Defunct Audio Manufacturers  - Br to B9


German consumer products company, noticable for taken up the mantle left by AEG in employing industrial designers to handle the outwardly functional design of their products, resulting in some remarkable pieces of hi-fi like the gorgeous "Schneewittchensarg" music system designed by Hans Gugelot in 1956 that ended up being the first electronic consumer product to be put on permanent display at the New York Museum of modern art. Braun also financed pioneering research into visual and user interface design of consumer electronics at the Ulm university in the late 50's and early 60's cumulating in the company being the first to standardise their product design around ergonomic and usability principles. Dieter Rams, the professor that was responsible for the research work was later hired by the company to handle the industrial design of a range of hi-fi products including the LE 1 electrostatic loudspeakers and later the System 300, these Bauhaus inspired designs quickly became classics and Braun and Rams stuck up a long term relationship that lasted until the company exited the audio market. The Rams designed products are highly collectable and as with other such products do not look out of place in a modern home despite being up to 40+ years old. Braun was bought by the USA based consumer products behemoth Gillette in 1967 and since then has placed more and more emphasis on personal care products and kitchen appliances, and less on AV products and the while the company made some high end statement audio products in the 90's (designed by the same Hr. Rams) they seem to have left the market segment altogether in the latter half of the decade. You can still get the LE 1 from Quad Musikwidergabe though. More info on the company's audio products can be found on the Virtuelles Radio-Braun Museum (In German).

Brenell Engineering
English company based in London that was founded in the latter half of the 1940’s by Czech immigrant Robert Hahn and an English colleague named P. Glaser as a engineering workshop. One of the sub-contracting jobs that the company handled was making parts for an advanced telephone answering machine, that inspired Mr. Hahn to get in touch with Radio manufacturers took seek work manufacturing parts for tape recorders, that in turn lead to the introduction of a tape recorder kit that the company designed in conjunction with an unknown radio maker that was sold under the Soundmaster brandname.

This proved popular enough to encourage Brenell to starte the manufacture of tape recorders in the the early 1950's, these were considered better than the average British product at the time. Brennel was bought by the mixer manufacturer Allen & Heath in the late 70´s and a few recorders were made under the Allen & Heath Brenell name until the mid 80's, mostly Mini-8 multitracks at the AH&B factory in Cornwall. The Allen & Heath company removed the Brenell part from their name in the late 90's. More info on the company's history can be found here.

British Built Audiophile Products

Company founded by Bill Beard after he had sold Beard Audio in 1989 or thereabouts, production was based in Barrington in Cambridgeshire although Mr. Beard's design studio remained in London and in latter years only the London address is mentioned on the company's literature. BBAP made valve amplifiers similar to and clearly descended from the designs that BA had produced, these are high end and were expensive when new but were considered "good value" or even inexpensive at the time since valve amplifiers where much more of a specialised high end product than they are now. Company name was often shown as BB Audio and this usage was slightly naughty since the commercial rights to the Beard name where in the hands of BA, in addition all the BB Audio products I have seen feature a large plaque declaring that the unit in question had been designed by Mr. Beard. The company appears to have been wound down in 2002 when Mr. Beard retired.

Brother Industries
Like so many Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers Brother has made a stopover in the audio market at the least once in their lifetime, namely in the early 70's when they made and sold the cheesiest music systems you ever will see, complete with a 8 Track Cartridge and may also have made some portable audio products at the same time.

A company founded in Cincinnati, USA in the 1830's as a horse carriage maker by Swiss immigrant John Brunswick and expanded into the manufacture of billiard equipment in 1845. The company who by that time were named Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company decided at the turn of the 19th/20th century to further utilise their expertise and factories by starting to manufacture exclusive wooden furnishings of all sorts mostly as an OEM, one of the fastest growing niche markets that the company supplied to was the manufacturers of bespoke gramophone cabinets to the upper crusts of society, which took commercially made mechanisms and put them into elegant furniture so that they did not look out of place in living room or hall, these were the predecessors to the latter day Cabinets. Brunswick started to make their own gramophones in the mid 1910's that not only featured the sort of high quality enclosures as they had been supplying to other makers but also incorporated a number of techniques to improve the sound quality and/or the ease of use such as unique reproducers that allowed you to playback almost any type of record that was available on the market, more info on this page. The company started manufacturing radios in the 1920's and started their own record label around that time as well, in 1930 Brunswick was forced to sell the musical division to Warner Brothers in order to survive. The company is still around and does indeed still make billiards equipment, see a short history of the company.

Brush Development Company
Originally founded in 1919 by Charles Francis Brush Jr. as Brush Labs, but that was a research company based in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and was started with the intention to develop phonographic products that utilised piezoelectric crystals. Mr. Brush died prematurely in 1927 but some of his work bore fruit and hence his backers founded the Brush Development Company in 1930 to commercialise the inventions of Brush Labs, the newly formed company became the USA's biggest manufacturer of instrument recorders and other test and measure instrumentation in the latter half of the 30's. Due to their status it that market segment they were chosen by the US Army to work on recording technologies during WWII, while the company continued to work on magnetic recording technologies after the war they were not made privy to the improved technologies behind Telefunken's WWII era Magnetophon by the US Army like most others working in that field, it has been hinted that this was possibly because the company had been exclusively handed the research and manufacturing secrets pertaining to the manufacture of high quality crystals that had been developed in Germany during the war and had even been given access to the German scientists that had developed the techniques, and that it was felt that they had got "their share".

Whatever the reason it meant that Brush managed to release the Mail-A-Voice dictation recorder in 1946 and the first USA built tape recorder in 1947 with the Brush Soundmirror but those were designed with an eye on the then outdated 1928 and 35 German patents which meant that the Soundmirror was rendered technically obsolete later that same year when machines built around the Magnetophon technology started to arrive on the market and the company never gained the market share in the recording business it had hoped for although it did for a time in the early 50's become the primary supplier of automated tape recorders for businesses such as aviation control and telephone exchanges. Companies such as Sonotone managed during the late 40's to successfully market piezoelectric phonographic pickups, a market that Brush Dev. had set it's sights on ever since the founding of Brush labs but never had any success with, to add insult to injury the most successful company in that sector was Astatic which was founded by an ex-employee of the company. Brush Development Co. merged with the original Brush Labs and the Cleveland Graphite Bronze company in 1952 with the resulting new company named Clevite but audio products continued being sold using the Brush trademark as late as 1960. The Clevite company exited the audio market altogether in 1963 and was taken over by Gould National Battery in 1969.

Buggtussel, LLC
Company based in Portage, Michigan, USA and originally founded by Kevin Blair that manufactured transmission line loudspeakers and some phonographic related products, dissapears after the turn of the century.

Burne-Jones & Co. Ltd.
A company based in Cheam in Surrey, England and active in the early 50's to early 60's time frame, made quite nice cartridges (for their time) but are best remembered for their oddball products such as pivoted tonearms and the separate treble units for loudspeakers.

Small automotive service company based in Riccarton, Christchurch, New Zealand that during the 1960’s made and sold slightly oddball hi-fi furniture. These were huge cabinets that you inserted hi-fi separates and loudspeakers into to make a sort of an alternative to radiograms, despite being absolutely huge they sold surprisingly well and the company did not stop making them until 1971 when the guy responsible for the manufacture left to form his own company “Bob Brown's Hi-Fi” that for years was one of the largest hi-fi retail operations in the country. Butlers is still around, usually called Butlers Automotive these days and has not ventured into the world of hi-fi since 71, no homepage.

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The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am