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New PDF release: A history of the General Radio Company

By Arthur E Thiessen

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In 1931 shipments dropped to $600,000, and for the first time since the war order cancellations of 1918, the Company had, instead of a good profit, a loss for the year. It was small, $19,000, but the portents were bad. In the dark economic years of 1932 and 1933, billings hit bottom at $520,000 for 1932 and were only a little better in 1933; by the end of that year net worth had dropped to $786,000, reflecting the losses in the three previous years. To add to the financial problems, considerable money was tied up in banks that had closed.

The employer's contribution each year is a percentage of the total payroll but may not exceed 15 percent. When an employee leaves his job by retirement or for any other reason, his nest egg in the trust is payable to him or, if by death, to his estate, subject, if in a lump sum, only to capital gains tax. The trust fund may never revert to the employer, although the employer is the sole contributor to it. GR was among the first to form a profit-sharing trust under this law. There are many formulas by which the exact portion of the employer's annual contribution may be calculated, but, to be valid, any plan must have the prior approval of the Federal tax collectors.

There soon followed a number of new- instruments, one of the most notable of which was the Type 403 Standard-Signal Generator. This, it is believed, was the first commercial standard-signal generator ever marketed. It was developed by Lewis M. Hull, who was on leave from the Aircraft Radio Laboratories, Boonton, New Jersey, to spend a year with GR. It had a frequency range of 500 to 1500 kilocycles and an output range from 1 to 200,000 microvolts with 400-cycle internal amplitude modulation and facility for external modulation, both of rather uncertain amount.

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A history of the General Radio Company by Arthur E Thiessen


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