William George Pye and Harold John Pye

Founders of Pye Radio

William was born on 27 October 1869 at Battersea, London the third of eight children born to William and Elizabeth Pye.

His father was employed as a scientific instrument maker and encouraged his son to develop an interest in this trade.

The knowledge gained from his father helped William gain employment with Cambridge University

In 1892 he married Annie Eliza Atkins with whom he was to have four children.

Confident of his ability to succeed  he formed his own company called W G Pye and Co in 1896 with help from his family.

The new firm developed a range of optical and scientific instruments which helped it prosper requiring larger and larger premises.

His son Harold John Pye was born on 27 November 1901.

In 1914 World War One proved a great stimulus for W G Pye with additional demands for precision gun sights and the development of the new ground-breaking Aldiss signalling lamp.

The end of the war proved problematic as the new items produced by Pye were no longer sought after with a shrinking armed service budget.

By 1922 William's innovation came to the fore again and he developed radio parts and then a complete radio but this sold poorly as it did not perform as well as the main competitors.

Harold attended St Johns College in his home town of Cambridge and on graduation joined the family firm becoming a partner the following year.

He proved to be a skilled engineer no doubt picked up from his father and at the right time for the company he became a persuasive salesman with the drive to re-energise W G Pye and Co.

Harold developed a new model of radio with improved receiver but critically worked on the design to make it one of the most attractive radios then available.

This new radio called the 700 proved very successful selling in large numbers making Pye a household name.

By 1927 the radios were selling so well that the optical operation of Pye had to move out of the factory to give more room.

On 1 March 1927 Harold married Jennie Milson.

The success of the 700's brought attention of larger firms and in 1929 the radios and rights to the name of Pye Radio were sold. The business continued to have success making the name of Pye familiar in radios, Gramophones and similar instruments.

Despite having driven the new radio division Harold stayed with the family firm and in 1936 Harold's father sold him his share of the business and retired.

One again a World War brought about a surge in business with precision military equipment being required in large numbers.

On 13 October 1949 William George Pye died in his retirement home at Bexhill.

W G Pye and Co continued its success and in 1949 an offer came in from Pye Radio to take over the W G Pye. Harold accepted the offer and the radio and optical divisions were once again reunited under the name of Pye although no longer under the influence of the Pye family.

The settlement was generous enough that Harold was able to retire.

His wife Jennie died in 1948 and so Harold decided to move to Burnham on Crouch and start a second career as a farmer at Elm Farm.

On 20 December 1955 his new life was complete when he married a widow called Edith Pinney.

They lived happily until 1969 when Edith died and once again Harold opted for change by selling his farm. moving to new flats at the Belvedere, Burnham on Crouch and devoting himself to sailing.

Harold died at Ipswich in 1986.

 Genealogical Information on the William and Harold Pye

William George Pye born 27 October 1869 at Battersea died Bexhill, Sussex 13 October 1949

Married Annie Eliza Atkins in 1892


William John Pye ( Died as a child)

Donald Walter Pye

Marjorie Irene Pye

Harold  John Pye

 Harold John Pye born 27 November 1901 at Chesterton, Cambridge died Ipswich , Suffolk on 20 January 1986

Married Jennie Milson on 1 March 1927

No Children

Married Edith Pinney nee Flight on  20 December 1955

No children although Edith had two children from her first marriage