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Late 1950’s with Ivan Berger

Ivan Berger is a chronicler of the Audio Industry and a Leading Consumer Electronics and Technology Journalist in the CE Hall of Fame. Since he began his career as a tech writer in 1962, he has had the opportunity to hear and experience a lot of equipment. I pestered him for some memories and he was gracious enough to indulge my questions. The full interview will be posted on the site, but I was so charmed by one answer I am posting it here, too. I asked Mr. Berger for his memories of audio in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Early Hi Fi   by Ivan Berger

“Hi-Fi” became a buzzword in the ’50s (there was even a “High Fidelity” lipstick!), but most home audio came from table radios, portable phonographs, or radio/phono consoles.  Components were becoming available, but dealers were about as scarce as they’ve become today. Everything was tube, and everything was mono–though, by the late ’50s you could get “binaural” tuners (FM on one channel, AM on the other) and two-channel amplifiers (The first such amp I saw was a Bell–not from Bell Labs but from a maker of PA equipment).  Emery Cook had binaural LPs, tracked with a forked arm that held two cartridges, but I never saw one until it had long since become a curiosity.   (more…)

Thanks, Bill

Bill Skinner at TAPCO . Audio designer/Mentor designed for TAPCO, Phase Linear

Bill Skinner at TAPCO. Audio designer/Mentor designed for TAPCO, Phase Linear

In the process of begging for photos of the old days from my friends, Bob Gudgel let me have this picture of our friend Bill Skinner. I hadn’t seen him since before a terrible motorcycle accident took his life in the mid eighties.  He was a great guy and a technical mentor to many people in the audio world. He designed for companies including Phase Linear and TAPCO, where this shot was taken.  (more…)

Been to an Employee Reunion lately?

This was a very interesting weekend for those curious about Audio Industry History in the NW. On one coast, folks in North Carolina celebrated CarverFest . This is an annual celebration (since 2007) of all things Bob Carver: his patents, his products, his companies, and his willingness to mix and answer questions from his fans.  You can check it out yourself the Carver fan site  www.theCarversite.com or maybe Bob’s Facebook page.

At the same time, back on our coast, forty people came together to celebrate working at Carver Corporation during its twenty-year run.  It was a Carver Corporation Employees Reunion Picnic. I had never heard of such a thing. Have you been to a reunion of a company that is no longer viable?  It showed a lot of people loved working at Carver, were passionate about their jobs, and enjoyed their co-workers. I think this level of care by all employees helped make the products the long-lived things they were.

The picnic  was quite fun (although I got there late and missed lots of people that I hope to see next time) – Carver alums should check out the Carver Employee Group on Facebook for word of future events!

The Employees didn’t seem to know about CarverFest, and certainly CarverFest doesn’t know much about the Employees.  There are a lot of clever and triumphant stories hidden to history of techs, engineers, designers,  assemblers, QC, purchasing, and products, and I believe some of these stories should be out there!

I love that we were building things, fixing things, making things happen. A small factory is a wonderful place to work; every department is important and predictable rivalries make the plant go round ( Engineers vs Sales – anyone?)

The fact that people worldwide still buy, sell, trade, and celebrate audio equipment from 1975-1995 is partly a reflection of how much went in to those products in the first place. And as this week of celebration has shown us, the pride of the internal teams live on, just like the consumers love of the gear.

 

First Contact

Popular Electronics Sep 1976On a dark night in October of 1976, my mother came up from Yakima to Seattle to sit with me while I packed up and left my husband. She was disappointed and nervous, and even more so when I convinced her to take one hit from the joint I was enjoying as I packed. After her hit she began looking around with paranoia, certain the cops would be knocking on the door any minute. The panic was not alleviated when a large pounding actually began on my front door. She was convinced it was the police. I opened the door to find a 6’4”, shaggy-headed stranger who asked “Did you order 12 EQ kits with no chassis from Popular Electronics?”  (more…)