In 1907, Arthur Bell Pollock made the groundbreaking decision to start his own business in Kitchener, Ontario manufacturing hornless phonographs. Originally known as “Pollock Manufacturing”, and later re-christened to “Dominion Electrohome Industries Limited” in 1933, Pollock’s company was run by the spirit of innovation. Electrohome was always looking technologically forward in order to meet the demands of the future, and are a classic example of Waterloo Region’s long tradition of innovation.
While Pollock started Electrohome by simply producing phonographs, he quickly recognized the viable business opportunities surrounding his products, and expanded his company into a variety of industries that were complementary to the direction of his innovations. As their record players were so successful, Electrohome decided to also sell the records that were played on them, as well as the cabinets to house them in order to dominate the entire market. The decision to make cabinets expanded the company significantly, establishing its successful furniture division, known as “Deilcraft”. Pollock’s bold spirit pushed his company even further into the future, trying their hand at producing innovative products like cabinet radios, car radios, air conditioners, fans, and other household appliances. By the 1950s, Electrohome was producing televisions in full swing, and in 1965 they produced the first colour televisions to be manufactured in Canada. In later years they struck up major deals with Atari® by supplying them with screens for their video games, like the popular Pac-Man; as well as NASA by supplying them with monitors for the Kennedy Space Centre to watch Space Shuttle Columbia launch the first Canadarm.
In 1967, Electrohome unveiled the Circa 75; their most ambitious and futuristic concept. The unit itself was a combination of several pieces of technology, including radio, television, telephone, and intercom. It was designed to be a “communications nerve centre for the future”. The console was centrally controlled from a chair, where the user could do everything from watching and recording television programs, ordering groceries from the local grocery store through the phone, speaking via intercom throughout the house, and calling friends with a video phone. Although Circa 75 never entered production, Electrohome wasn’t far off in guessing what the internet would allow people to do 35 years later, with its features mirroring modern day technologies like TiVo, FaceTime, and Amazon Grocery. This piece of technology was astounding for its age, and is a great example of the culture of innovation that flourishes in Waterloo Region to this day.