Philips may be a somewhat diminished force in today’s tech world, but the Dutch company has, over its 123 years of history, been a major player in radio tech, audio, cassettes, CDs, TV and -- perhaps most famously -- the humble lightbulb. CNET paid a visit to the prestigious Philips Museum in Eindhoven, and now presents the most fascinating exhibits for your viewing pleasure. Click through to check out the cutting-edge tech of yesteryear.
Philips was founded in 1891 by Gerard and Frederik Philips. Four years later the younger Anton Philips joined the fledgling company, and in 1898 Philips secured its first big international order -- 50,000 lightbulbs for the Tsar of Russia.
By 1931 however, radio tech had progressed significantly. This is one of Philips’ most famous inventions, one of the first radios with a built-in loudspeaker. Thanks to its iconic shape, this radio earned the nickname, "The Chapel".
Fast forward to the present, and you get the kitten scanner. This object isn’t, as the name suggests, built to scan your pets -- it’s not actually a medical device at all, in fact. Rather it sits in waiting rooms, giving kids a chance to play with, and get used to, the idea of an MRI machine, hopefully making the process of having a scan a little less unsettling.
This is a page from the Philips Kourier. The paper was sent by Anton Philips to the minister of social affairs in 1948, when it became clear that Philips’ methods for screening its employees for tuberculosis was working. The paper claims that mortality due to TB was a third lower among Philips personnel than among the general public.
This aerial map of Eindhoven shows notable Philips institutions. Philips’ influence and history is tied into that of the city itself, from street names to entire tracts of housing. There’s a Philips stadium, while after the war Austria built houses in Eindhoven in exchange for potatoes and Philips radios. Oh, and a statue of Anton Philips stands outside the town’s train station.
Philips missed a trick when it came to video cassettes -- this 1979 recorder uses the company’s ill-fated Video Compact Cassette (VCC) tapes, marketed as Video 2000. It went head-to-head with VHS and Betamax, but failed to challenge either.