Exiting World War II

The Birth of a Legend

In the first half of 1945, while still “fighting the battle of Arkansas,” Paul completed the HF horn design that complemented his corner woofer horn. Sherman Fairchild volunteered to send the necessary plywood for prototyping to Hope, as the quantity held at the proving grounds was not for sale, and Paul refused to steal it! It was this X-5 horn atop the X-3 woofer which was the first full-range assembly of his own design to eventually be called the Klipschorn.

The war was winding down. Germany surrendered on 5/8/45, and Japan on 8/15/45. Paul was anxious to either start a business or get a job. In September he sent this “form letter” to fourteen leading companies involved in acoustics. Clearly he was holding out for more than a “hired hand” position. The index on this file is titled “Circular Letters”.

Paul’s next move was to present a paper titled “A Loudspeaker for Critical Monitoring” at the Society of Motion Picture Engineers in New York (SMPE before the addition of “T” for television). Rates at the Hotel Pennsylvania started at $3.75. Yes, the decimal is in the right place. This was barely two months after the close of the war, so one of the evening activities was a victory dance. Too bad Eva Belle did not accompany him on this journey.

In order to travel on personal business while still being on active duty, Paul received a generous 20 day leave of absence. Paul made the most of this leave, as shown in his “calendar” and his list of "stuff". Cross country travel in those days was largely by rail. This suited PWK perfectly. It’s currently unclear why he made the initial stop in Kansas City. The stop in Elkhart was to visit with Product Engineering Corporation as well as the organ company, C. G. Conn. It is also possible that he visited some relatives since he was born in Elkhart. The Chicago stop was intended to result in visits with Hugh Knowles at Jensen, and H. H. Scott. No proof as yet.

Paul arrived in New York City on Sunday September 14. The SMPE convention was the 15th - 17th, with Paul speaking on the 16th. Meanwhile, back on the base in Arkansas, his secretary updated him with this letter. On September 18 he met with Sherman Fairchild’s organization. Sherman Fairchild already had an early prototype corner horn in his New York penthouse. The next day it was a subway to Camden, NJ to visit RCA. Mr. A. N. Curtiss gave him contact names at the Indianapolis, IN office, including E. W. Kellogg of the Rice & Kellogg team.

There are notes with the personal addresses and phone numbers of several Bell Labs engineers that were building their own “K-horns” from drawings he supplied. No doubt he was in touch. It is also highly likely that Paul met with Bill (?) Jurek of Langevin. Whether or not it occurred at this suspected meeting, it was definitely Jurek who said: “We know of your speaker - we call it the 'Klipschorn',” thus naming Paul’s creation.

The next day in Philadelphia he visited his long-time friend, George Beggs, eventual President of Leeds-Northrup. Then it was off to Fort Wayne, IN to meet with the president of Magnavox, Richard A. O’Conner. Finally he addressed the St. Louis, MO chapter of the IRE the evening of the 24th. A Mr. McDaniel was chairing the event.

To conclude this whirlwind rail tour, PWK returned to Hope, AR and his strongest supporter, Eva Belle.