List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972).

2022

22nd July

Thanks to Martin, pictures of JMI wah serial number 5524, potentiometer with date code "YF" = June 1967. The circuit board is glooped as the first 550 or so grey wahs were - - a means of preventing rivals from copying the circuit.

The owner is intending to sell the pedal. If you are interested, please contact me at the site address for his details.

JMI wah serial number 5524.

11th July

Just posted on the Vox AC100 website, thanks to Andy Barratt, a picture of the party/gathering at the Royston Industries head office (Hill Street, Mayfair) following the award to JMI of the Queen's Award in early April 1967.

From right to left: Eric Summer, chairman of Royston; unknown; Dave Clark, then recently appointed roving ambassador for JMI; Reg Clark, General Sales Manager; Dick Denney; Cyril Windiate, Tom Jennings's deputy; Tom; Joan Jennings (?), Tom's wife; Colin Barratt, Overseas Sales Manager and Andy's father; Charlie Cobbett; JMI's Group Liaison Officer; and far left, unknown, though somehow familiar.

In the background, a Vox Supreme amplifier. Dick was photographed playing his Vox New Escort Special guitar in front of this, and in another shot, posing with Dave Clark, also a Dartford lad.

A page on JMI and the Queen's Award .

6th July

Posted yesterday on the Vox AC30 website, an advert for various storage-soiled items available at the Vox shop in Gees Court, London, November 1971. Some good reductions, and an early push for the Vox Discotape.

Pictures of the shop, taken at much the same time as the advert was placed, can be found lower down on this page, entry for 25th Feburary.

27th November, 1971.

2nd July

Some new material from February 1972 added to the page on the - "Suddenly your're a top DJ..."

Vox Discotape, music press, 12th February 1972

12th February, 1972.

21st June

A note in the music trade press on the provision of equipment by JMI for the play celebrating Duke Ellington's performances in Coventry Cathedral, summer 1967. The musical section of the play took place on the Cathedral's porch steps.

Photo and note above published September 1967.

20th June

On the 28th October 1970, the Patent Office register recorded that "Trix Electronics Limited" had been taken over by "Vox Sound Limited".

In the late 1950s Trix was a large concern, one branch producing Hi-Fi and Public Address equipment, the other televisions and radios. The television arm was taken over by "Ultra Electronics Limited" in 1960; the sound equipment arm evidently lasted until 1970, probably in much reduced form, whereupon VSL acquired it.

28th October 1970.

Whether any Trix designs were taken over by the "Vox Sound Limited" Research and Design team (based in a building on London Road in St-Leonards-on-Sea / Hastings) is unknown at present.

19th June (2)

There is now a new page on the "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" display at the , the first public outing for the new company.

Below, one of two pictures of the VSEL rooms published in the music trade press:

The organ room - 134a (?) - on the first floor of the hotel. In view, a Riviera and Super Continental organ, and two Gyrotone IIIs, one with an AC30 Super Twin amplifier section on top.

19th June

Pictures to show the general construction of the Multi Link II speaker cabinet - the main body and baffle constructed from stout birch ply; backs are chipboard. The page on the will be updated soon.

The example below is number 93, c. 1971 ("Vox Sound Limited"). The impedance matching unit is of the twin output type.

"Vox Sound Limited" Multi-Link II speaker cabinet.

14th June

Traveller serial number 1057 . The latest date code visible in the preamp is on one of the RCA transistors - "7F" = June 1967, so the amp was probably complete (ready for sale) by August/September.

Traveller serial no. 1057.

1st June

Some notes on Vox Traveller, serial number 1026, assembled by JMI, but sold by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" in late 1968. The inspection tag is dated 17th October '68.

The chassis number is 01139. The RCA transistors, all original, have date codes "7C", "7E", "7F" and "7G", respectively March, May, June, and July 1967. As the speaker (a Celestion T7721) does not have a readily visible date code, it is not possible to form a sense of when the amp might have been complete - certainly after July '67 and before October '68 - but within that span there is no telling how long it was simply "parts", chassis and speaker not yet fixed in the cabinet, or how long it sat complete at the rear of a pile of Travellers waiting to be sold.

Due to slow sales, the model was deleted from the catalogue by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" at some point before February 1969.

JMI instruction card; VSEL guarantee slip and inspection tag.

Chassis number 01139, the 139th chassis to receive a stamp, though probably not the 139th to find its way to the assembly benches.

Power transformer made by Allen.

One of the two RCA power transistors, date code "7C" = March '67.

RCA 40361 and 40362 transistors, date code "7E" and "7F" = May and June 1967.

RCA 40360 transistor, date code "7G" = July 1967.

27th May

Below, the entry from the Patent Office Records recording Tom's application to trade-mark the name "Gyrotone", submitted on 3rd February, 1967, that is to say shortly before the Frankfurt Trade Fair. The working name of the Gyrotone up that point had been "Gyrovox".

When the time came for production, a slightly more developed form of the logo was adopted for the runner at front and on the serial number plate.

Gyrotone 1, serial number 5087.

8th May

An interesting Vox Gyrotone 50, probably built in the E.M.E. factory at Recanati in the early 1970s. The label inside the cabinet is certainly a Thomas/EME label. Components are for the most part Italian, but the "A.C. Outlet" socket is English - made by Bulgin. Thanks to Ivan for the pictures.

30th April

Published in a German music trade journal in August 1968 (to coincide with the Russell Hotel Trade Fair), a double page spread - "Supreme", identical in all but title to the advert headed "The Guv'nor" published in British and other European trade journals - see below, entry for 27th November 2021.

27th April

Vox Super Foundation Bass amplifier section, serial number 1191, probably made in the first third of 1968. The serial number plate has "AMPLIFIER" alone at its head rather than "VOX AMPLIFIER". The highest number known at present for a JMI Super Foundation Bass is 1234. Number 1191 still has its original RCA power transistors.

Vox Super Foundation Bass serial number 1191.

20th April

Music trade press, February 1972, two new "Vox Sound Limited" speaker systems - one for organs (illustrated), the other for the Discotape unit - both to be displayed for the first time at the Frankfurt Trade Fair in February (and presented again at the Russell Hotel in August).

A picture of the Discotape system will be posted soon.

February 1972.

15th April

Below, a rough-print picture of the new JMI solid state PA amplifiers - the SSPA50 and SSPA100 - on show at the Frankfurt Trade Fair, 3rd-7th March, 1968. The other new item displayed was the mini Riviera organ. The Spitfire VI and Bass had been launched in 1967.

It is unlikely that many PA amplifiers were produced in the form depicted (enclosed in metal cases). Following a hiatus of around a year, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" relaunched them (enclosed in wooden cases).

25th March

A page has been started on the VSL show at the . Material relating to Tom Jennings's company - "Jennings Electronic Inudstries" - will probably be incorporated in due course, along with further items on the "Vox Sound Limited" display.

For Vox ("Jennings Musical Industries") at Trade Fairs in earlier days, see the collection of pages on the .

23rd March

A new page coming on the "Vox Sound Limited" stand at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair, August 1970. The only valve amp on offer at this point was the AC30. The V100 - a new version of the AC100 - was still in development.

The "VOX" design with lightning bolt through the "O" mounted on the wall at the Fair was also incorporated in the catalogue and pricelist printed to accompany the display - for the catalogue, .

The advert for the Fair placed in the music trade press, August 1970.

The VSL stand. A rough-print picture published in September 1970.

11th March

Vox Supreme serial number 1017, probably sold in Spring 1967, still survives in good external order - replaced handle, indicator lamps, and input jacks, but excellent otherwise. Further updates coming soon.

Vox Supreme serial number 1017.

1st March

March 1971, a new Vox van outside the Birch-Stolec factory in Hastings - the line on underneath "Vox Sound Limited" on the van's side reads "Michael Birch Group, Union House". Rick Huxley had been the bassist in the Dave Clark Five.

25th February

A short piece in a music trade journal, December 1971, on the "Vox Sound Limited" showroom in Gees Court (off Oxford Street), London. In the lower shot, PA amplifiers, a microphone, Line Source PA speakers, and a Discotape unit.

23rd February

One of the last adverts issued by "Vox Sound Limited" - August 1972, music trade press - unusual in that it features the AC30 and organs. August 1972 marked VSL's last display at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair. More to come.

4th February

"Vox Sound Limited" Defiant, serial number 2406, in excellent condition and still in good working order, has now been added . Thanks to Mike for the pictures.

11th January

A quick shot of the mains transformer from a long defunct Vox PAR100SS - made by Twickenham Transformers/Lemark Electronics, part number TT4686. Further details on Twickenham and Lemark can be found .

The lamination stack measures 3 3/4" long; 3 3/8" wide; 2" tall. The unit is heavily varnished. The primary is tapped for 115, 125, 205, 225, 245 volts; the secondary for 50 volts. The secondary has no 6.3v tap (as there is in mains transformers of the guitar and bass solid state amplifiers).

7th January

Vox Dynamic Bass amplifier section, serial number 1089, now registered . Probably ready for sale in Spring 1967.

4th January

In 1967, as in '66, Queen's Awards were made in two categories: "Services to Export" and "Technological Achievement". Jennings's was for the former. The process of assessing candidates - overseen by various committees of the Board of Trade - was a fairly protracted one. Companies were asked to provide various details - number of employees, turnover, percentage of exports - which were checked, cross-referenced, and discussed; four provisional lists for each category were then drawn up in descending order of merit, the last being of "exclusions". In 1967 Selmer was excluded early on for being French owned. But that did not stop Timex's name proceeding a good way forward before someone realised that the company was in fact American.

Jennings, vetted initially in January (see the photo below, entry for 2nd Jan.), figures in List 1 from the outset. In the material that survives, however, little is said in detail about the selection process on a case by case basis. Some companies evidently proposed themselves, others were put forward by recommenders. It may be that Sydney Irving, the MP for Dartford, played a part in proposing Jennings.

Checks into the statements made by various companies sometimes revealed interesting infelicities - that the engines supplied by Rolls Royce for trams in Jamaica had been extremely unreliable (as they had also proved in Singapore); and that Jaguar motor cars had a terrible reputation in France, principally due to the scarcity and cost of replacement parts. Embassies and Consulates around the world were consulted along with other Whitehall departments.

In the details from the two documents below, Jennings received a whole-hearted thumbs up: - "Appraisal by Government Departments. Aggresive exporters drawing favourable comment from all departments consulted. No competitors match drive and ingenuity over whole field."

Early to mid-February, 1967. The figures given at the head of the page are the same as those in the later page illustrated below. Note the sentence at the end of the first paragraph: "This has not been substantiated by Government departments". Tom was always ready with a good line, exaggeration simply being part of the charm.

Later February 1967, Tom's claim left in place.

3rd January

Tom Jennings, along with Eric Summer (of Royston Industries), formally receiving the Queen's Award to Industry on 10th July, 1967 - picture from a local Dartford newspaper. The award - for services to Export - had been conferred on the 21st April (the Queen's birthday), having been signed off by the Prime Minster, Harold Wilson, earlier that month.

2nd January (2)

Further pics of Supreme serial number 1174, late 1967, now - thanks to Sebastian.

2nd January

Some material coming soon on the selecting of JMI for the Queen's Award to Industry - awarded in April 1967. The company was the second musical instrument manufacturer to win the award, the first being Premier drums (which Tom had distributed in the early 1950s). Below, a pic. from the local Dartford press of an official visit to the Dartford Road Works on 10th January, 1967.

Back to the top