Vox equipment orders 1964 - 1966
A note in the Guardian newspaper, 30th January, 1963, signalling the controlling stake taken by Royston Industries in Jennings, a key moment. From this point profits did not accrue to Jennings alone. The Observer article, 22nd November, 1964, below, hit the nail on the head.
Most international orders will have been shipped by air, probably using BOAC Cargo Services. Below, the loading of a transatlantic cargo plane, 1963.
Just to gather below some of the reports of the orders that Jennings won during the course of 1964, 1965 and 1966 - quite staggering figures. The Vox Works at Erith and the old premises on Dartford Road will have been running at full pelt to keep up with demand. These of course are simply the orders reported by the newspapers:
From "Beat Instrumental" magazine no. 18, October 1964. The "Million Dollar" contract, signed at the British Musical Instruments (Association of Musical Instrument Industries) Trade Fair, which took place in late August (24th to 29th) while the Beatles were touring the US. For the fair, see this page. Air shipments were flown into Chicago in September.
The Arlington Heights Herald, 17th September 1964 - three weeks or so after JMI had agreed to provide the million dollar's worth of equipment (£534,000 then) to Thomas Organ. Note "just flown in".
"The Birmingham Post", 17th November, 1964. A second order - 1.5 million dollars this time (then equivalent to £534,000). This second order is sometimes confused with the first.
The Observer, 22nd November, 1964. Prophetic words.
It seems likely that the "Million Dollar Sound" US Vox catalogue had been drawn up and issued by the end of November '64. A full copy of this catalogue will be posted soon.
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 4th February, 1965. Perhaps the outcome of a Trade Fair - but which and when?
Daily Express, 9th February, 1965. More of America. The taking on of further staff.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 13th March 1965, reporting on the Frankfurt Musikmesse, 21st-25th February, 1965.
A further massive order came in during the course of 1965. The extract below is from "The Economist" magazine, volume 216, July 10th, 1965. Click as ever for a larger image.
The upper figure of "$10 million", a good eye-catching number, is echoed in reports published in Billboard magazine.
What underlay the note in the "Economist" was the deal done at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show at the Conrad Hilton in Chicago, June 27th - July 1st, 1965. The Thomas Organ Co. ordered $2-4 million worth of Vox equipment. "Billboard" magazine records the higher figure.
A schedule of events and partial list of exhibitors is given in "Billboard", 26th June, '65, pp. 45-46.
"Billboard" magazine, 31st July, 1965.
October 2nd, 1965: "Thomas Organ Co. president Joe Benaron flew here [London] for the closing days of the British Musical Industry's trade fair and talked with Jennings Musical Industry's executives about further marketing of Vox products in the U.S.A. He intends to 'boost the English sound throughout America'."
"Liverpool Echo", 27th November, 1965. Colin Barrett was instrumental in securing numerous orders for Jennings.
"The Coventry Telegraph", 21st January 1966.
Another syndicated report. "The Birmingham Post", 27th July 1966. The order was won by Tom Jennings and Dick Denney at the National Association of Music Merchants show at the Conrad Hilton, Chicago, 10th - 14th July, 1966.
This syndicated report published widely in August 1966. Above, from "The Birmingham Post", 13th Aug. 1966. Perhaps one was meant to sense the creak of the iron curtain being drawn aside.
"Beat Instrumental" magazine, August 1966.
"The Guardian", 26th August 1966 - sales at the British Musical Instrument Industries Trade Fair at the Russell Hotel in late August.
"The Coventry Evening Telegraph", 27th October 1966 - the E.M.E. factory at Recanati.