Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,386 pages of information and 233,851 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Domestic Electric Rentals

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of Apex House, Twickenham Road, Feltham, Middlesex.

DER, television rentals

1939 Company formed by Thorn Electrical Industries to enable Thorn to enter the television business which was seen as less seasonal than the manufacture of radio receivers.

Post-war the company became the television rental arm of Thorn

From 1939 to 1947, DER had only one outlet.

By 1954 it had 10 branches.

1959 Thorn acquired an interest in Multi-Signals Ltd, a company which established relay systems in six towns

1961 Tucana Ltd was formed as a subsidiary of Thorn to take over retail shops where the owners were retiring or the shops were threatened by bankruptcy or liquidation.

1964 Multi-Signals became a wholly owned subsidiary of Thorn.

By 1968 DER had 397 branches. Many of the sets rented through DER were made by Thorn in the summer months when other orders were not available. Tucana had 206 retail shops. Multi-Broadcast had 87 outlets in London, the Home Counties, and the Midlands

1968 The Competition Commission reported on the proposed merger between Thorn Electrical Industries Ltd and Radio Rentals Ltd. Thorn took over Radio Rentals and merged it with their radio/television activities.

1978 Thorn Television Rentals was one of 6 television rental companies examined by the Price Commission; it was one of 2 companies singled out as having a high degree of profitability and subject of a recommendation for a price freeze. The company traded under the names: Radio Rentals, Domestic Electric Rentals (DER) and Multibroadcast[1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Sept. 21, 1978
  • Competition Commission report [1]