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GUITAR TONE IS ROCKET SCIENCE!—Vintage, high voltage, vacuum tube technology harnessed to create radical effects pedals!

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Effectrode Investigates: Whatever happened to Mullard?


Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting pictures and some little stories about a nostalgic day out to visit the site of the Mullard tube manufacturing works in Blackburn, Lancashire. Mullard manufactured some the finest tubes by anyone at any time in history and I very much wanted to see the Blackburn site and find out what, if anything remained of this once prestigious and magnificent chapter of British Industry. The site was vast and mighty space covering an area of over 40 acres and was the largest tube manufacturing plant in Europe with chemical, wire drawing and glass manufacturing plants on site. At its zenith Mullard Blackburn employed well over 6000 people and manufactured over 6,000,000 vacuum tubes a year. Some of roads were even named after tube manufacturers as shown in the photo where I’m standing next to the very appropriately named ‘Philips Road’. Part Two – Ribble House, Mullard Still Stands Proud.


  1. dave says:

    Started working at Mullard Blackburn in 1977 – after it’s real heyday but still a large and significant employer with some 2500 employees. Trained as an industrial engineer – old fashioned “time and motion man” – with lots of initial training in valve assembly, an amazing production line process with some assembly cycle times measured in a few seconds. Great times with lovely dedicated people, largely female on the shop floor – good news for a young man straight from college! Look forward to next installments

  2. Ian says:

    I was there from 73 to 75, then left for something better. My immediate boss had the initials JWW and was a total tosser, though I understand that he rose to great heights in Philips and other companies. He gave me the sniffiest possible reference, full of management bullspeak. It was supposedly confidential but my new employers were so intrigued by its fatuousness that they showed it to me, and used it subsequently on training courses as how not to do it.

    • Phil says:

      Yes, that’s my experience of bosses too, which is why I work for myself. It seems to take a certain breed to become a boss and although I am technically a boss now the only person I upset is myself or my wife.

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