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#83921 - 20/03/17 04:22 PM TASMA: Who Were They?
CyberJack Offline
Forum Historian
Registered: 28/11/13
Posts: 4253
Loc: Tasmania
Hello ODK History Lovers

I have argued that our first rotary lawnmowers were founded by the old radio
companies who, post-WWII, needed to engage with a new consumer market that
wanted more than radios in their household. One such company sold a lawnmower
under the Tasma brand.

Tasma – an amalgam of Thom and Smith Pty Ltd – was one such ‘old radio company’,
founded by Fred Thom and John Smith in 1929 at Woolloomooloo, New South Wales.

For radio collectors, Tasma remains a desirable and important radio maker,
with many of their radios now commanding considerable value.

This article deals with the company, in preparation for an associated
History Record on their lawnmowers.

Window Display c1950

Tasma will remain associated with their radios. However, many other products –
washers, fridges, floor polishers, lawnmowers – would present in the post-war era.


#84093 - 26/03/17 02:01 AM Re: TASMA: Who Were They? [Re: CyberJack]
CyberJack Offline
Forum Historian
Registered: 28/11/13
Posts: 4253
Loc: Tasmania
PART TWO - History Summary
The wonderful Vintage Radio & Television website (see link) has given us
a good summary of Thom & Smith. The company’s history is ridiculously complex.
Note that both Pope and Kirby’s Limited get a mention.

“Tasma became one of the first companies to mark the tuning dials with states
and station call signs rather than the frequency range. This was quickly
adopted by all other Australian and New Zealand manufacturers but appears to
be unique to these two countries. Tasma also introduced sealing of tuning coils
to repel moisture from the sets in the tropical areas of Far North Queensland.

During World War II, Thom And Smith digressed into building receivers and
transmitting equipment for the Royal Australian Air Force. This equipment
was used extensively throughout the Pacific War and proved to be very reliable.
Despite the shrinking market, they were able to remain as a domestic receiver
manufacturer up until the end of the war. In 1953 Thom and Smith was taken over
by another company called President, who made fridges, and receivers made after
this merger were branded 'President-Tasma'. It was not a lasting relationship
though as the radio business ran into financial troubles. Thom And Smith was
then sold to Pope Industries. Pope was later bought out by Simpson, which then
was bought out by EMAIL, which was then sold to Southcorp and then sold to

After the sale to Pope, Fred Thom left the company and started a business called
Thom Electronics which was later sold to James N Kirby Limited, a large manufacturer
of electric motors carrying the 'Betts' brand. Under the Kirby ownership, Thom
Electronics manufactured televisions carrying the 'Crosley' brand. General Electric
then bought Thom Electronics off Kirby's and then wound up the business as pressure
from imports started to take hold. No televisions ever carried the 'Tasma' brand.”

Well, I hope that's pretty clear.
Tasma was clearly a key player in the history of Australian radio.
Here is a nice image of the Tasma Ball from 1937. Radio must have
been so exciting back then!

NOTE: Fred Thom, born 11 July 1904, died 11 August 2000, started Thom & Smith and
manufactured the Tasma brand of radio. The lady seated foreground is probably
Alicia Thom (Mrs Fred Thom, nee Smith and no relation to Thom's business partner Smith)
who married Fred in 1936. When Fred married the trade, joke was that he had started
another Thom & Smith partnership!

#84094 - 26/03/17 02:22 AM Re: TASMA: Who Were They? [Re: CyberJack]
CyberJack Offline
Forum Historian
Registered: 28/11/13
Posts: 4253
Loc: Tasmania
PART THREE - War and Post-war Expansion
Tasma played a significant role in the WWII war effort.
Here is a rare advertisement from March, 1944.

The Australian Women’s Weekly advertisement from April of 1953 sums up the
company’s products at that time. Tasma made it to the era of the car radio –
the washer was probably a Pope; the fridge probably a Crosby. The electric
lawnmower was also a branded Tasma. It was made by RG Marshall, also of Sydney...

#84166 - 28/03/17 11:12 AM Re: TASMA: Who Were They? [Re: CyberJack]
CyberJack Offline
Forum Historian
Registered: 28/11/13
Posts: 4253
Loc: Tasmania


Would you like to comment on Tasma?
Simply create a new topic in the Old Soap Box HERE.

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