PYE Museum Homepage The Story of Pye
1896 to
The history of the Pye Group of Companies in scientific & analytical instruments, radio & line communications, broadcasting, domestic radio & TV and industrial electronics from 1896 to the present day
The virtual museum of the Pye History Trust - Celebrating Britain’s Scientific & Industrial Heritage
Scientific & Analytical Instruments Division
W. G. Pye & Co Ltd

W. G. Pye Ltd was the original member of the Pye Group of Companies and was founded in 1896 for the manufacture of scientific instruments for supply to universities and schools. It remained under control of the Pye family until in 1946 when it was bought by Pye Ltd (formerly Pye Radio Ltd) which was the Pye radio division previoulsy sold to C. O. Stanley in 1927.

During World War 2 W. G. Pye produced a variety of optical and other measuring instruments for the British armed services.

Unicam Instruments Ltd/Pye Unicam Ltd/Philips Scientific/ATI/Thermo-Fisher/Thermo

In 1946 Pye acquired the Cambridge company, Unicam Instruments Ltd, which specialised in spectroscopic and crystallographic analytical instruments. The products produced by Unicam were of a larger and more deeply analytical scale than those from W. G. Pye and so the product ranges were complimentary. Pye continued to operate Unicam Instruments Ltd as an independent company until 1968, when it changed the name to Pye Unicam Ltd.

After Philips acquired the Pye Group, Pye Unicam Ltd and W.G. Pye Ltd were merged to form Pye Unicam Ltd and continued with both business activities under one brand. In 1988 the company became known as Philips Scientific. In 1991, as part of the N.V. Philips retrenchment from professional-industrial industries, Philips Scientific was acquired by the US company ATI (Analytical Technologies Incorporated), and the name changed to ATI Unicam.

In 1995 ATI was acquired by Thermo Electron Corporation and the ATI Unicam business was split into three activities. The chromatography business was subsequently merged with Cambridge Scientific Instruments and is now part of Ellutia with a site in Ely. In 2002 the Thermo UV-Visible Light analytical business transferred to the USA with some production (Elemental Analysis) transferred to Thermo Fisher in Cambridge. In 2014 Thermo Fisher closed the last remaining ex-Unicam business in Cambridge and transferred the activity to Thermo in Germany.

Ether Engineering Ltd/Pye Ether Ltd/Pye Connectors/Flexicon Systems

This Company began as Electro Methods Ltd, electrical engineers and instrument makers based in Stevenage and later had a factory in Biggleswade, to produce electrical connectors. In 1964 it became Ether Engineering and later Pye Ether. In 1974 it became Pye Connectors and later in 1983, Flexicon Systems.

Faraday Radio Gramophones Ltd/Faraday Electronic Instruments Ltd

This Company began in South London before WW2 and later moved to Sheerness, Kent. Post war it produced a variety of military communications equipment, audio equipment and medical equipment and specialised in industrial electronics test equipment.

Other companies to be described:
  • Pamphonic Reproducers Ltd, Westmoreland Road London NW9
  • W. Bryan Savage Ltd, Westmoreland Road London NW9
  • Pye Electric, Oulton Works, Lowestoft
  • W. Watson & Co, Barnet, Hertfordshire
  • Pye-Ling Ltd, Royston
  • EKCO Instruments, Southend
  Pye Unicam SP1900 and SP1950 Brochure