This is the Radio Engineering Laboratories (REL)
Section of The Broadcast Archive
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last updated 7/19/02
Charles M. Srebroff was the founder of REL.
Charles M. Srebroff (1898 - 1972)
Son of a protestant minister, Srebroff was born December 26, 1898.
After High School, Srebroff attended Columbia University.
Srebroff married Marion Fiestel. They had oned daughter, Carole.
In 1921, Srebroff founded REL (Radio Electronics
Laboratories) in his mother's kitchen. His first products - variable
capacitors and RF coils - led to radio kits.
Naturally, Srebroff built a radio station, so his customers could receive
programs on their radios. WFAG was licensed to Waterford, NY. It was granted DOC
license #467, and ran for a little over a year, from June 9, 1922 to July 1923.
REL was active in the new technology of the day, and
many products for both civilian and military use.
Srebroff was well regarded by his employees, whom he selected for their
expertise and then set them to make the products. His style of management
inspired loyalty from many of his employees. Workers from one of his three
plants are shown here.
REL Plant 2 workers, Henry Dietz circled.
A strong interest in the new FM technology brought Srebroff into contact
with Major Edwin Armstrong. Armstrong became an influential backer for Srebroff for some
years, as part of his personal war against RCA. Unfortunately, in raising the capital for Srebroff, Armstrong arranged an "option" for his neighbor
C.R. Runyon to purchase REL. This led to problems.
In 1947, seeing a potential for post-WWII FM transmitter sales, C.R.
Runyon exercised his option, and promptly dismissed Srebroff. Among others,
Plant Manager Henry Dietz left in sympathy, and founded the Henry
G. Dietz Co, specializing in low pressure/vaccuum technology.
REL ran for a decade of so after Srebroff left, but eventually withered,
and ceased operations after being sold to American Dynamics.
Charles Srebroff died in Connecticut in November 1972.