For a short period, we are publishing some information from our archives of Data Recording.

This covers periods including our time at SE Labs (EMI) Ltd, Thorn EMI Datatech and Penny and Giles Data Systems, all now defunct.

These archives relate to Instrumentation Data Recording, centred around the Electronics Companies based In Wells, Somerset, at one time belonging to the EMI company.

The EMI Penleigh factories in Wells, Somerset

These companies were very important employers in the area and led to many spin-offs and resulting high-tech companies. Sadly for the area, almost none of these now exist, and high technology is no longer a feature of Somerset.

The products mentioned were extant across most of the company names above, as the organisation was sold and re-sold.

Instrumentation Tape Recorders encompassed technology at its edge, so there are many firsts – switched mode power supplies, brushless dc motors, symbol-based digital encoding, dsp-based servos and many more. This, together with precision manufacture only found in aerospace, made for really interesting technology.

Of equal significance were the computer Tape Drive systems, such as the SE8000, incorporated into the first CAT scanner developed by Godfrey Hounsfield.

A number of local businesses spun out of this original business, including Avalon Electronics, M5 Data, Somerdata and Phi Labs, all engaged in some form of data recording.


If you have memories or stories to tell that you would like included here, please contact us using the comments section below.

Other links

Magnetic tape recording history

Radio Museum

A History of Penleigh, St Andrews Press and the original PoW usage