More than a century of innovation and entrepreneurship

    Over a period of some 130 years, we have continued to improve people’s lives with a steady flow of ground-breaking innovations.

             
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    More than a century of innovation and entrepreneurship

    Over a period of some 130 years, we have continued to improve people’s lives with a steady flow of ground-breaking innovations.

             
    •      

    History timeline start

    1890s

    Entrepreneurs in a new light

    1890s

    Entrepreneurs in a new light
    Philips & Co was founded in 1891 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, by Frederik Philips and his son, Gerard. Recognizing the opportunity presented by the mass-market introduction of electricity, and inspired by Gerard’s keen interest in scıence and engineering, the pair soon conceived a bold but timely plan: cost-effective, reliable electric incandescent light bulbs.
    1890s
    History timeline ongoing

    1900s

    The social pioneers

    1900s

    The social pioneers
    The 1900s were a time of dramatic social and economic change. During this time, Philips became the largest private employer in the Netherlands, with over 2,000 employees. As mass industrialization gathered pace, Gerard and his brother Anton invested in providing housing, healthcare and sports, instilling a culture of social responsibility that continues to this day.
    1900s
    History timeline ongoing

    1910s

    Growth and success through innovation

    1910s

    Growth and success through innovation
    Recognizing the value of scientific research to product innovation, the first Philips research laboratory – known as ‘Philips Nat Lab’ - opened in 1914. Led by Dr Gilles Holst, it aspired to the highest standards of research, embarking on visionary projects, such as investigating emerging lighting technologies to discover new sources of light, while its breakthroughs in X-ray tubes ultimately marked the origin of Philips' involvement in health technology.
    1910s
    Growth and success through innovation
    History timeline ongoing

    1920s

    A leader in design

    1920s

    A leader in design
    Much of our Philips design expertise can be traced back to Louis Christiaan Kalff. An architect with a passion for graphic design, Kalff understood the importance of consistent, effective design and recognized its role in driving consumer preference for the company’s products as well as brand. The first product to reflect this design vision was the Philips radio, which also introduced the famous waves-and-stars shield.
    1920s
    History timeline ongoing

    1930s

    Changing the face of shaving  

    1930s

    Changing the face of shaving
    During the 1930s, Philips introduced its pioneering rotary electric razor, the Philishave. With its ergonomics and attractive appearance, the Philips Philishave heralded the age of mass-market consumerism. It was an instant success and set the stage for appealing, customer-centric products. Since its introduction in 1939, Philips has sold an average of 700 Philishaves an hour.
    1930s
    History timeline ongoing

    1940s

    The modern age of broadcasting begins  

    1940s

    The modern age of broadcasting begins
    After the second World War, Philips Research developed innovations to aid post-war recovery. These included using UV light to kill bacteria, tubular fluorescent lights, new magnetic materials and ceramics, a hearing aid, a gramophone as well as miniaturizing and modernizing its radio and shaver technologies. The most significant introduction, though, was mass-market television.
    1940s
    History timeline ongoing

    1950s

    From products to experiences  

    1950s

    From products to experiences
    The World Fair was an expression of post-war ideals of peace and innovation. Philips was alone among multinationals in being awarded a pavilion of its own at the 1958 Expo. Known as Le Poème Electronique, the futuristic Philips space hosted a showcase of color, sound and images, creating a unique ‘ambient’ experience; a revolutionary concept at the time and a prelude to Philips Ambient Experience.
    1950s
    From products to experiences
    History timeline ongoing

    1960s

    Sound of the Sixties  

    1960s

    Sound of the Sixties
    In response to popular culture and consumer spending power, Philips focused on making its technologies accessible. The first Compact Cassette audio player - ideal for the mass market - was an instant success. It set the global standard for tape recording and was followed by the first stereo Compact Cassette player, as well as car and portable radio cassette players.
    1960s
    Sound of the Sixties
    History timeline ongoing

    1970s

    Continued innovation in sound and vision

    1970s

    Continued innovation in sound and vision
    As the video age dawned, Philips launched the first video cassette recorder (VCR) in 1971. While the VCR and ongoing innovations kept Philips at the forefront of consumer products, the company was also undergoing further change as the world globalized.
    1970s
    Continued innovation in sound and vision
    History timeline ongoing

    1980s

    Leading the digital world  

    1980s

    Leading the digital world

     

    Informed by its pioneering work in images, sound and data, Philips remained at the forefront of emerging consumer digital technologies in the 1980s. Introductions included the LaserVision Optical Disc, optical telecommunication systems and, one of its biggest successes, Compact Disc (CD) – developed together with Sony.
    1980s
    History timeline ongoing

    1990s

    Human-centered design

    1990s

    Human-centered design
    As technology became more complex and ever-present, the 1990s saw the rise of products designed to be easier to use and more comfortable to experience. Philips adopted a human-centered approach to product design entitled ‘Design for Life’, which harmonized and integrated all aspects, improving patient experience and throughput.
    1990s
    History timeline ongoing

    2000s

    Delivering new experiences  

    2000s

    Delivering new experiences
    Philips is more than a company name – it is a brand with a purpose. This era marked a renewed, people-centric focus and the company’s first fully comprehensive approach to creating a harmonized Philips brand experience, delivering solutions that were advanced, easy to use, and designed around the user
    2000s
    History timeline ongoing

    2010s

    Leading in health technology  

    2010s

    Leading in health technology
    Inspired by its purpose to improve people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation, Philips aims to improve the lives of 2.5 billion people per year by 2030. Today its growing portfolio of innovative health technology solutions supports value-based care across the health continuum.
    2010s
    Leading in health technology
    Health technology