Blackburn (Microtech Solutions) went into administration in September 2009. This was the end to a very long era that had begun when engineer Captain Stanley R. Mullard first founded the company in 1920 to manufacture electronic radio (and then later television components). By 2009 a large part of their business was the production of cathodes for televisions however the development of the new flat-panel screens had started to make the cathode ray technology obsolete. Business became progressively more and more difficult and the few workers at Blackburn finally lost their jobs. To add salt to the wound, as well as manufacturing television components, engineers at Blackburn had been developing a new type of vacuum tube for audio amplification, the MicroTech E813CC, which had some geniune improvements over the ECC83. It required lower heater current and the engineers had also put a great deal of time into working with audiophiles and guitarists to get the tone balance just right. The new tube had only been in production for a matter of weeks before the factory closed.

I was recently motivated by sheer curiosity and a sense of nostalgia to travel to Lancashire to explore the Blackburn site to see what, if anything remained of the Mullard plant. You can find photos of my expedition and read my ramblings on the Effectrode blog.