VOX and BIRCH-STOLEC - 1968 to 1973

Birch-Stolec is well known as the company that took Vox over in early 1970, moving production from the factory at Erith (Kent) down to the Ponswood Industrial Estate, St Leonards-on-Sea (near Hastings, Sussex) at some point after March 1971. Vox under Birch-Stolec was "Vox Sound Limited".

The Birch Stolec Limited inspection stamp in a late Vox Supreme.

For a growing body of info, pics and material on Vox Sound Limited see this page.

The Back Story

"Birch" was "Birch Electronics", sometimes called the "Birch Group", led by Michael Birch, the man who helped put Vox back on its feet in early 1970, seeing off the official receiver.

"Stolec" began in the mid sixties as a specialist switch manufacturer, owned by George Stow. Home seems to have been St Leonards-on-Sea from early on. Besides "Stolec", George Stow had three other companies: "Stow Electronics", "Digitizer Techniques" and "Technical Encapsulations Limited". These last were liquidated in March 1970 to make way for "Birch-Stolec".

Key in all this is that "Stolec" (ie. not yet Birch-Stolec) had business with Vox - "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" as it was then - from 1968. "Twickenham Transformers", brought into the "Stow Electronics" group in 1967, made the transformers for the VSEL solid state amps.

The driver transformers are marked "TT", and the main power transformers, always with an unpainted metal top in the VSEL period, are sometimes marked too.

Click as ever for larger images. Above, details from a "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Defiant and Supreme, both with transformers made by "Twickenham Transformers".

In addition, there is report that Stolec / Stow Electronics supplied Vox in 1969 with switches - switches being Stolec's speciality. The switch side of the business was bought out in 1973, coinciding with the end of production of the existing Vox line at St Leonard's.

At any rate, the upshot is that George Stow knew the business well before he invested in it and became its managing director - . Effectively the "Birch-Stolec" group took over a company that it was familiar with, doubtless seeing some sort of profit and future for "Vox Sound Limited".

"Twickenham Transformers" later became "Lemark" - Lemark's premises in Haywards Heath, Sussex, had formerly been owned by "Twickenham".

Some notes on Twickenham Transformers

Up to 1967: based at 301 Richmond Road, Twickenham - so the name.

1967-1968: taken over by "Stow Electronics". Based at Bridge Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex. Signalled in The Electrical Times, volume 154, and in other contemporary notices (click on the Electrical Times link to go to Google Books).

From 1968/1969: move to the Ponswood Industrial Estate, St Leonards-on-Sea, near the Stolec factory.

Probably 1971: Lemark Transformers active in the Haywards Heath premises making units for "Vox Sound Limited". Lemark is simply "Twickenham" rebranded.

Above, the Lemark transformer in a "Vox Sound Limited" Foundation Bass from end of days (1972). Lemark naturally gave the old Twickenham Transformers address at Haywards Heath.