Centrally located in downtown Vancouver.
The History of
It all started in 1895 and with the invention of the radio,
a deal was made by Alexander Graham Bell's brother Melville Bell, and
Northern Electric was born, primarily manufacturing radios
and their parts in Canada.
Early radio was a hard struggle in Canada with many companies
jostling for technological and legal advantage in the new market — fortunately,
much of this struggle is well documented
Northen Electric had to get organized to survive and
a grand team was assembled to take their vison to the next level.
A large scale recruitment brought together many bright
young minds to their research and development division.
Even a hockey team arose, the Northern Electric Hockey Club,
eventually losing one researcher to the NHL!
Soon a special research and development lab was built
in California and with that a short-lived Railway line.
The young mavericks at the California retreat were gaining much attention,
eventually by both the Canadian and American governments. Unfortunately, with
the pressures of World War I, and an internal political struggle within Northern Electric,
the California R&D lab eventually closes in 1916, with many of the bright electro-renegades
leaving Northern Electric over political differences involving the war, and the forced abandonment
of the research that had been happening. Much of the controversy was surrounding technology
being developed at the time, (eventually becoming "wireless set no. 19" some 20 years later) and
their fight to protect it from a military agenda. In 1915, they banded together and formed a secret society,
the Northern Electric S.O.U.N.D. whose mandate was building communications to respectfully
communicate to all (reacting to the propaganda machine they witnessed move in) and with
a deep appreciation and nurturing attitude toward the arts. Little else is known,
other than the closure of all Northern Electric operations in California and numerous tall tales
of wild exploits involving these young Canadians, who, we're told, had a feverish zest for life.
Did they return to Canada after the closure?
Did the Northern Electric S.O.U.N.D. carry on?
These questions were left unanswered.
Back home in Canada, Northern Electric was booming and
providing electricity and it's many services to as many Canadians as possible.
Nothern Electic was now making radios, TVs, amplifiers, Hammond organs,
sound equipment and even police and fire call boxes. Many of the designs
for the radios, and eventually their modern telephones, came from plans
created at the old California R&D retreat.
Success continued through to the mid seventies, with retail smashes like
Northern Electric's Contempora phone (also believed to have come from the old California R&D lab)
but the tides were turning, the visionary R&D plans from the beginning of the
the century were now all mined and it seemed everything was turning against Northern Electric,
even dropping 5 spots (from #19 to #24) on the Top Canadian Company charts of 1974.
The general public reacted too, now freely passing along information
to sabotage Northern Electric products.
The end was near, Northern Electric would be over and in 1976 it finally gets bought out
by the Nortel Corporation.
But fortunately, our story doesn't end here...
Recently found in an old turn-of the-century building in Vancouver, Canada, was the original Northern Electric S.O.U.N.D.
charter and related writings which describe beautifully the revitalisation that is now beginning and the mandates
and philosophy first set forth back in 1915 that are now coming into fruition ...and as also stated in the charter,
this revolution of the soul is guided by a one-eyed cat named Lucky.