Vox AC30 cabinets
1960 - 1967
AC30 Twin serial number 6097.
Below, some details relating to the companies contracted by JMI to produce wooden cabinets for the AC30. By and large, all worked to a general specification: finger-jointed 3/4" birch plywood for top, bottom and sides; two channels around the cabinet for the gold string, 1/8" wide and 1 3/8" from the outer edges; baffles 1/2" thick; back panels and slider boards 3/8" thick; supports for the slider board such that the distance between the upper surface and the bottom of the cabinet top was 5 1/2"; three slots for vents on the cabinet's top. Lower back boards are fixed with four screws, upper backboards with six.
There is no such thing (in terms of known survivals) as a "thin-edged" or "thin-lip" AC30, though we do have "thin-edged" AC10s, AC15s, AC50s, AC80/100s, Defiants and Supremes. The boxes of all these models were made more substantial (thicker sides and tops), however, as production proceeded, AC50s, AC80/100s, Defiants and Supremes within a few months of release.
A 3/4" thickness was evidently simply the required minimum for AC30 boxes. In some instances, top and bottom are 1" thick.
Aside from cosmetics, the main woodworking requirement that changed was the form of the cabinet back boards. From 1960 to around mid 1963 these had square corners. Thereafter radiused corners were brought in (to match the radiused corners of the front), the change having taken place around serial number 7300. From late 1963, Gla-Rev used chipboard ("particle board") for the baffles of its AC30 Twin cabinets. Super Twin speaker cabinets, however, always have baffles of solid birch ply.
To date no maker's sticker or mark has turned up in an AC30. There are such things, however, in the cabinets made by Heslop and Co. for solid state amplifiers; and in AC100 amplifier section and speaker cabinets (Gla-Rev). See the examples below. Chalked marks inside cabinets are common. Sometimes they are the the mark of the person who made the cabinet ready for use (adding the grille cloth etc.); others are marks to ensure that a cabinet and its back boards could always be matched up if they got separated in the finishing process. Very often boards from one amp will not fit another correctly.
Below, pictures of the interior face of a back board from a beige (fawn) AC30. On the back, in pencil:
"JENNINGS AC. 30. BACKS. 26 3/16" x 8" x 3/8" PLY. 10" - the final zero of "100" being lost when the cut-out for the top-boost controls were made.
It is likely that this board was the top-most one in a stack of 100 in the cabinet maker's works. The screw-holes will have been drilled later to match a particular AC30 cabinet. Thanks to Glen Lambert for the pictures and info.
P.A.Glock and Co.
Up to 1954, the business was based in Belvedere, Erith. Prompted by the need for more space, Glock moved in that year to 1b London Road, Crayford, just over a mile up the road from the Jennings works on Dartford Road. The company remained in Crayford until 1991.
The red dots mark the respective positions of the P.A.Glock works in Crayford (top left), and the Jennings works on Dartford Road (lower right).
1b London Road, marked as "Factory". A little to the north were the Crayford Saw Mills.
1b London Road, Crayford, photographed from the air in 1934 (i.e. twenty years before Glock moved there).
Gla-Rev (also "Henry Glass" and later Beeskit Ltd)
Some details, albeit sparse for the time being, about "Gla-Rev". The company seems to have been formed in the early 1950s, its name an amalgam of those of its founders: Henry Glass and J. Revel.
"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. There were two factories: one on Selinas Road in Dagenham (East London), the other on Fowler Road, Hainault Industrial Estate (Essex).
Revel looked after the smaller items produced by the business; the flamboyant Henry Glass was the driving force behind the commissioning and manufacture of amplifier and speaker cabinets. Glass's Rolls Royce is widely remembered.
Above, the inside of an AC100 amplifier section cabinet from late 1965 / early 1966. "G-R" is "Gla-Rev". The baffle is chipboard.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Gla-Rev made speaker cabinets for HiWatt and Sound City, sometimes trading as "Beeskit Limited" (based in Southend). Glass also traded under his own name, moving his business operations to Ipswich.
Based at 533 Rayleigh Road, Thundersley, Essex, only a short distance away from the Gladlyn Works of Timber Techniques / Heslop & Co. (see below). Heathpoint later produced cabinets - late 1960s and 1970s - for HiWatt, Orange, White, and many others.
533 Rayleigh Road a couple of years ago (from Google Street view).
Timber Techniques / Heslop & Co.
As Jim Elyea notes in his book, "Timber Techniques Limited" produced a certain number of cabinets for JMI from April 1964. In 1965 the business was taken over by "Heslop and Co. Limited", a move that made a good deal of sense: in company with JMI, Heslop was a member of the Royston Group of Companies - Heslop from 1961 at the latest, JMI from January 1963.
Detail from the frontispiece of "The Beacon", Journal of the Royston Group of Companies, 1967.
Timber Techniques Ltd went into liquidation in June 1965, and the company's "Gladlyn Works" in Rayleigh, Essex became Heslop's chief premises. The interior of the Works is pictured in the 1966 issue of "The Beacon", Royston's house magazine.
"Daily Mirror", 27th June, 1964. A poor reproduction, but the company's name and address is legible.
A detail of Ordnance Survey sheet TQ89. The Works are a little to the north east of Down Hall.
As well as making cabinets for JMI, Timber Techniques Ltd and Heslop both made "Gladlyn Ware" - Danish-style teak furniture, the name presumably stemming from that of the Works.
Danish slat furniture was extremely popular in Britain in the mid sixties.
In April 1967, Heslop and JMI shared a stand, under the auspices of Royston, at the Ideal Home Exhibition (7th March - 1st April). On show were an AC100, an AC50 Foundation Bass, a Riviera organ, and two guitars, demonstrated by Dave Roberts of JMI - and of course, Heslop's "Gladlyn Ware".
Detail of the "Ideal Home Exhibition" catalogue.
A screengrab from coverage of the 1967 Ideal Home Exhibition. Dave Roberts was the Vox demonstrator (as described in the "The Beacon. Journal of the Royston Group of Companies", issue for 1967).
Throughout 1967, Heslop made the majority of amplifier section cabinets (and at least some of the speaker cabinets) for the JMI solid state range. Pictures of surviving labels are below.
No Heslop label has come to light so far in an AC30 cabinet. There are survivals, however, in solid state amplifier sections (from 1967). Whether Heslop also produced the accompanying speaker cabinets is not known. It may be that those were farmed out to Gla-Rev in Hainault.
Due to the thinner wood used for their sides and bottom, early Supreme amplifier section cabinets were slightly smaller than later ones, as the picture below shows:
In the foreground, the cabinet of Supreme serial number 1058. Behind it a slightly later Supreme cabinet. The later box is 1/2" wider (the boxes are standing on end in the pic. above). It is also 1/4" taller. The reason: the sides and bottoms of early boxes are constructed of 1/2" thick birch ply. The sides and bottoms of VSEL boxes are 3/4" thick.
Defiant serial no. 1198. Heslop sticker dated 15th May 1967.
Dynamic Bass serial number 1135. Heslop sticker dated 12th May 1967.
Taylor (no other details of name)
Slider boards for large box AC50s
A number of AC50 slider boards have a sticker stating "Taylor-Made Woodware". Although these boards have so far turned up only in amps exported early on to the USA, the company that made them was English - note the presence of "Regd" ("Registered"), a form of copy protection, presumably for the trademark rather than the piece of wood.
No stickers have been found on the sides, bottom or tops of the cabinets themselves.
One also finds the "Taylor-Made" stamp inside the wooden boxes of certain English-made radios, the example a little further below being the Ekco BPT333. Ekco (E.K. Cole Ltd) was based in Southsea.
Whether the "Taylor-Made" boards came with the amps in which they survive, or, conversely, were supplied to Thomas by JMI as replacements for damaged or broken originals, is not known at present.
Slider board in AC50 serial number 3619
Slider board in AC50 serial number 4424. The date code on the pots "IM" = September '65.
Detail from the Thomas Organ parts list for the AC50 - "Wooden Chassis Shelf". The sheets are available on this page.
Thomas also offered various cabinet parts for the AC30, including slider boards (shelves). No board from an AC30 has come to light so far however with a Taylor sticker.
Detail from the Thomas Organ parts list for the AC30 - "Wooden Chassis Shelf". The sheets as a whole can be found on this page, entry for 26th March.
Detail from the picture of the Ekco BPT333 below.