The Magnavox Company was founded by Stanford graduate Edwin S. Pridham and Danish emigrant Peter L. Jensen. The company, originally known as the Commercial Wireless & Development Company, was founded in March 1911, and became the Magnavox Company in 1917 following a merger with the Western distributor of the Sonora phonographs. Magnavox was initially located in San Francisco, but relocated in 1919 to 2701-2765 East 14th Street (now International Boulevard) in Oakland, California. In June 1930, Magnavox moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the Oakland property was then sold off in stages, becoming the site of the Montgomery Ward & Company Building.
In 1910 the Commercial Wireless & Development Company was formed in Napa, California by Jensen and Pridham, an engineer . Their goal was to design a much more sensitive telephone receiver in order to extend communication range. Although they succeeded the device was so heavy from the electromagnets that it had to set stationary with rubber tubes conducting the sounds to users' ears.
Then in May 1915 the young inventors found that by using a phonograph horn attached to a receiver to created a loudspeaker, or 'amplifier,' which they named the "Magna Vox" meaning 'great voice.'
- Guide to Billy Malone, "The Early History of the Magnavox Company" Stanford.edu
Radio Manufacturers of the 1920's, Volume 2 By Alan Douglas
1. Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division
National Register Nomination Form (for Montgomery Ward building; see page 8 of the PDF)