Standard Telephones and Cables PLC 1883 - 1991

born in:
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Standard Telephones and Cables PLC (STC) was a telephone, telegraph, radio and telecommunications manufacturer. The company was founded in London in 1883 as International Western Electric, an agent of American Western Electric. Its name changed to STC in 1925 when it was bought by International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT). They began manufacture in 1898 and were established as a British limited company in 1910. The company was one of the founders of the British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) in 1922.

During the Second World War, work continued in their factory at New Southgate where they conducted significant military work which led to many developments, particularly in aerial warfare. The factory was relatively safe due to an effective black out of their buildings and sufficient strength within their buildings to survive anything other than a direct hit. However, the factory was still at risk and incidents did occur. The worst of these incidents took place in August 1944 when a flying bomb killed 30 people and injured another 300.

During the 1950s, the growth of television broadcasting led to many technical milestones, and the spread of television transmission and availability often used STC technology and equipment.

In the 1960s, the company began focusing on submarine telecommunications cables so that, by 1970, STC became the world leader in submarine cables and the sole UK manufacturer. In 1979, STC was the largest UK manufacturer of telecommunications cable.

With the growth of computing technology in the 1980s and the necessary investment to produce computer technology, ITT sold off most of its shareholding in STC. This, combined with an ageing workforce and financial constraints saw STC lose its way. In 1991, the company was bought by Northern Telecom (Nortel) which saw the end of STC.