moulded unprocessed Bakelite panel ready for ECME, 1936-1955

1936-1955 in Walton-on-Thames
John Adolph Sargrove
Sargrove Electronics Limited

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Moulded unprocessed bakelite panel ready for ECME (Electronic Circuit Making Equipment) machine, probably made by Sargrove Electronics Limited, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England, 1936-1955.

John Sargrove was a pioneer of Electronic Circuit Making Equipment (ECME), in order to automate the process of making radios. ECME could automatically produce complete radio circuit panels ready for assembly, at a rate of three per minute. A pre-moulded Bakelite panel was grit blasted, sprayed with metal and graphite, milled, lacquered and tested, emerging 20 seconds later for final assembly. The panels then only required a few components such as valves to be inserted by hand, and the completed assembly was fitted into a cabinet. This is an example of one of the pre-moulded Bakelite panels prior to being processed. Sargrove's idea was never taken up generally, partly because it was seen as a threat to jobs, but represents the first modern approach to automatic operation in electronic manufacture.


Radio Communication
Object Number:
radio component
  • component - object
  • radio receiver
Donated by John Adolphe Sargrove