Click for homepage
Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV

Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (Royal Philips Electronics Inc), commonly known as Philips, is a Dutch multinational electronics company. At present, Philips predominantly concentrates the lifestyle and domestic appliances.

In the past Philips was also known for its wide range of electronic parts, measuring equipment and inventions, such as the Compact Cassette (1962) and the Compact Disc or CD (1982). For many years Philips also had a strong presence in professional markets, such as professional television studios, the telecom business and the international Defense Industry.
The old Philips logo or shield. Later logos are shown below.

Philips equipment on this website
Various cipher machines produced by Philips
Dutch RT-3600 military radios
Philips RT-4600 wideband VHF FM radio
Philips/HSA/Signaal VHF FM wideband military tactical manpack radio
Telex machine
Spy radio set, produced in 1947
Post-war version of the UK Type 36/1 (MCR-1)
Belgian RST-101 spy radio set (MBLE)
Message Exchange Device (MED)
Circuit Blocks
Clandestine midget receiver in modified cigar box, built with Acorn tubes
Hollandse Signaalapparaten   HSA
For many years, Philips subsidary Hollandse Signaalapparaten, often abbreviated to Holland Signaal, Signaal or HSA, produced high-end defense electronics, such as advanced radar systems and telecommunications systems. In 1990, HSA was sold to Thomson (now: Thales).

Philips Usfa
Another Philips branch that produced hi-end equipment for the Dutch Department of Defense (DoD) and for NATO, was Philips Usfa BV. With its head office in Eindhoven (Netherlands), this secretive company produced cipher machines, batteries, proximity fuses, night vision equipment, cryogenic equipment, etc. In 1989, Philips Usfa became part of Hollandse Signaalapparaten (HSA), which was later sold to Thomson (now: Thales). The Crypto-division was then split-off.

 More about Philips Usfa

Philips Crypto
From 1958 onwards, Philips subsidary Philips Usfa NV, produced a wide range of professional cryptographic solutions. In the late 1980s, Philips Usfa became a subsidary of HSA, but when HSA was later sold to Thomson, the crypto department went on as the independant business unit Philips Crypto, until it was dissolved in 2003 due to lack of revenue.

 More about Philips Crypto

Nederlandsche Seintoestellen Fabriek   NSF
NSF was established in 1918 as a joint venture of Marconi UK (40%), Philips (40%) and Radio Holland (20%), for the production of professional radio transmitters for the Dutch Navy, the Air Force and the Dutch Colonies. The company later also manufactured radio sets for domestic use. In 1925, Philips took over NSF completely, and after WWII the factory was converted into Philips Telecommunicatie Industrie (PTI, see below).

 More about NSF

Philips Telecommunicatie Industrie   PTI
Philips Telecommunications Industry (PTI) was a special branch of Philips in The Netherlands, where telephone and radio communications equipment was developed. The branch had facilities in Hilversum, Huizen and Hoorn (Netherlands) and for a while even in Alkmaar and Amersfoort. PTI produced commercial telephone exchanges (switches) but also equipment for the Department of Defense (DoD), such as parts of the ZODIAC network of the Dutch Army. After a reorganisation in 1989, PTI became part of HSA, which was finally sold to Thomson (now: Thales) in 1990.

 More about ZODIAC

ASML was founded in 1984 as a joint venture between Advanced Semiconductor Materials International (ASMI) and the division of Philips that was responsible for photolithographic integrated circuit production equipment. In 1988, the company became independent, with Philips only owning a minority of shares. ASML is currently the largest supplier of photolithography systems in the world (2021) [4].


Other Philips Subsidaries
At the height of its activities, Philips had one or more branches in every major city in The Netherlands and even abroad. During 1990s and 2000s, many branches were sold to other companies, cut-off (e.g. as part of a management buy-out) or closed down due to lack of revenue. The complete list of Philips subsidaries it long and beyond the scope of this website. For further information, please refer to the list of Philips subsidaries on Wikipedia (in Dutch) [2].

Here are some of the foreign defense-related companies that Philips once owned:

  • MBLE, Belgium
  • TRT, France
  • Magnavox Corporation, USA
  • Philips Electronic Industrier, Sweden
  • Radarleit, Germany
  • Philips Kommunikations Industrie AG, Germany (a.k.a. TeKaDe)
  • MEL Mullard Equipment Ltd., UK
  • MEL Defence Ltd., Canada
Over the years, the Philips logo, or corporate brand, hasn't changed much. The original shield is shown at the top of this page and appeared for more than 100 years on all Philips products. Sometimes the brand-name was used separately (i.e. separated out of the shield). In March 2008 it was decided that, as part of and Identity Update, the shield would no longer be used.

Philips corporate logo. Source: Wikipedia.

At the same time, the outline of the brand-name was slightly modernized to the logo shown here. It is only marginally different from the original text. Although the original shield was abandoned, it remained a popular token of the company and kept appearing from time to time. In 2013 the shield was re-introduced. Although it is modernized, the original elements have been retained:

Philips corporate shield. Source: Wikipedia.

12NC codes
The 12-digit Numbering Code (12NC) was introduced at Philips in 1963, and was used to identify complete products as well as documentation and bare components, up to the finest detail. It was created to reflect the matrix business model that Philips used at the time, and is quite versatile.

4322 085 00971

The code consists of 12 digits of which the first two define a product group, whilst the following two digits define the coding centre. The remaining 8 digits are used to specify the product within the group. 12NC codes are still used today (2021) by Philips and many of its (former) subsidaries, such as ASML and Thales. Below is a non-exhaustive list of product groups and coding centres, compiled from various internet sources, such as [3], complemented by our own observations.

4322 085 00971

Product group
Digits 1 and 2 define the product group, in Philips terminology known as Hoofd-Industrie Group (Main Industry Group) or HIG. In many cases electronic components, like resistors and capacitors, had a 12NC number that started with 4822. At present, the following group codes are known:

  • 20
    Capacitors (3rd party)
  • 21
    Resistors (3rd party)
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
    Electromechanical parts
  • 31
    Consumer electronics 1
  • 32
    Lighting (Lumiled)
  • 35
  • 39
    Electro acoustics
  • 40
    Professional electronics 3
  • 42
  • 43
    Military electronics
  • 46
    Large appliances
  • 48
    Electronic components 2
  • 51
    Peripheral equipment
  • 53
    Service parts 2
  • 82
  • 85
    Large appliances
  • 86
    Consumer electronics
  • 90
    Consumer electronics
  • 88
  • 91
    Signify (Philips Hue)
  • 92
    Lighting (Lumileds, Signify)
  • 95
    Military electronics, Telecom
  1. Originally known as: radio, grammophone and television.
  2. Not an industry group, but directly under the core organisation.
  3. Still used by ASML today (2021).

4322 085 00971

Coding centre
Digits 3 and 4 define the centre that was responsible for issuing the code. The coding centre is in many cases (but not always) equivalent to the product's country of origin, or the country in which it was developed. The list started off as an alphabetic index of countries (with some anomalies), whilst later coding centres were added in order of appearance.

  • 01
  • 02
  • 03
  • 04
  • 05
  • 06
  • 07
  • 08
  • 09
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
    Great Britain
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
    New Zealand
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
    El Salvador
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
    South Africa
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
    Hong Kong
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 56
    HSA (Thomson, Thales) 1
  • 66
    Sweden (DUX)
  • 67
  • 69
    Car Radio 2
  • 70
    Central product range 3
  • 74
    Marantz (Japan)
  • 75
    Marantz (Japan)
  • 77
  • 90
    Far East 4
  1. This code is still used by Thales today (2021).
  2. Unknown coding group, but seen on various car radios [1].
  3. Central product range from Eindhoven (Netherlands). Still in use today (2007).
  4. Previously also used for Singapore (39) and Hong Kong (40) as well.

The following 12NC prefixes are still used today by companies other than Philips:

  1. Wikipedia, Philips
    Visited 4 October 2021.

  2. Wikipedia (Netherlands), Lijst van Philips-vestigingen
    Visited 4 October 2021.

  3. Maarten (Dekatron), Philips 12NC code numbers
    UK Vintage Radio forum, December 2007. Visited 4 October 2021.

  4. Wikipedia, ASML Holding
    Visited 4 October 2021.
Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 17 May 2010. Last changed: Tuesday, 26 March 2024 - 17:58 CET.
Click for homepage