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 Astor Television
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 10:08:54 PM on 7 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
 Member #: 803
 Postcount: 456

Astor is the trade name for Radio Corporation Pty. Ltd. which was itself a division of the huge Electronic Industries Ltd. company based in South Melbourne Victoria.

TV production from 1956 till 1975. Sets were manufactured at South Melbourne until around 1969 when production moved to the new factory complex at Clayton Victoria. The Philips takeover of Electronic Industries Ltd. in 1970 did not result in any major changes until around 1972 when Philips started to use their own TV chassis in Astor branded televisions. This continued until about 1975 with a limited quantity of Astor branded colour TV's based on the Philips K9A chassis. Around 1975 Philips made the decision to no longer continue using the Astor brand.

Astor also produced many of their own components. They had another large industrial complex in Hamilton St Oakleigh where transistors were manufactured under the Anodeon brand. They also made their own polyester capacitors under the Anocap brand. CRT's were made at Clayton.

The TV models fall within 3 distinct model numbering systems.

The first is the 2 or 3 letter model code system. A near impossible to decypher model code that seems to follow only a vague pattern. It was in use until 1961.

The second model numbering system is based on a very logical numbering system and ran from 1961 till 1968. For example the model R31C/2-C is broken down as follows:
R - Model name (in this case "Royal")
3 - The last digit of the screen size in inches (e.g. 23" = 3, 25" = 5 etc)
1 - This would appear to be a case styling variation number.
C - The case style (in this case C = Console)
2 - The chassis "series number"
C - The "control head" code number - the user control panel variation for a particular model.

The final model numbering system was introduced in 1968 as a result of Astor computerising their stock system. The format was two letters followed by three numbers. The first letter was the product type (T = Television) the second letter was the initial year of production (B = 1968) and the three digits were a numerical sequence assigned to each model. In some cases a final letter was used which denoted the case colour.
An example of this model code is TB023 which is a 1968 television number 023 of the series.

From 1961 onwards all television chassis used a "Series" chassis that started with the Series 1 and ended with the Series 11.

Images for the various models are difficult to find as they only had model images on the TV service manuals from 1959 till 1961. In the following model lists pictures have been provided wherever possible and due to the amount of detective work required to match model numbers to pictures some errors are possible. If any readers can supply images for the models that are missing or provide corrections to errors it will be very welcome!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 10:10:38 PM on 7 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
 Member #: 803
 Postcount: 456

1956 to 1957 Models

Astor SJ - 17" Table Model
Release Date - 1956
Colour Options - Walnut or Mahogany

Astor SK - 21" Consolette
Release Date - 1957
Model SK-A is the same as the SK but with a modified chassis. Model SK-B is a modified version of the SK-A.

Astor ASJ - 17" Lowboy
Release Date - 1957

Astor ASK - 21" Console
Release Date - 1957
Colour Options - Walnut, Brown Mahogany, Light Walnut, Rose Mahogany, Golden Maple, Myrtle, Sycamore, Sapelli, Avodery
Model ASK-A is the same as the ASK but with a modified chassis. Model ASK-B is a modified version of the ASK-A.

Astor Televisions


Astor BSK - 21" Horizontal Console
Release Date - 1957
Colour Options - Walnut, Brown Mahogany, Light Walnut, Rose Mahogany, Golden Maple, Sycamore

Astor CSJ - 17" Console
Release Date - 1957
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany
Model CSJ-A is the same as the CSJ but with a modified chassis. Model CSJ-B is a modified version of the CSJ-A.

Astor DSJ - 17" Table Model (Legs Optional)
Release Date - 1957
Colour Options - Brown, Maroon, Grey, Moss Green
Model DSJ-A is the same as the DSJ but with a modified chassis. Model DSJ-B is a modified version of the DSJ-A. Model DSJ-C is a modified version of the DSJ-B.

Astor ESJ - 17" Table Model / Consolette
Release Date - 1957
Colour Options - Dark Walnut, Light Walnut, Brown Mahogany, Rose Mahogany, Golden Maple, Sycamore
Model ESJ-A is the same as the ESJ but with a modified chassis. Model ESJ-B is a modified version of the ESJ-A.

Astor Televisions


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 3:50:12 PM on 8 July 2013.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
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 Postcount: 600

Philips didn't want people to know that Astor was foreign owned.

It didn't pan out too well, they dropped the charade by 1975.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 7:27:38 PM on 8 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
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 Postcount: 456

Did the ownership matter that much to people? Pye was foreign owned (by Philips) and they seemed to sell well enough.
Sales were dropping off as early as 1968 before the takeover for reasons I have yet to determine, the Philips takeover probably didn't help much to increase sales.
Anybody remember why Astor ran into financial trouble?


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 8:00:34 PM on 8 July 2013.
Brad's avatar
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John F Ross' book which described a history of most of the radio manufacturers doesn't refer to any financial difficulties at Radio Corporation or its other incarnations, Electronic Industries, Pye or Philips. The name changes and takeovers happened at a time of consolidation in Australia and at the time people were buying more televisions and fewer radios. For whatever reason, Philips gained market share in telly sales and Astor's share tapered off. although certainly not ideal for the local industry, it probably made sense for Philips to banish the Astor name after taking them over and in later years Pye disappeared too.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 10:24:27 PM on 8 July 2013.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 600

Philips' subterfuge worked for me;
I always thought Astor was "as Australian as Bushell's Tea"
Oh wait a minute, Bushell's is quietly owned by another Dutch giant!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 12:37:06 PM on 9 July 2013.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
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I could list dozens and dozens of Australian companies that have over time fallen into foreign hands and sadly, all governments since 1971 have not only permitted it but have welcomed it.

Admittedly there has also been a lot of foreign companies start up in Australia only to have those subsidiaries absorbed by local companies though this hasn't offset the opposing forces to any great degree.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 9:16:04 PM on 9 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
 Member #: 803
 Postcount: 456

The subject of Astor's history is really the subject for another thread as it is quite complicated and there is a lot that may not be well known.
Thanks to the increasing number of searchable newspaper archives online it has become easier to sort the fact from fiction (or hearsay!)

What I have found and have the news articles as supporting documentation, is Astor ran into severe financial difficulties in the late 1960's and accepted what amounted to a loan from Philips to keep them going. After yet another trading loss in 1969-1970 Astor had little choice but to accept a takeover offer from Philips.
I'm sure there is a lot more behind this story but the financial news columns are pretty dry reading! Of course the takeover caused quite a bit of bitterness in some quarters and this is not something that is reported in the papers.

Another often quoted but difficult to support statement that is often encountered is that Pye owned Astor. This is certainly not the case at the time of the Philips takeover. Pye had less than 48% share ownership of Astor (Electronic Industries) from 1968 to 1970. There may have been a period of majority ownership around 1958-1960 but as yet I haven't found enough evidence either way. Interestingly enough, the reverse is more accurate, as Pye Industries Ltd. (the Australian firm) was formed in 1948 as a joint company by Astor (Electronic Industries) and Pye (Cambridge UK).


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 7:47:32 PM on 11 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
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1958 Models

Astor BSN - 21" Lowboy TV - Gramophone
Release Date - 1958
Colour Options - Walnut, Mahogany, Maple

Astor ESK - 21" Table/Lowboy Model
Release Date - 1958
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany
The ESK-A and ESK-B models are later versions with a modified chassis.

Astor FSJ - 17" Table/Lowboy Model
Release Date - 1958
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany

Astor GSJ - 17" Lowboy
Release Date - 1958
Colour Options - Brown, Maroon, Mid Grey, Moss Green

Astor SL - 14" Portable
Release Date - 1958
Colour Options - Tan/Oyster Top, Cherry Red/Oyster Top, Green/Oyster Top, Charcoal/Pink Top
Model SL-A is a later version with a modified chassis.

Astor Televisions


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 7:48:44 PM on 11 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
 Member #: 803
 Postcount: 456

1959 Models

Astor A - 27" Console
Release Date - 1959
May well have been the only 27" B&W television sold in Australia. Used a CRT sourced from Raytheon USA. Likely to have been produced in very limited quantities.

Astor ATR - 24" Console
Release Date - 1959

Astor BRJ - "Fringemaster" 21" Console
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany
Special fringe area reception chassis

Astor BRV - "Fringemaster" 21" Lowboy
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany
Special fringe area reception chassis

Astor BSJ - 17" Portable
Release Date - 1959
Basically the same set as the model JSJ but with minor power supply differences. Model BSJ-A is a later version with a modified chassis.

Astor DSK - 21" Lowboy
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany

Astor DSM - 21" No other information is known about this model.
Release Date - 1959

Astor FRJ - 21" No other information is known about this model.
Release Date - 1959


Astor Televisions
Astor Televisions


Astor FSK - 21" Console
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany
Model FSK-A is a later version with a modified chassis.

Astor FSN - Console Radio/Gramophone combination
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Walnut, Mahogany
Model FSN-A is a later version with a modified chassis.

Astor HSQ - 21" Console
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany

Astor JSJ - 17" Portable
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Lawn Green, Lime, Charcoal, Mustard
Model JSJ-A is a later version with a modified chassis.

Astor JSK - 21" Console
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Walnut, Mahogany

Astor JSM - 21" Console with wired remote control
Release Date - 1959
Colour Options - Maple, Medium Walnut, Mahogany


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 12:48:32 AM on 14 July 2013.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
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 Postcount: 600

The FS has American style portable cabinet with British style "Press-through" picture tube (with bonded protection plate?), very unusual. The JSJ has that cute round-cornered 17" high deflection tube so common in 1950s portables (separate contoured protection glass no doubt).


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 7:09:42 PM on 14 July 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
 Member #: 803
 Postcount: 456

The SL 14" portable used a 90 degree deflection 14RP4A CRT.
The BSJ/JSJ 17" portables used a 110 degree deflection 17BZP4 CRT.
I believe both sets used a plastic moulded protection screen.

I much prefer the appearance of the SL, the JSJ portables are quite shallow but also very plain looking.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 9:14:29 PM on 15 July 2013.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 600

Yes, come to think of it the 90° is squarer than the 110°.
The 110° having that funky picture-on-a-lightbulb look.
I like these 50's tin TVs, worth snagging if you see one.
Picture here of a few I found ages ago with spare Tubes.
http://s1273.photobucket.com/user/NewVista1/media/17inch_zpsaaeab676.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 2:06:11 PM on 5 September 2013.
Hornetjets's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 5 September 2013
 Member #: 1405
 Postcount: 3

TV Collector
Thanks for the great information about early Astor TVs
I have an Astor ASJ (almost working)
I can provide a photo to update your post if you like?
It looks similar to the SJ
Also, can anyone help me out, I'm looking for a circuit schematic for the ASJ?
thanks Gavin


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 9:10:06 PM on 11 September 2013.
TV Collector's Gravatar
 Location: Ballarat, VIC
 Member since 4 January 2011
 Member #: 803
 Postcount: 456

Hi Gavin thanks for your information it has helped correct an error I've made with the models ASJ and DSJ.

The model ASJ is based on the model SJ with minor circuit differences and as far as I can tell there is no unique circuit for the ASJ. Astor referred technicians to the SJ circuit instead.

I've emailed you a copy of the SJ circuit.


 
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