The Plexiglas Klipschorn
The Plexiglas Klipschorn was built in the fall of 1970 by Bob Moers, Bill Brewly, Paul Klipsch, and “a guy named Elmer*”. The primary construction location (photos**) is currently a part of the Hope Maintenance area. To quote Bob Moers,
His name was Bill Brewly (sp?), a friend of Cedrick’s, and he did some fairly nice art in Plexiglas. He’d been down to visit the plant on one occasion, and saw a Klipschorn going together and said, “That would make a marvelous piece of art, let me come down and do that”. He was broke and Paul and I sort of agreed - mainly me. We took over the woofer bench for a whole week and built that thing. We went down to Shreveport and bought all these chunks of Plexiglas. I want to say we spent $300. Kind of chapped Paul’s #&%.
This fully functional speaker utilizes some screws for assembly, but most of it is solvent bonded by application with a hypodermic needle. Only an extremely precise fit of the parts would allow the capillary action to work. At one point they were having trouble with a bond, and Paul came in and grabbed the part and “slathered” it with epoxy. Bill literally broke down in tears, as his “art” was being compromised. The result (not so bad) can be seen running vertically in the center of the woofer section (the “backbone”).
In 1978 the speaker was still located in the Klipsch Engineering Lab, currently the Klipsch Museum of Audio History. The back of the woofer cone has a white dot that can be aligned visually with a small ruler attached to the housing. One “witness” played a very bass-heavy piece of music (Mannheim Steamroller) at a painfully loud level. Using ear protection, the white dot could not be detected as moving. In 1997 the speaker was placed on loan with the Klipsch Museum at NMSU, PWK’s alma mater. It returned to Klipsch Group 13 years later.
* Elmer was the primary Klipschorn woofer cabinet builder at that time.
**Photos by Gary Gillum, later to become chief engineer at Klipsch
View all images from this set here