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Happy 123rd Birthday, Philips!



Frans van Houten

In striving for a better future, it is sometimes enlightening to reflect on past triumphs. For the most creative imaginations can often be fuelled by memories of our proudest achievements.


Anniversaries present the perfect opportunity to do so and today, to celebrate our 123rdbirthday, we at Philips have decided to look back at some of our company’s most important innovations. Innovations that revolutionized the world, lit its darkest corners, brought communication to the masses, enriched our lives and transformed our health.

What links all of these astonishing moments in time is a simple philosophy that continues to guide all of us at Philips – let us create something that makes people’s lives better, that makes society stronger and the planet safer.


History shows us how far we have come, which is precisely what this birthday ‘scrapbook’ is designed to do. It also encourages us to develop ideas that will inspire generations to come, in the same way that I’m constantly inspired by Anton Philips and the great men and women who were his successors.


So here’s to our history – and to our future. Happy birthday Philips.

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Our founder Gerard Philips immersed in his experiment (circa 1890).

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Postcard advertising Philips lamps – The Man With The Top hat (circa 1909).

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Meet Goliath, the giant light bulb (circa 1919).

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Duplo car lamps, advertisement from 1925.

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The first road that we lit in 1932. Between Beek and Geleen, The Netherlands.

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Philips bulb ad (circa 1949).

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"The Doghouse" - our first TV circa 1951.

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Philips Electric Razor advert from 1961.

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Our first compact VCR, introduced in 1971.

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Mick Jagger needed some convincing about CDs – so he visited us in Eindhoven in 1981.

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Released in the 1990s under the new ‘Let’s make things better’ campaign.

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Released in 2008 promoting the Philips Arcitec Shaver.

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Testing the Times Square Ball to get ready for New Year's Eve 2014.

Frans van Houten

Frans van Houten

CEO and Chairman

Dutch-born Frans van Houten started his career at Phillips in 1986 in marketing and sales. He became CEO of Airvision, an in-flight entertainment startup in the United States in 1992, and was appointed Vice President of international sales and operations of Philips’ Kommunikations Industrie in Germany in 1993. In 1996, Frans joined Philips’ Consumer Electronics division, leading the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region from Singapore.


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