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peopletalk's Podcast

Sep 9, 2015


 It’s a true story of intrigue, victory and betrayal, a story of industrial espionage  and corporate greed, counterfeiting and corporate wrongdoing. 


It’s the story of an audio invention that revolutionised the world music business; a story that could have come straight out of the pages of a thriller novel.  It is not fiction, but a true story told by Marie Louise Killick's daughter Cynthia Killick.   


In 1957, our mother Marie Louise Killick’s long legal fight was vindicated by the Royal Courts of Justice, in London, against Pye Radio. The court upheld her claims that Pye had infringed her patent rights covering a gramophone record stylus worth ten’s of millions of pounds. After her victory, Pye insured themselves for £2,500,000 with the Prudential Insurance Company to protect their retailers from possible claims for selling their counterfeit stylus around Britain.


Pye had lost, but in 1959 Marie was manoeuvred into bankruptcy. She began a three year battle with the Official Receiver in an attempt to prevent him from taking over her damages claim against Pye Radio and settling for the derisory sum of £4,300, when she was owed millions. Marie never received a penny in damages. 


Her stylus was a revolution in sound reproduction quality. The gemstone was ground to a flat at its tip and this rode on the sides of the record groove, dramatically reducing distortion, surface noise and wear and tear to the gramophone record. Decca declared ’Sapphox’ to be the best thing on the market and offered her £750,000 in 1945 for her British patent rights.



In the late 1940s Pye Radio realised that the patent rights protecting her invention were not for sale. They then swamped the market with a counterfeit product, squeezing her business out of its growing profits.


Marie would not give up the fight even when she was ’kidnapped’ off the street and locked away in a mental asylum. 


Marie paid a heavy price for her passion to bring to music lovers superb sound reproduction, and the world benefited enormously from her invention. 


Introduction narration by Nick Wyard  

Book narration by Teresa Critchley


Produced by Nigel Killick 

You can buy Cynthia Killick’s book at this link: “A Sound Revolution



Or search for…. 


“A Sound Revolution”

in Lulu search box or the Book ISBN 9781291468304



Music: Attribution-NonCommercial-No 3 United States

Music from:

“La Traviata, Brindisi (Verdi)” (by MIT Symphony Orchestra)

“Manon Lescaut, Intermezzo (Puccini)” (by MIT Symphony Orchestra)

“Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 59” (by Jonathan Biss)