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British Industrial History

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Frank Murphy (1889-1955)

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Frank Murphy (1889–1955), of Murphy Radio, radio manufacturer

1889 born on 16 June 1889 in West Plumstead, Woolwich, the youngest son of John James Murphy (1853–1917), schoolmaster, and his wife, Annie, née Leggo (1855–1924).

Won a scholarship to the East London Technical College, graduating in 1908 with honours in electrical engineering, but lack of funds prevented him from taking up the offer of a mathematics exhibition at St John's College, Oxford.

His first job was on the assembly line at the Western Electric Company at Woolwich; attended postgraduate evening classes on the development of the cathode ray tube.

Worked as a Post Office engineer

1912 married his first wife, Hilda Constance Howe (1889–1980).

1916 the Post Office released him for military service; Murphy was sent to France as a squadron wireless operator in the RFC

After eight months he was recalled to Britain to set up an officers' wireless training school at Farnborough, returning to France some weeks later to take charge of the ground-to-air communications operating between Folkestone and Cologne (sic).

1919 Acting Captain RAF; awarded MBE for distinguished service during the war[1]

1919 demobilized. Met Charles Rupert Casson, a budding copywriter; the two men formed the Engineering Publicity Service (EPS), an advertising company with clients in the engineering field.

1921 Frank Murphy MBE., of the Instrument Design Establishment, gained a Patent on wireless direction-finding devices.

By 1924 EPS had changed its name to Murphy Casson Ltd

1928 Murphy withdrew from the partnership in order to start his own radio manufacturing company - Murphy Radio in Welwyn Garden City, which was registered in 1929

Murphy established two fundamental principles — reliability and value for money.

In a full-page advertisements in the Radio Times Murphy personally promoted the notion of "a square deal".

1937 Murphy resigned from the board to start a new venture producing and selling good-quality furniture

1938 registration of Frank Murphy Ltd. Murphy developed 6 basic principles for the new business based on the acceptance of applying knowledge with integrity in the service of society.

The business only survived for c.2 years

His first marriage broke down

1947 he emigrated to Canada with Audrey, the wife of his deceased son

1949 Their marriage was annulled.

1955 Died in Toronto.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. University of London OTC in Memorial Books WWI and WWII, 1914-1945
  • Biography of Frank Murphy, ODNB