Radio Parts has a long and interesting history in the Australian electronics industry.
It was founded by Allen Swann in the 1930s, and now 75 years later is still run and owned by the Swann family.
It began when Norman Swann, Allen's older brother returned from an overseas trip in 1930. He was excited about what he'd seen of the new electronics industry that was opening up over there.
He had imported some valves and components from England which he presented to Allen. Young Allen, who at the time was an assistant storeman in a St Kilda auction room, wasn't sure if he should resign and try to sell these things, but Norman talked him in to it.
He bought a suitcase, filling it with Valves and components. He then caught the morning train from St Kilda to Williamstown. After doing the rounds of the electrical shops in the area he caught the train back home. He had sold all the stock and the suitcase was empty!
After a few months of travelling around selling all his suitcase stock, he expanded the business by buying another suitcase. He filled them both and took off again. Next followed a Ford panel van fitted with drawers, shelves and boxes of stock. He continued selling door to door from the van until in 1935, when 'Radio Parts' was officially registered, the store was opened in Elizabeth Street. Within 10 years, the famous Radio Parts catalogue was being produced.