My mother, Marie Louise Killick’s story is of one woman’s courage and tenacity in her ten-year fight against the huge musical combine Pye Radio. Pye stole her patented idea for a stylus that greatly improved sound reproduction when used to play the gramophone records of the time. After 12 years of research into her papers, press reports of the case, personal memories and four re-writes of my book A Sound Revolution, it is finally finished!
Her ten-year legal battle and her victory over Pye Radio made legal history. The case is still cited today in instructing law students in patent infringement law. Pye Radio made a donkey of England’s legal system when she was forced into a rigged bankruptcy after Pye bought one of her debts and manipulated the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy to dance to their tune. He settled her damages claim against them – which would have run into millions – for a derisory settlement of a few thousand pounds. She died from cancer, broken-hearted, a bankrupt, homeless, in poverty and separated from her children, who meant the whole world to her.
In her own words
In the year of the First World War 1914, I was born in Surrey, England; my mother was busy washing up, she had one big pain and I was delivered into this world.
I was the first child of my father’s second marriage, there were two boys and two girls, my father was a widower. I remember my mother telling me how we were both resented, they never did accept us, but my younger brother was lucky by the time he was born; although they had not accepted us, they did not seem to resent him. This, of course, made my childhood difficult. But to make up for this sadness, I had a wonderful grandmother, my father’s mother, who travelled the high seas; who in such times was a very intellectual woman; who had been married to my grandfather, an officer in the Indian Army in Bombay, where my father was born.
My parents sent me to a convent, which have since proved to be the happiest days of my life. How I always thank God for their kindness in having decided on a convent education for me. This was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me and it was responsible for the paving of my character for the years that followed. I loved the nuns, their serenity and their overpowering love and worship of God. I was a very vivacious girl, full of life and thought the world a wonderful place. I was so shielded from people and this world, as I look back it seems a glimpse of heaven to me now.
War broke out in 1939 and I was given contracts work for the Ministry. These cutters [steel needles, called cutters, were used to impress sound waves on wax disc, forming a groove in which the sound was recorded. The wax disc was then used to press copies of the recording on a gramophone record] were distributed among the Army, Airforce and Navy. Before the war, the instruments were imported from USA, Germany, and such industrial business was not known [in Britain at the time]. I manufactured these at Maida Vale, but through the blitz was compelled to move to Charmouth in Dorset.
I had a great love for my mother, she had had a great suffering through a fall she had when she was a baby. My first fear was the thought of losing her. I dreaded the day she might die, as if I had some awful premonition; for the day she died, I lost everything, my mother and my life’s work, my patents all over the world lapsed; it all happened the same day in October 1949. Of course I had two little girls, and a husband who had walked out of my life, knowing I was expecting my third child, a son. I had long felt the pangs of suffering through the musical combines, for in the year 1959 my successful case began to simply crash.
I am sure this is the secret of this troubled world today: self first and self last. The real secret of life is giving, never receiving unless one is so ill, that one is delighted in receiving help others could give. But I fail to see how one can find complete happiness here. Living for oneself, this can only lead to destruction to one’s self and soul and if one does not know God and does not love him before anything in this world, how can one survive, when one faces adversity? I know only too well that I would have landed up by being a murderer for the suffering people have deliberately caused my children and myself. Justice has not been served on this earth; in fact I won a judgement but lost it, through their evil works. I will leave this to God. I am convinced he will serve it in the end, where people in the world have failed.
To take a woman’s livelihood away who had the struggle to have to bring up four children alone, suffering from ill health, makes them like the beast in the jungle. Man eats man, contradictory to God’s commandments and everything that stands holy. Nobody needs riches. I may not have received the success of worldly goods, on the contrary I have been robbed of everything, but I have the huge blessing according to God’s word, I shall see God. What greater success than this can anyone hope to experience? My children have been blessed, knowing through thieves the suffering caused and this gives them a greater sense and respect and love for God’s Ten Commandments. I trust they will obey them always.
Jesus: “verily, verily I say unto you, it is harder for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, than for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle”.
“Blessed are the poor for they shall see the Kingdom of Heaven.”
I have not received the success of the world, with worldly goods, but God had ordained my success in the world to come by his own words.
If I had won my judgement to a conclusive and successful end, I should have been a very rich woman, and this terrified me, because I would not have found favour with God.
In any case I intended to give most of these riches to the poor. But God knows best.
Marie Louise Killick
Remembered with Love and Pride
our dear mother
Maria Louise Killick
1914 – 1964
In life in death
O Lord abide with me