The manufacture and development of electronic components was to become of Blackburn's mainstay industries. One of the largest electronics companies was Mullard Limited who were part of the larger company of Philips of Mitcham. They were the first to occupy land on the new Whitebirk Industrial Estate when itn opened in the late 1930s. Mullard had been founded by Mr Stanley Mullard in 1920 and manufactured radio valves. Mr Mullard was considered to be a pioneer in the radio industry and during the war had been involved in the development of military radio communications.
By the end of 1938 Mullard were producing 6,500,000 valves per year and were to later be involved in the manufacture of components for television sets. During World War Two they produced components for military systems and by the 1950s were involved in the manufacture of cathode tubes for television. When the Queen made a tour of Blackburn in 1955, the Mullard plant was one of the places she visited, it was hailed as a beacon of new industry in the Lancashire area. During the 1970s the Mullard plant occupied over 46 acres of land in Blackburn and employed over 5000 people. They were responsible for the manufacture of tens of millions of capacitors, transistors and valves every year. In 1969 they had begun production of components for colour television and production took place at the plant at Little Harwood and at a large site in Simonstone.
Mullard was to move into even more high-tech industries throughout the early 1980s. It was jointly responsible for the development of laser disc technology then known as the Philips Laser Vision Home Entertainment disc, this would later become the CD, CD-rom and DVD technology that we are now so familiar with. The company became internationally renowned, making news in the 1980s because they were exporting components to the technologically advanced Japanese. Mullard components were considered to be of the highest quality, winning a British Quality award in 1987 for its production of top quality components with an ability to produce 'zero defect’ T.V. and video components.