Hi-Fi and Audio Personalities - C to 9

John Dunn Collinson (19.10.1923 - 21.08.2010)
English gentleman originally born in Howe, Sussex to an English mother and an Australian father. Spent much of his childhood in London and the Tyne & Wear region but after mandatory schooling he joined the Army Radio School, but the Army later sent him to South West Essex Technical College where he both worked as a tutor and studied, gaining qualifications as a chartered electronics engineer. After the war he stayed on as a tutor at the SWETC but was offered a job with the Navy in Portsmouth retrofitting ships with radar equipment, Collision worked for the Navy until 1950 when he became a freelance recording engineer in partnership with Alan Brown.

Mr. Collinson had managed to procure himself a multispeed Telefunken tape recorder salvaged from a German submarine and after getting hold of technical drawings for the studio version of the same had rebuilt it to the specifications of the latter, giving him the only studio quality tape recorder in the UK at the time, while Mr. Brown had a portable record cutter and had been moonlighting as an engineer for a few years. The usual record business related problems with unpaid invoices etc. forced them to split up in 1953 and Collinson to seek permanent employment, but a number of the spoken word recordings they made together have been donated to the Wessex Film and Sound Archive and can be accessed there in digitised form.

Later in n 1953 John joined Acoustical Manufacturing Co. as an engineer and amongst other things worked with G.A. Briggs of Wharfedale Wireless Works on the famous 1954 Royal Festival Hall demonstration, by 1958 he was made the head engineer of the company and responsible for the designs of all of the Quad electronic products from then on until 1966 when Mr. Collinson left Acoustical for Rank Wharfedale. The details of his departure are interesting, in 1964 he started work on a transistorised amplifier to replace the Quad II and Quad 22 valve pre/power amplifier combo, but in 1966 when it was finished the owner of the company, Peter Walker refused to release it on the grounds that it was inferior to the II/22 and that valves in general were superior to transistors, this lead to Mr. Collinson’s departure but interestingly enough Acoustical went on to release the Quad 33/Quad 303 combo just a year later. Apparently some of the circuits from the aborted design survive in the Quad 33

Mr Collinson worked as chief design engineer for Rank until he left with 2 of his colleagues in 1973 to found Castle Acoustics, he later took over the helm at the company and ran it until it was sold in 1993. Married Rosemary Christine Cummings in 1956 and they had 2 children together, Michael John and Margaret Christine Collinson.

David Hafler (07.02.1919 - 25.05.2003)
Born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA in 1919, graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1936 and with a mathematics degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1940. Served in the USA Coast Guard during WWII and after the war worked as a statistical analyst for the A.J. Wood market research company but had become interested in audio during his military service and became a keen builder of DIY hi-fi equipment in his free time and even started publishing articles in amateur publications.

David Hafler

In 1949 he went on to found Acro Products in association with his childhood friend Herbert I. Keroes and together they wrote a number of technical papers dealing with amplifier design that became rather well known in the North American audio world.

After a disagreement with Keroes on the future direction of the company Hafler left Acro and teamed up with Ed Laurent to found Dynaco but that company became quite successful, initially as a manufacturer of amplifier kits and transformers, but later for the Dyna ST70 design that the partners designed together but that is the quintessential American push-pull valve amplifier design

Sold his part of the company to Tyco in 1970 or 1 and stayed on there until 1972 as an adviser but left to join Ortofon, he founded the David Hafler Co. in 1972 but did not start the manufacture of products under the Hafler brand until 1977 when he hired Ed Gately formerly of Gately Electronics to run the company and he turned it into a manufacturer of amplification products for the home hi-fi and professional markets.

Mr. Hafler has an enviable reputation in the USA both as a businessman and as a technologist, he is in fact considered one of the greats from the golden era of hi-fi from the 50’s and 60’s. In Europe he had a sterling reputation as a businessman and as a person but his technical credentials were not taken as seriously as in the West, his best known papers on “ultra” linear amplifiers from the 50’s and on surround sound in the sixties while generally accepted in North America were controversial to say the least in Europe.

It is important to realise that this is partly due to a misunderstanding, Mr Hafler more or less stopped designing products in the early-mid 60’s and products that are often attributed to him like for instance the Dynaco QD1, the Hafler DH101 and Hafler DH200 were actually designed by Ernö Borbély and other products that are attributed to him were actually conceived and designed by other employees. Mr Hafler was primarily a financier from the early 60’s and onwards on and had little to do with the day to day running of the David Hafler Co. or other companies that he associated with, although he remained the principal owner of the DHCo. company and had the last word on any major decisions.

The David Hafler Co. did rather well even though their product designs were outdated compared to European and Asian competition, they were like the Dynaco products before them however keenly priced and Mr Hafler sold the company to Rockford in 1987 for a top price.

Hafler was already a millionaire when he sold Dynaco in the early 70’s and from then on sort of semi-retired although he kept his paws in the audio industry via Ortofon and David Hafler Co. but never went back to a full time position, but rather enjoyed life in his residences in Merion Station, just outside Philadelphia, in Boca Raton, Florida where he spent most winters and his pad in London, England. In his spare time he collected chess sets and had a collection of over 240 by the time he died. Sadly Mr. Hafler was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the 1980’s and this eventually leads him to sell most of his business interest and to retire to his home in Rittenhouse square that he had bought in 1990, and in 2003 at 84 years of age , he passed away due to complications related to his illness. Mr. Hafler married Gertrude Schwinger in the early 1940’s and together they had 2 daughters, Joan and Diane and a son named Eric, Gertrude Hafler passed away in 2001

Resources : http://www.ictv1.com/chess/ -- Halfer’s chess collection.

Robert Held (1862 - 1924)
German industialist, bought the C. Lorenz company in 1890 and built it into one of the larger manufacturers of electrical products in the world.

Kei Ikeda

Kei Ikeda

Legendary Japanese loudspeaker designer working for Crysler Electronics in the 1960's and JVC in the 70's but disappears from view thereafter, his designs for Crysler are specially nothworthy and sought after. There is a gentleman with the same name working in the Japanese electro-optical industry which is a holder of a number of patents but it is unclear if this is the same person.

Herbert I. Keroes (02.04.1918 – 11.1971)
A gentleman born and raised in the town of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Is believed to have worked for Peerless Electrical Products in the mid to late 1940’s as a head designer, although we have not been able to confirm this, but when Altec Lansing bought that company in 1947 it moved the operations of that company little by little to Los Angeles which in turn meant that Pennsylvania suddenly had an oversupply of trained workforce with experience in the transformer industry and a number of small transformer companies sprang up in the next few years that were founded by ex-Peerless employees.

One of these was Acro Products that Mr. Keroes founded in 1949 in partnership with David Hafler and with financing from his mother. The company manufactured transformers initially but after Mr. Hafler left the partnership in 1954 the company also turned towards the manufacture of amplifiers, in particularly in kit form. Later that decade M. Keroes founded a company called Keroes Enterprises that held the IP rights to his amplifier designs, patents and writings.

Mr. Keroes is still active in publishing technical and DIY articles in 1963 but after that we lose sight of him, he passed away in 1971 long before his time at only 52 years of age.

Dr. Herbert Lennartz (1916 - 1986)
German engineer and author best known for his work on radio design and for electronic and radio/tv technology textbooks. It is not known to us where he was born but by the early 1930's he is in Berlin and writing news and technical articles for both the German and American radio press, he is publishing radio textbooks in the early stages of the war and working in the Berlin communications labs of the Wehrmacht during the latter war years.

After the war Hr. Lennartz moved from Prussia to the Möhringen district of Stuttgart, in Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany in what was then the American occupied zone and later a part of Federal West Germany. There in co-operation with a gent called H. Boucke he set up radio manufacturing concern LTP Apparatewerk Lennartz & Boucke KG in 1947 that manufactured consumer and professional radio equipment that he designed, and later that year the company and Lennartz with it, moved to nearby Tübingen, which remained his hometown for the rest of his life. One of their product and what appears to be the main inspiration to found the company in the first place was an advanced consumer radio receiver called "Die Zauberflöte" (The Magic Flute, after the Mozart/Schikaneder opera). Apparently a design that Dr. Lennartz had been tinkering with since the war years, the Zauberflöte had been mentioned as early as 1946 and was expected to hit the market in 47, however due to difficulties it did not make it to market until 1949 and by that time the company had suffered financial difficulties and been sold to Himmelwerk and was closed down in 1951.

Dr. Lennartz continued to work for Himmelwerk for at the least the next few years, leading their professional radio communication division which represented what had been salvaged from the LTP company. But it was during the 1950's he was at his most productive as a writer, in addition to radio technology and general electronics books, he wrote a book on TV receiver technology and one of the earliest German textbooks on the use of transistors.

In the 1960's as Lennartz became more interested in data acquisition and processing he formed a company known as Lennartz Electronic/Herbert Lennartz Ingenieurbüro, which was originally a manufacturer of generic data acquisition and transmission products but has become more or less specialised manufacturer of seismographs/seismometers by the time of his death in 1986. His writing output slowed down considerably in the early 1960's but he did publish textbooks as late as 1969, but also gained a couple of patents and wrote some technical articles in the field of data acquisition and computer interfacing well into the 1970's.

Georg von Schaub
German inventor, founded the Schaub company in 1921.

John Shur
USA based guitar player and builder, started making guitars in the 70's and from around 1980 worked as a guitar repairman at Rudy's Music Stop in NY. At the same time he continued making guitars on the side that he sold under the Shur Custom brand, these were not true custom built guitars but rather made using bought in parts.

From 1985 to 1991 Mr. Shur made guitars in Rudy Pensa's workshop under the Pensa-Shur brand and after that operation stopped making guitars he moved to California and went to work for Custom Audio Amplifiers and in 1994 started working for Fender as a Senior Master Builder at their custom shop but left in 1996 and currently runs the Shur Guitars company.

Resources : http://www.synergyguitars.com/Suhr-Guitars/Suhr-Guitars-Interview.htm - Interview with the man.

© 1993 - 2013 Ólafur Gunnlaugsson, all rights reserved.

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