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16 Feb 2016, 13:19

Behind many great products lies an RS Component

titleThis month we launched RS Pro, our new range of products that consolidates all of our former RS-branded products. Starting out in London in 1937 as Radiospares, selling components to repair war time radios, over the last 79 years we have grown into a trusted and loved brand around the world and our components have found their way into many great applications.

Before we dive into a bit more detail around RS Pro, let’s take a short trip down memory lane. In days gone by almost every British engineering company had an RS catalogue placed handily on its shelves. For many it was a lifeblood, a loyal friend just an arm's stretch away to thumb through when you needed to find that perfect component for the task at hand.

The birth of the Iconic 1960's British Rock and Roll Sound!


Back in the 1960’s, something awesome happened… The story goes that The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, challenged British company Marshall to build the world’s first 100W guitar amplifier. Up until then, Marshall’s amplifiers were based on a standard American design, but to meet this challenge, Marshall had to create a new design of their own. (Image left is the first prototype)

This standard American design had no patent restrictions, so the Marshall design engineers started reverse engineering a Fender Bassman guitar amplifier. They didn’t have access to the American components, so they reached for their trusty RS catalogue. A RS Heavy Duty Output Transformer was one of the key components.

titleWhen the design was finished and built, the iconic sound associated with 1960’s British Rock and Roll was born! Apparently, the story also goes that Pete Townshend wasn’t overly blown away with the noise ridden gravelly sound that the amplifier produced, but his fellow 60’s British rock guru’s Eric Clapton and Jimmy Hendrix loved it! So the next time you listen to some classic 60’s rock, it may just be that the sound you're hearing was down to RS Components. Below is a short clip of the Amplfier being designed. (UK readers only)


titleMy first experience of RS was as a child growing up in the 1980’s, when my father was an alarm engineer. I still remember the small RS yellow boxes with the red RS logo scattered around the garage and in the back of his car. He also had sets of RS screwdrivers and other tools neatly hanging up on the garage wall, outlined in white marker paint so you could see if one was missing.

If you’ve been a university student in the UK in any electronics or engineering discipline, chances are this is where you first discovered RS Components, or RadioSpares for the more seasoned engineers among us, when you were learning your trade and discovering Snakebite and Black.

RS Pro brings all our brands together.

titleUp until the mid-1980's, RS sold only own-brand products. Over the years, the catalogue grew from one to six catalogues and then shrank back to one again. Now that we have entered a digital age, many of us prefer to use a mouse click to find our parts. Today, with the bulk of our sales through the web, RS Components has evolved into an international company, distributing over 500,000 products from world leading suppliers, as well as our own 40,000 RS-branded products. Since its humble beginnings, RS has built a credible brand, a reputation for quality and in turn, a loyal customer base. As the brand grew over the years, we introduced other own brand names into the mix, like “RS Essentials” and “ISO-TECH” but we learnt that our customers became confused about these brand identities and whether there was a difference in quality and price.


To address this, we’ve decided to simplify our own-brand products to have one identity around the world. RS Pro, which launched early February, offers a wide choice of products across our electronics and industrial catagories. Tested by leading engineers, and meeting relevant standards, each RS Pro product will carry our RS seal of approval to assure customers of their high quality and performance. And being competitively priced, RS Pro products provide the exceptional value that our customers know and love.  

Find out more about RS Pro in this short video.


Geek, Blogger, Gadget Junkie, Crisp Junkie, Technology Evangelist. ***If you meet me, ask me for the Pete and Greet Badge code.*** DesignSpark Team twitter - @petenwood

16 Feb 2016, 13:19