?

Three new and easily understood videos provide some of these answers.

They can be found on the Consumer Products page - follow the link.


Or indeed, ever wondered how two of the most common chemical analysis techniques work?

Several new videos provide examples of spectrometers and chromatographs in action.

They can be found within the Pye Unicam pages - follow the link

Museum

The Cambridge Museum of Technology, including the Pye Building,

re-opened on 22nd May 2021

The following links will connect you directly to their relevant site pages.

Visitors will be allocated entry time slots, please pre-book via the BOOK TIME SLOT page.

Visitors without time slots will be given the next available slot.

Please view their COVID-19 page to see details of how they have ensured their visitors and staff have a safe and rewarding experience.

The Pye and Cambridge Instrument Company collections are now on permanent display at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge CB5 8LD.

NORMAL OPENING HOURS

(PLEASE SEE ABOVE FOR REVISED DETAILS)

10am to 5pm (4pm in November to January)*

December to March: Friday to Sunday

April to November: Wednesday to Sunday

* Last admission is half an hour before closing time

Telephone - 01223 500652


Guided Tours of the Pye Exhibition

Join a former Pye employee for a tour of the exhibition. Learn about Pye’s iconic radios and hear stories of the people behind the Company and the local sites at which they worked.

The Museum hosts a guided tour of the Pye exhibition at 2pm on the second Sunday of each month (except December and January). They are given by one of the former Pye employees who researched the fascinating history of the company and curated the exhibition. Each tour will focus on a different aspect of Pye’s activities, depending on the tour guide.

The 45 minute tour is included with your regular Museum ticket. Please meet at the Pye Building.

THE NEXT TOUR IS SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 2022




PLEASE SEE THE MUSEUM WEBSITE FOR FURTHER DETAILS

Pye Collection News


The all new and permanent Pye Exhibition opened on 7th June 2019 at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge CB5 8LD.



It is housed in a dedicated building - the Pye Building - and shares space with a similar collection from the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company.

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The Preview Opening Event on Tuesday 21st May 2019, with Professor Sir Michael Gregory

World’s First Electronic PBX Telephone Exchange returns to Pye


Don Delanoy with the original Pye PBX

Richard Howes (l) and Roger Crabtree (r) receiving the prototype PBX from James Delanoy at the museum

The world’s first electronic private branch telephone exchange (PBX), designed by Don Delanoy at Pye Telecommunications in 1956, has been donated to the Pye History Trust.

This prototype 10-line telephone exchange, thought to be one of the five original field trial models, will shortly be exhibited in the Pye Group exhibition, located in the Pye building at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cambridge.


This fascinating exhibit was kindly donated by James Delanoy, nephew of Don Delanoy, who said “My Uncle Don was a telecommunications pioneer with many patents to his name. I am therefore delighted that a world first in the ground-breaking telephone exchange that he invented has found its rightful place as an exhibit forming part of the Pye collection at the Cambridge Museum of Technology”.

The technology employed in this equipment was ingenious in that it used existing cold cathode switching valves and transistors rather than electro-mechanical components, and it paved the way for a family of telephone exchanges with 20-line and 100-line capability. This new electronic design replaced both manual and mechanical PBX exchange equipment. It had no moving parts and was therefore silent in its operation and far more reliable.

Don Delanoy was a genius in the communications field and highly respected in both the UK and wider international communications industry. He held 17 of the 32 Pye Telecommunications patents.

Upcoming "Story of Pye" Presentations



The "Story of Pye" presentations to local societies are now being re-started.


However, because some may have difficulty in attending the live presentations, we have prepared a video which covers some of this material.

Focus on some exhibits from the museum ... (to learn more, click on the links)

Pye 'Chief Executive' UHF Radiotelephone

1967

Pye ‘Chief Executive’, UHF transportable radiotelephone

This equipment was made in small quantities for UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who objected to obvious or overt security precautions around him.

Pye Record Maker

1956

In 1956 Pye launched the Record Maker. This was a record player that could play conventional records but could also record onto magnetic disks using a special magnetic record head. It came complete with a microphone and a magnet which could be used to erase the disk in order to re-record.


1928

The iconic Pye 25 Portable Wireless with "Rising Sun" fretwork.

A demonstration of this product was used to impress the manager of Barclays Bank to loan money to CO Stanley to buy the Pye company from WG Pye.

The "I didn't know Pye did that" Corner ...


1966

Pye Implantable

Pacemaker

Type EM.1005

"The Pacemaker is designed for the treatment of complete heart block by providing electrical pulse stimulation of the cardiac muscle."

1950/60s

Aircraft Instrument Landing System for use on airfields around the world.


1950s

The Transportable Reporter - a battery operated, rugged mobile radio telephone. For those on the spot communications and reporter "scoops".

1950s

A standard industrial television camera was built into a pressure resistant housing to enable it to work underwater.

Later in the 1950’s the design was further improved and used to find the wreckage of crashed airliners.

A Year of Pye Photographs

January

Pye advertising in the 1990s

February

Pye Cambridge Station, viewing through control room to studio beyond

March

Meadowcroft, Church St, Cambridge - Home of Cathodeon, then a management "retreat"

Pye Staff in the early 1920s (Click on all photographs for larger versions)

December

The annual Pye outing to the seaside in the 1930s

November

The River Cam flood of 1978, the weekend before the grand opening of the new Pye Telecom building.

October

Pye "Wavy Roof" Building in St Andrew's Road, including the original radio mast

April

Early OB Vans in St Andrews Road

May

Colour TV Demo Studio at Radio Olympia 1949

June

First Colour OB Van for BBC 1967

July

Pye Annual Sports Day Programme

August

Lord Thorneycroft (L) (Chairman) making a presentation to Peter Threlfall (MD)

September

Pye Company Staff in 1926

Welcome to the Pye Story - starting in a Cambridge garden shed to become a huge multinational business