The Vox Gyrotone I rotary speaker cabinet (1967-1968)
A single 12" speaker
Above, a detail from an advert in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, November 1966. The Gyrotone was originally called the "GYROVOX" - see this page
The initial plan was evidently to produce only two models - the Gyrotone I, with a single speaker handling 25 watts; and the Gyrotone II, handling around 65 watts. By April 1967, the range expanded to encompass four models. The vast and supremely heavy Gyrotone IV did not last long though, probably disappearing from the catalogue by late 1967.
Detail from the JMI catalogue of Spring 1967
Click to enlarge. April 1967 pricelist. Standard production models.
The principal application of the Gyrotone I was organ, the setting envisaged being small halls, clubs, or the studio. Its effect was described as "Chorale". The Beatles are known to have had one early on for Abbey Road sessions.
In terms of competition, there was only really the Leslie 225, from which the Gyrotone I is likely to have taken its cue. Selmer marketed larger Leslies in its own cabinets for a short time in 1967 and 1968, but they evidently did not sell well. JMI sold around 200 Gyrotone Is. Covers were provided.
In late 1968, the Gyrotone I was discontinued by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", the company that took over the "Vox" range from JMI. It may be however that a few units bought in from JMI were issued with VSEL serial number plates. That certainly seems to have been the pattern with amplifiers, speaker cabinets, and so on. The Gyrotone II and II remained on the books.
Key aspects of the JMI Gyrotone I
A single 12" Celestion speaker. A sloping split front. The power lamp in the "O" of "VOX". Cabinet construction is complex: inset lattices covered with grille in the sides, front, and rear panel to allow sound to disperse in a three-dimensional way. Low down on the sides metal carrying handles.
Inside the cabinet, a slider board, the rotating fan and motor on top, the speaker fixed to its underside. Low down on one of the sides, a panel for the mains socket; fuse; jack socket for the input signal from the amplifier or organ selected to drive the cabinet; and footswitch connection.
Surviving Gyrotone I units
JMI serial no. 5098
Excellent condition. A video of the unit in action below. Note that the "Model" panel on the serial number plate is stamped "2" rather than "1". The back panel is solid, unlike that of 5098, below.
JMI serial no. 5098
JMI serial no. 5121
JMI serial no. 5148
A speed control fitted.
JMI serial no. 5155
JMI serial no. 5190