J. Herbert Orr of Opelika, Alabama started the Orradio manufacturing company after WWII. According to Wikipedia, he produced “the first commercially available audio tape, video tape and computer tape in the world.”
Orr had been one of three soldiers that “captured” the Magnetophones in Germany after the war, which essentially started the modern tape recording business in the USA.
Paul Klipsch was a friend of Mr. Orr, and used Orr tape for his short-lived KlipschTape venture in the late 1950’s.
After Orr’s death in 1984 there was an auction of his vast radio paraphernalia collection. Naturally, Paul and I found ourselves there with a bidding card. The crown jewel of the sale was one of the original Magnetophones. I probably could have been arrested for my jabbing at Paul to bid!
Unfortunately the minimum bid was set at $10,000, and while he could afford it, he abstained (dammit!).
Some dozen or so of the items acquired at this sale can be found in the Klipsch Museum of Audio History. They include test equipment, radios, horns, and tape players.
Do you have your own Paul W. Klipsch story that would be good for “Good Poop”? Post it in the comments below
In the fall of 1974, future Klipsch Chief Engineer Gary Gillum sent PWK a present. At the time Gary worked for Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO contributing to rides and illusory attractions. The gift looked exactly like a brick but was made out of foam.
On Nov. 25, 1974 PWK wrote to Gillum:
“Thanks for the brick. I have thrown it at Ruth (his secretary), Bob (President), and a couple of guys in the shop. I’m planning on (as you suggest) trying it on a police car windshield — that might be the way to meet the new chief.”
Belle Klipsch typed this letter to Gary and added her own P.S.:
“Paul had a great time throwing the “brick” at the plate glass window at the Trade Winds Café this afternoon!”
This incident pre-dates my tenure by 4 years (he was only 70!). In my experience, this type of mischievous humor was Paul’s calling card until the end.
Anyone have a PWK practical joke to relate?
In 1979, returning from our first vacation while working for Klipsch, my wife and I encountered a deer at 70 MPH. That was in Nashville, TN, and it extended our vacation by a few days.
We patched up with the car with a used radiator and it limped home. The car died soon after and we had to cancel our planned weekend trip to Fayetteville, AR for a concert. When PWK heard our situation – he immediately offered to loan us his Audi. That’s the kind of guy he was. I had been working at Klipsch for less than a year and was as “scruffy” as the rest of his employees, yet he was willing to go out of his way to help me.
Traveling between Hope and Fayetteville still requires mostly two-lane highways. Additionally, crop-dusters are very common in this part of the country.
We were on a slightly elevated section of the highway when I looked out of the driver’s side window straight into the propeller of a bi-plane! I ducked, but didn’t swerve. He climbed.
New to Good Poop? You can learn more here.
The title of our blog series speaks to me on several levels.
A Google search (be very careful there…) suggests the word “poop” is optionally defined as:
relevant information, especially a candid or pertinent factual report; low-down:
“Send a reporter to get the real poop on that accident.”
1945-50, Americanism; apparently extracted from poop sheet;
And for poop sheet:
a circular, list of instructions, press release, etc., providing information about a particular subject.
1. This is a “vintage” phrase. The timing of its origin appears to match that of Klipsch & Associates.
2. I have heard Paul W. Klipsch use the term.
3. It was actually used as a headline in a 1982 Klipsch Pro bulletin. (Read)
4. And finally, it is not politically correct!
Welcome aboard! Hopefully “Good Poop” will keep you amused, and you will keep me honest.
– Jim Hunter
Listen up… In the world of audio technology, there are pseudo-superstars, false prophets, and those who claim to be golden ears – but there is no comparison to the straight engineering and audio experience of Jim Hunter – Program Manager and Klipsch Historian at Klipsch Group, Inc.
Jim Hunter (Left) and Paul W. Klipsch (Right) pose with a giant foam horn.
Company founder Paul W. Klipsch hired Hunter as a transducer engineer in Hope, Arkansas 36 years ago today. Hunter has since served as a design engineer, production engineer, engineering manager, director of design engineering, VP of design engineering and company historian. The Klipsch Museum of Audio History has been on his job description since 1979.
Hunter began his career with the Rola Company, an OEM driver manufacturing company, in 1974. He and PWK co-authored U.S. Patent #4,387,786, an anechoic chamber featuring a multi-functional revolving door. Jim has been a key contributor to more than 150 Klipsch-branded loudspeakers sold in specialty audio retail stores around the world.
Jim has been a member of the Audio Engineering Society since 1979 and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers since 1974. To put it simply… When Jim speaks, you’ll want to listen.
That’s why we’re beginning a new series on our blog called Good Poop. Jim will be featured in this blog posting stories and historical facts from Jim’s personal and professional relationship with PWK and the Klipsch brand.
Up next: What is Good Poop?
You know the feeling when you discover something completely epic and you try to explain it to someone and you just get a blank stare? Then you realize you’re the only one who knows…and it makes your discovery all that much cooler.
It’s the underground. It’s the speakeasy. It’s the club everyone wants to belong to, but doesn’t know it yet. And you have the secret handshake.
Welcome to the joint.
12 things you should know about us before you attempt to impress your friends:
- Don’t embarrass yourself. It’s pronounced Clip-shh. Not Clips. Not e-clipsh, not Klipish. You can do this.
- We are not German, although they make great stuff too. We are American, founded by an American. 1946 was the year we changed how the world listens.
- We were born in a tin shed in Hope, Arkansas out of our founder’s desire to bring live music into his home. Because let’s face it, dressing up for the symphony can be daunting. Especially in Arkansas.
- About our founder… It’s no stretch to guess his name was Klipsch. Paul Wilbur, to be exact. An eccentric genius. A true audio pioneer. An Engineering and Science Hall of Fame inductee. A no-bullshit artist who was proud to piss off his neighbors.
- You can absorb all of PWK’s madness here. Don’t get lost.
- When nothing on the market fit his needs, he built his own speakers. Because that’s what brilliant people do. Enter, the Klipschorn. To get techy for just a second, the fully horn-loaded design is a patented technology that established industry standards and is the driving force behind our stunningly precise and efficient sound. So successful, so unique, so fabulously vintage…we still hand-make them today in the same town where it all started. Hope. You can geek-out more here.
- While our history is rich, storied and frankly amazing, we continue to kick ass. Our stuff simply sounds better because PWK’s founding sound principles still guide us in everything we do today. Engineering perfection never goes out of style.
- Our pro speakers are in movie theaters. Lots of movie theaters. The really cool ones, anyway.
- Our in-ear headphones are the most comfortable in the world. Of course that’s an opinion, but it’s the correct one. We have the patented oval ear-tips to back it up, and the testimony of, well, about everyone who has tried them. They are oval because our ear canals are oval. It was our smack on the forehead moment that changed in-ear headphones forever.
- Countless high-profile artists love and use our stuff. That’s how good we sound.
- Movies, TV shows, and even video games feature our stuff without asking. That’s how good we look.
- Our community forum boasts some of the most brilliant and helpful audiophiles in the industry, many of whom have been posting daily for years. We listen to them. We respect them. We would not be who we are without them.
We think that’s enough to get you started. When you are ready to dive in, visit the links below. You’ll be glad you did.