Since I began the Lectron.Info project in 2012, one of the more elusive histories to acquire was that of INELCO. I had tried numerous internet searches before but could never get beyond basic business information. I did not even know when and how and by whom INELCO had been founded. During the early morning of 2019-SEP-11, I thought of doing a search on the name of Trude Walther, a name listed on a trademark result for INELCO. Imagine my surprise in getting a meaningful result pointing to a history not only of INELCO but of Unda Radio and their founder, Mr. Max Glauber! Some further digging and I was able to send an email to the one of the three children (Heinrich, Hans, and Lisa) of Mr. Glauber, Lisa Glauber (photo on the left). To my complete delight, Ms. Glauber replied and we have corresponded several times. She has very kindly offered to help me correct the historical account information that I had found with the authoritative version. She has also created an historical accounting of her family HERE.
On a personal note, Ms. Glauber is a very gracious person with a keen intellect and speaks and writes German, Italian, and English (thank goodness!). I look forward to updating this page with additional information and photographs with Ms. Glauber’s support.
In 1925, the 23-year-old Mr. Glauber founded the radio factory Unda Società per la Fabbricazione di Apparecchi di Meccanica Fine, (Unda for short) in Toblach with an initial capital of 75,000 lire. At times more than 300 employees were employed in this company. The 1920s and 1930s – politically characterized by the rise of Benito Mussolini and the fascist Italian state that created a wide array of repression policies – were also very difficult years from an economic point of view. The Unda company provided a safe workplace for many people from Toblach and throughout Alta Pusteria region. In addition, Toblach benefited from “guest workers” from Germany or other parts of South Tyrol, who lived there during their service in the village. The history of the Unda company is in many ways of particular importance: for the economic history of the upper Puster Valley, for the history of the village and not least for the history of some Toblacher families.
Mr. Glauber, never one to rest on his laurels, founded a new company, Industria Elettronica Comense SrI or INELCO that same year of 1958. The company became a success and our Lectron System history with INELCO begins in about 1969 with the introduction of the Braun Buchlabor model. It should be noted that there is an outstanding question of whether or not INELCO actually directly manufactured and produced Lectron System units or simply branded them from a manufacturing 3rd party. As of 2021, there does not appear to be anyone left alive who can authoritatively answer this question. Ms. Glauber herself was unsure when I posed the question during one of our information exchanges.
Unfortunately, the INELCO history has not been as easy to discover as the Unda history was.
Ms. Glauber also provided me with an English translation of her elder brother Heini‘s (Heinrich or Enrico) resume. He was the de facto manager of INELCO until his passing in 2017. Mr. Glauber earned an electrotechnical engineering degree in May of 1954 from the Politecnico in Milan, Italy. He worked for Fernseh, GmbH in Darmstadt, Germany for several years. The resume revealed that Mr. Glauber began serving as the INELCO project manager within a few years after returning to Italy at the end of 1958.
The Buchlabor based Lectron System product lines which bore the Braun, INELCO, and Lectron, GmbH branding were likely initially manufactured through Deutsche Lectron at least up to 1972 and not INELCO.
The Braun Buchlabor model first appeared in the Fall of 1969 and garnered a special prize from the educational publishing world as evidenced by the blue band show below.
INELCO also issued its own catalog featuring the current Braun product line up.
Other companies became resellers of the INELCO Lectron System product line including ITALHARVEY and MERAK S.p.A. (which sold the Italharvey branded unit).
The three graphics below represent several of the marketing advertisements that were run in various Italian publications.
Starting in about 1973 (or a year earlier), INELCO marketed and sold a specialized Lectron System product line in Italy called the Lectron Sistema 2000, dropping the Braun name. In addition to the 2000 Buchlabor styled model, INELCO introduced six add-on kits to expand the possible variety of experiments.
Adding to the confusion in establishing the date of when the Sistema 2000 was introduced, INELCO adapted a Braun catalog and the INECLO catalog not only included the Braun product line but the Sistema 2000 product line along with the first four add-on kits, 2001 – 2004.
Following the Braun business practice of multi language versions of its instruction manuals, INELCO followed suit with English, French and Spanish cover packaging and instruction manual translations for each 2000 series add-on model. There were no German language instruction manual translations consistent with the geographical sales distributorship arrangements with Lectron, GmbH.
INELCO was also the publisher of the non German language teaching and learning cards.
After 1973, INELCO also branded and sold the Ausbausystem für Buchlabor (Red Book) model, perhaps commissioned by Mr. Walter. The timeline for the Red Book version of the model is currently uncertain due to no known appearance of it in price lists, brochures, or catalogs published by either INELCO or Lectron, GmbH (Lectron-MW era).
Lectroneers may recall the Lectron System distributor arrangements agreed to at the end of 1972 at the conclusion of Braun’s involvement with the Lectron System. INELCO retained the Italian distributorship and produced the Sistema 2000 product line while Lectron, GmbH (Lectron-MW) received the sales and distribution rights for the German-speaking countries, in Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg), the Anglo-Saxon and the Scandinavian countries. It is possible that the Red Book was produced by INELCO concurrent with the Sistema 2000 and the six small expansion kits that it also introduced for the non German speaking marketplaces.
Lectron, GmbH would later rebrand this version of the model with their name by simply using a green sticker to cover up the INELCO brand. When the Red Book inventory was depleted, Lectron, GmbH would later replace the Red Book with a conventional cardboard box version with the same name.
Finally, INELCO also branded the JAPANESE version of the Buchlabor that was sold during the Lectron-MW era. This is an extremely rare model despite Mr. Manfred Walter stating that he had sold 10,000 units to the Sony Corporation! More on this subject may be read on the Lectron-MW introduction page.