Defunct Audio Manufacturers - Hi to H9

Hi-Lect See --> Hairekuto (Cables & turntable pickups)

Himmelwerk AG
German manufacturer of industrial machinery based in Tübingen, in Baden-Württemberg that was originally founded in 1879 as a mechanical workshop by optician and master mechanic Gottlob Himmel. The company was incorporated in 1899 as a private limited company and turned into a public limited company (AG) in 1922. The name Himmelwerk is a play on words, but although it stands for "Himmel's workshop" or factory, it can also be translated as "sky works" or even "heavens work" and the phrase is sometimes used as such in German religious texts and lyrics.

The company starts manufacturing lighting equipment and electric motors in 1900 and by the 1920's is one of the biggest manufacturer of such in Europe and shipped their 100 thousandth motor in 1929. Still the company remained much better known as a maker of industrial products that utilised motors, than for the motors themselves, but to place emphasis on the motor manufacture that company started to mark its products as "Himmelwerk AG Elektromotorenfabrik" even though no legal name change took place.

Himmelwerk entered the radio business in 1949 by purchasing LTP Apparatewerk Lennartz & Boucke KG and changing the name of that company to LTP Himmelwerk AG. Although LTP was best known as a manufacturer of consumer radios the motives behind the purchase of the company had more to do with getting a broader base for the company in the business sector rather than any interest in entering the consumer segment. Sales of industrial products were slow after WWII as most of the occupying forces refused to give operating licences businesses unless they had been "de-nazified", a political and bureaucratic process that could take from 2 to 10 years and forced many West German companies to sub-contract the making of their products to East-German manufacturers. So while the country was rebuilding fast, the manufacturing sector was very weak well into 1952 and sales of industrial machinery thus sporadic, to add insult to injury a depression in Europe in 1948 and 49 meant that the company could not rely on exports either and had to look outside of the industrial sector for expansion.

The LTP company was based in Tübingen and thus local to Himmelwerk's operation meaning integrating the two operations would be inexpensive, and it was cheap to buy since is was in serious financial straits. But in addition to consumer radios LTP made communication devices and unlike the industrial products that were the traditional fare for Himmelwerk, the two way radio equipment was bought mainly by on one hand service industry with companies in the shipping and transportation sector and on the other by government agencies such as police and emergency services, giving the company two market sectors it had never been in before. LTP was also already licensed to manufacture 2 way and keyed communications and electronics equipment which was valuable in the American occupied zone that Tübingen was in because there remained a persistent fear, even after the founding of West Germany in May 1949, that any advanced communication equipment would be used by communist subversives or the Werewolves, so production licenses could be hard to get.

Himmelwerk also utilised the expertise they gained with the acquisition of the LTP company to found a new subdivision in 1950 called simply "The High Frequency Division" that made electronic high frequency generators for use in test, measurement and product development, but among other personnel that came with the buyout was LTP's founder Dr. Herbert Lennartz, a noted technical writer that had a number of patents to his name.

It should be noted that the consumer products of the company were advertised as Himmelwerk products, while the professional radio products were actually branded as just Himmel, but the company had always had a slightly dysfunctional branding policy, all of their products had the Himmelwerk name and the HT logo on the nameplate but sometimes also sported the Himmel name in large letters as well.

The sales of the consumer radio receivers were disappointing and LTP Himmelverk was dissolved in 1951 and the production of commercial radio equipment was moved into the main Himmelwerk factory. Remaining stocks of consumer product were simply thrown away including a rather large number rather luxurious wooden cases intended for the upmarket Zauberflöte radio. Author Horst Henry Geerken that was head of AEG Indonesia during the 60's and 70's has a small anecdote in his autobiography where he relates that as a teenager he made a small fortune taking new Zauberflöte cases and speakers from the Himmelwerk rubbish dump, building new cheap radios into the cases and selling them as a budget but classy looking alternative to people in his neighbourhood.

Sales of professional radios however thrived at the least into the 1960's. The company was taken over by Bauknecht in 1976 and after the latters company bankruptcy in 1982 it was taken over again by transmission specialist A. Friedr. Flender AG, but this time integrated into the mother company and ceased to exist as a separate concern. Flender itself was taken over by Siemens in 2003, but in 1997 a part of the old Tübingen operation that manufactured test and measurement systems and was the remains of the old high frequency division, was separated from Flender in a management buy-out and they now trade under the Himmelwerk name. A few daughter companies or trading partners of Siemens that trace their origins to local Himmelwerk, Bauknecht or Flender importers, still use the Himmel or Himmelwerk name to a degree.

Hinari Consumer Electronics Ltd.

Trading company originally founded in Cumbernauld, in North Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1982 as Trical Far East Trading Ltd. but started selling products under their own Hinari brandname in 1985 and changed their name later that year. Primarily successful as a seller of small white goods and in particular small kitchen appliances but they did sell televisions, portable audio and budget hi-fi products as well, the smaller products being made in the far east while the televisions, video recorders and hi-fi systems came from Schneider Rundfunkwerke AG. Company was sold to Alba PLC in 1989 and the latter company soon thereafter stopped using the brandname on brown goods.

HL Audio See --> Howland-West

Dutch company started in 1998 or 99 by Eddy Hopman to manufacture the HopProd HPM57xx Series, boundary layer microphone. The founder said he had tried to get hold of Crown Audio PZM microphones in Europe but hand not managed to and thus in the end resorted to building his own and when people started inquiring about his mics started making them. The company disappears in or around 2003 and we have not been able to find out anything more.

Quote from the HopProd website: "Recording microphone type HPM5790. This microphone was developed especially for studio recordings and recordings of live performances of bands, choirs and orchestras, also in larger rooms. The 'hollow' sound which a traditional microphone often produces under these circumstances is now history. The result is a true-to-life rendering of the complete audio spectrum, bright high tones and deep bass tones.".

Horny - Hornyphon See --> Vindobona (1923 - 1936) & Radiowerk Horny (1936 - Present ?)


UK based company established in 1964 and acted as a distributor of mostly Japanese sourced audio products in addition to selling locally sourced turntable plinths and related accessories such as protractors under its own name, the company name is simply taken from their original premises in Howland street in West London. In the early 70’s the company moved to larger premises in Islington and in addition to the locally made products started selling imported products under their own name including equalisers and headphones, best remembered for their novelty products like quadraphonic headphones, in addition HW issued test records but remained primarily a distributor handling the local distributor of Nikko Audio, Dynaco and Luxman amongst others.

Moved to Tottenham in 1993 and by then was mostly a distributor of professional audio products and had ceased distributing and making products under their own name. Howland-West had bought out the local Shure Inc. distributor in the preceding decade and with that company slowly exiting the consumer market alongside the demise of Nikko and Dynaco and the gradual decline of Luxman and Micro Seiki the consumer segment became less and less important and with the move the company decided to stop distributing CE products altogether, dropping brands like Luxman and MS and instead started importing other pro-audio brands like Phonic. Was bought by Shure in early 2003 and the name was changed to Shure Distribution UK but the HW company itself still exists as a dormant holding company. Note that originally their logo was a sort of wings that represented the W in the name with small H and L (for either Limited or London) on either side of the name with the name Audio often displayed underneath the logo, this means that their products in general and turntable plinths in particular are often advertised as HL Audio.

Hunt E.D.A. (Accessories) See --> Path Ltd. (ca 1989 to 2010) and Path Products (2010/2011)

H. W. Audio Limited
Company founded in 1982 by Richard Harfield and based in town of Bolton, in Greater Manchester, England, but traces its roots to a slightly older hi-fi store that had started to rent out PA systems when the Disco boom of the 70's started roaring it's head. The new company, in addition to renting and retailing PA and disco hardware, manufactured PA loudspeakers, DJ coffins and protective cases most of them branded as "HW Audio", but also sold electronic equipment such as professional power amplifiers sourced from various OEM's under the Harfield brand. The bulk of the amplifiers at the least appear to have been sourced from Prof Sound Systems BV in Holland. The company is still around but by now is squarely a retailer and as such specialises in PA systems and karaoke equipment, but handles musical instruments and lighting products as well.

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