VOX AC100 - UPDATES AND NEW INFO
October and November 2019
Auctioned yesterday in Boston by Skinner Auctioneers, serial number 350 (00350), doubtless grey panel and cathode biased (conforming to the AC80/100 schematic). Probably one of the many amps exported to the USA in 1965.
23rd November (2)
"Midland Beat" magazine, December 1966, The Move with an AC100.
A slightly enlarged detail of Paul's trolley (see yesterday's entry) along with a shot of a surviving example of an early handwheel.
22nd November (2)
Some fantastic details from pictures taken at Blokker, Holland, 6th June, 1964: the rear of Paul's amp and side of his bass cab, showing the old-style handwheel on the trolley (cursive VOX logo).
Pictures from the Dutch National Picture Archive .
Below, details of two preamps. The first an early AC80/100 (green Woden transformers, etc.), late 1964, refurbished by JMI and reboxed at some point; the second an AC30 Super Reverb Twin, early 1965 (?).
If anyone recognises the significance of "165" written on the aluminium of both, do let me know.
The issue of the Vox Teen Beat magazine from mid 1966 just posted contains a three page Vox advert that had appeared in several issues of "Melody Maker" during the course of 1965.
The first two pages are identical: The Beatles ("Top Pop Stars Feature Vox"); and a page of pictures, a sort of collage, of other Vox users.
The third page is a list of Vox users. The American list is longer by around half again, and contains as one might expect a number of American bands. The only American band to feature in the English list is the Sir Douglas Quintet.
Above, the Thomas Organ "Vox" list in Teen Beat magazine, vol. 1, issue 3, mid 1966. The American bands are: Paul Revere and the Raiders; The Rising Sons; The Monkees; Sir Douglas Quintet; The Gentrys; Dino, Desi and Billy; The Standells; The Palace Guard; Guilloteens; Velvet Underground; W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band; Danny Warner; Gemini VI.
The English "Vox" list, published in "Melody Maker" magazine, 21st August, 1965 (and other issues).
The text below the drawing.
Pictures of Vox Teen Beat magazine, vol. 1, issue 3, from mid 1966, now available here. These will probably be updated in due course. The mention (on page 14) of the film "Fireball 500" being a "smashing boxoffice success" gives a terminus post quem. The film was released in June 1966.
These old newsprint items are extremely fragile, cracking and flaking with repeated handling.
Some early material on the Goodmans Midax horn, the principal applications envisaged naturally being in hi-fi enclosures:
First picture: the Thomas tag and "Vox Rules" badge that came with an organ bought in the US in the late 60s.
Second: the two styles of English tag - the one in cursive script was superceded by the other in mid 1964.
"Wireless World", February 1964: an advert for the new Cannon LNE power connector, developed initially for the BBC. Vox fitted these in relatively short order to John and George's AC50s and to Paul's first AC100 - see the pictures below and on this page.
Detail of a picture of The Beatles rehearsing in Miami, February 1964. Note the red rubber glands on the power cables.
Original power cable from AC100 serial number 392.
Versailles, January 1964: detail showing the backs of George and Paul's amps. The sockets are mounted sideways.
The earliest AC80/100 with an original Cannon power connector (Cannon LNE-32) still in place is serial number 174. Only a very few late-ish small box AC50s (thick-edged box, four inputs in diamond formation) were originally given these connectors - some were "added" later, so beware.
Continuing the Goodmans theme, two pages below from the catalogue of 1966 - the picture of the player with the Hofner President Bass guitar presumably taken in 1964 along with the others in the entry for 10th November.
Some Goodmans promotional material from 1964 /1965. In these years, Vox generally used Goodmans only for horns (the Midax in AC50 and AC100 cabs) and for Foundation Bass speaker cabinets (the Audiom 90, then Audiom 91) - "generally" is of course the operative word.
From 1966, guitar cabs were sometimes fitted with 12" Goodman heavy-frame ceramics.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 21st March, 1964.
A Goodmans catalogue from 1964 / 1965, the same player and Hofner Verithin as above.
A rare picture of The Swinging Blue Jeans on stage, Wimbledon Palais, February-April 1964 (perhaps the advertised date, Saturday 8th Feb.) - the banner of the "National Beat Contest" overhead. Published in "Muziek Parade" magazine, January 1965.
Above, a detail of the bass cab with wood-block (or perhaps perspex) logo.
A provisional note on "Gla-Rev Products Limited", the company that made vast numbers of wooden boxes for Jennings Musical Industries (for amplifiers and speaker cabinets) from 1965.
"G-R" stamped in white on the inner side panel of the box used at one time to house AC100 serial number 323 - but the box probably originally belonged to a slightly later amp.
The company seems to have been formed in the early 1950s, its name an amalgam of those of its founders: Henry Glass and Revel. Glass also traded under his own name, moving his business operations to Ipswich in the early 1970s. Glass made cabinets for Hiwatt, Sound City, and many others.
From early days "Gla-Rev" produced a wide variety of goods - leather luggage, plastic and vulcanised fibre containers, wooden cabinets and boxes, and so on - "enclosures" of all sorts. The factory was first on Selinas Road in Dagenham (East London), then from around 1960 on Fowler Road, Hainault (Essex). Glass was evidently the driving force behind the woodworking side of things.
A cleaner image of the Vox advert on the back cover of the "Glad Rag Ball" programme (20th-21st November, 1964) - see the entry below for 1st November. Colour was used only occasionally in the ads that Vox placed in concert programmes.
A detail from a rough-print picture of Sounds Incorporated, early 1967 - from a Gene Pitney / Troggs tour programme of Feb. '67. Behind the band, an AC50 twin, and an AC100 on a 2x15" cab. Whether these are the amps that the band were photographed with in 1966 is unknown at present.
The country house in the painting on the rear wall? Holkham Hall in Norfolk? An excellent piece of carpet.
Below, rear of stage. c. 1966 (venue in East Anglia at present unknown). At least one of the AC50s pictured has a three-line serial number plate and red warning plaque.
Salient features of the rear of the amp (an early copper-panel AC80/100): twin Cannon XLR sockets; the rounded off corners to the white warning plaque (also on serial number 173); the metal Arrow ball-end mains switch; and the absence of screws on the top edge of the backboard.
4th November (3)
In Appendix 3 of "The Vox Story", Denney's visit to Sepulveda in late October / early November 1965 is documented in some detail. The primary purpose of his trip: to see, hear and assess the new Thomas Organ solid state range, then in its final stages of development. The text of the letter that Stan Cutler, Director of Engineering at Warwick Industries / Thomas Organ, wrote to Tom Jennings following Denney's visit is reproduced below, along with a picture of Stan published in Billboard magazine, 13th July, 1968.
In a sense, these things really belong more on the Vox Supreme website, but it seemed good to place them here too.
To follow, further notes on the things that Denney saw, especially the Treble, Bass and Distortion Boosters, and his comments on speakers.
"Billboard" magazine, 13th July, 1968.
4th November (2)
A rather woolly detail from a picture of the Barron Knights on stage, Palais de Danse, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, 1964 but precise date unknown at present. At the rear of stage a Foundation Bass speaker cabinet on a trolley with ball end casters, an AC50 or AC100 on top.
A detail from a picture published in Denney and Petersen ("The Vox Story", 1993, p. 147) of the Vox stand at the "British Musical Instrument Industries" fair at the Russell Hotel, late August, 1964.
Note on the circular stand underneath the perspex AC30, copies of the colour catalogue printed for Vox earlier in the year:
The catalogue as a whole is available on this page
3rd November (2)
The "Arlington Heights Herald", 25th March, 1965. A slightly earlier advert than the one below. The "Million Dollar Deal" referenced in the strap-line "Million Dollar Sound" was seven months old by March '65.
"The Million Dollar Sound" is of course also the strap-line of the first US Vox catalogue, available on this page.
Below, a page from the "Arlington Heights Herald", 1st April, 1965. The Thomas Organ Studios at the Golf Mill Shopping Center was the first place to receive shipments of Vox equipment from England (17th September 1964) following the forging of the "Million Dollar Deal". The Studios remained an important outlet for Vox in the northern half of the USA throughout the later 1960s.
In the advert, inset pictures of bands, some used in sets of photographs circulated by Thomas to dealers. See also the entries further down this page for 16th and 28th September.
The Golf Mill Center was in Niles, outside Chicago. The Studios were in its North Mall, near the Mill-Run Theatre. Pictures and a map coming soon.
2nd November (2)
Below, an interesting advert for Vox in the Bristol Daily Courier (Pennsylvania), 18th November, 1965, re-using a colour advert originally issued by Jennings in the UK in late 1963 / early 1964 for shop display (the backing mount is cardboard). Note in the newspaper advert there is no mention of Thomas Organ
"Central Melody", Levittown, Pennsylvania.
Cardboard backing for shop display.
A new page started on British bands that toured the USA in 1964 with Vox equipment brought from England - here.
1st November (2)
A Thomas Organ matchbook from the Studios in Cooksville, Mississauga, Ontario. It may be that the book - "Made in Japan" - post-dates Vox. Quite whether the Cooksville store handled Vox equipment in the 1960s is not known at present.
A quick shot of the front and back cover of the programme for the Glad Rag Ball, organised by the Students' Union of London University and staged at the Empire Pool, Wembley, 20-21 November, 1964. Vox provided the equipment.
The drawing is the standard one used by Vox for adverts in package tour programmes and the like, 1964-1965. A photo of Gene Vincent and the Londoners on stage is available on this page.
19th October (2)
Recently on ebay, AC100 serial number 1752, built by Triumph Electronics (rather than at the Burndept / Vox Works), probably in late 1966 or 1967.
A better map detail showing the position of the West Street Works - Ordnance Survey 1971, 1:25000 series:
From summer 1970 to summer 1971 the building was home to "Vox Sound Limited". VSL moved production thereafter to Hastings.
Some pics and notes on the Vox / Burndept Works - the "West Street Works" - in Erith. Burndept Electronics, fellow member of the Royston Group of companies and the building's owner, made space for Vox in late 1964, the "Million Dollar Deal" forged with Thomas Organ in the USA having created a pressing need for new production lines. Burndept retained around half the available space, however, for its own lines.
AC100s were assembled at West Street from February/March 1965 to late 1967.
The Works remained home to Vox in the years following the demise of Jennings Musical Industries. "Vox Sound Equipement Limited" took the building over from summer 1968 to mid 1970, and "Vox Sound Limited" took it on for the first year or so of its existence, moving production thereafter to Hastings (really St-Leonard's-on-Sea).
An aerial view of the Works and its car park.
A detail of the riverside area of Erith - the river stippled at right - from an Ordnance Survey map of 1965. The position of the Works is marked in blue.
A front view, the Works just in picture at left, the Elizabethan Electronics building at right. Elizabethan made consumer radios, gramophones, tape recorders, and so on.
One of the assembly rooms photographed in June 1969, not 1967 as the caption says. Various visible features of the solid state amplifiers being assembled (Vox Defiant and Foundation Bass power sections) give the date away.
A Burndept workroom pictured in 1983.
As above, picture from Grace's Guide. Note in this shot the arrangement of windows, doors and wooden strap work - similar to the room in which the solid state amps in the black and white photo above were assembled.
A new page on the types of packaging adopted by Thomas Organ for Vox amplifiers, guitars and accessories is now in progress here.
Three versions of the picture of Bill Wyman with his new Vox bass and the AC100 Foundation Bass he was using at the time - the original photo taken around August 1965.
"Beat Instrumental" magazine, December 1965.
The picture on the left has evidently been retouched - note Bill's hair on the left and the hem of his jacket at right.
Pictures - some colour - show that Bill used the amplifier on various legs of the US tour of 23rd April - 29th May '65. More on this to follow.