Brief History of Philips Cinema
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
G. Nijsen, writer and historian
Issue 62 - September 2000
Anton Kotte (left)and Mr. Nijsen photographed in May 1998 in Eindhoven, Holland by Thomas
Philips Light bulb factory was founded in 1891 by the two Philips brothers (Ing.
Gerard Philips and Dr. Anton Philips. Gerard was the technician and Anton
the salesman). When the "Philips" brand became so successful, they
decided during the 1920s, to enlarge their scope from lamps only to
everything electrical or electronic. Laboratory research was largely
concentrated on radio reception and transmitting. Around 1927 Philips
introduced a number of modern radio receivers on to the market that
triggered a whole range of other industrial activities.
meant Sound and Music. The existence of sound amplification
(a radio consists mainly of a receiver and an amplifier part, plus a
loudspeaker) logically led to further research into sound-on-film for
talking pictures. The Philips-Miller sound recording system was the
beginning of the Philips Electro-Acoustics Division (The division was
under other names during the early days).
joined Philips as a young man and soon got involved in machine
design for these type of activities. The first "Loeftaffon" record
turntables to be synchronised with non-Philips film projectors were produced
in small numbers in a laboratory workshop (Called Proeffabriek). In the
early 1930s the first models of Philips projection machines and
Philips-Miller sound recording units were designed and constructed. Kotte
was the ace designer right from the start, guided by capable senior
engineers like Hardenberg, Nillesen and others. The famous, very modern
engineered Film Projectors FP5, 6 and 7 were introduced around 1937, and
still produced basically unaltered thirty years later!
Further in 70mm reading:
Jan Jacob Kotte
Gallery: May 1998:
Visiting Anton Philip Kotte in Eindhoven, Holland
DP70 / Universal 70-35 / Norelco
AAII - The Todd-AO Projector
top of this Philips building in Eindhoven, Holland, all Philips´ cinema
projectors were enginered. The location was called "ELA" which
is short for Electro Acoustive Division. There was a cinema in which the
cinema equipment was installed, including a DP70. Picture by Editor.
constructional master piece connected with Kotte´s name was the portable
35mm projector, designed secretly during the war in a small village hide-out
(Acht) and tested and launched in the year 1945. I was involved in both
projects and remember the surprise of all people in the movie business. The
name and logo "Philips Cinema" and my slogan "Philips for
Perfection in Sound and Projection" were coined during that period,
because our exporting activities had re-begun and we wanted to create an
international flavour for our activities in English-speaking territories. It
was soon followed by German, French and Spanish ("Siempre preferido por
Imagen y Sonido"), since new orders came in very quickly.
became a big market, since many cinemas had been destroyed during the war.
Strong competitors like Bauer, Ernemann, Siemens and Frieske & Höpfner
were gradually pushed out of the market by Philips´ quality and modern
design. Kalee, in spite of their old-fashioned type of engineering, was a
strong brand in England. Much later Cinemeccanica in Italy offered low-price
competition. Export to the USA, competing with Simplex and Century, on a
well-protected home market, was considered too difficult for the time being.
Philips "ELA" name was coined in 1946 when the manufacturing and
selling activities of microphones, amplifiers, PA loudspeakers (Public
Address), recording and cinema equipment were concentrated into one
was a split-up of responsibilities: The "Factory" taking care of
development, construction and manufacturing, and the "Commercial
Department" being in charge of marketing, planning and sales, plus
keeping in touch with international markets and sales representatives
(Philips and non-Philips products) abroad.
responsible for cinema
H. Opdenberg, Commercial Director
* H. A. H. M. Nillesen, Commercial Director Cinema Department (later
succeeded by H. L. A. Gimberg.)
* W. Jansen, Technical-Commercial liason officer
* C.G.Nijsen, Sales Promotion & Advertising Manager
* G. Hooghiemstra, Sales Representative USA area
responsible for cinema activities were:
Dr. J. de Boer, Technical Director (successor to H. Wildeboer)
* P. Hinse, Manager Cinema Design Department
* Jan J. Kotte, Chief Designer
* P. Hoekstra, Designer Special Projects
* A.A. Overmars, Manager Projector Assembly Department
latter people also communicated with parts manufacture such as Philips
Machine and Metalware factories.
beyond the above mentioned organisations and engaged in DP70 activities were
J. Sliepenbeek, F. Rijke, H. de Laart, and others involved in the rushed
C. Cessler was employed as a sales representative for the Holland area, as
well as in other nearby countries.
1973, international sales of Philips Cinema equipment were handled on an
exclusive basis by the firm of Kinoton GmbH in Munich, Germany. Since 1973
Kinoton GmbH have continued to order Philips
Cinema projectors from the Eindhoven Machine factory (Machinenfabriek
8). After Jan Kotte's retirement he continued working for Mr. Zoller, chief
of Kinoton, making projector design for them.
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