Lucky Pierre

Why walnut?

37 posts in this topic

Good stuff, Kent, but hey.......no walnut option? PIc of utility cabinet attached - - those little drivers look so much like the AR-2 HF drivers or the AR-2a dual mids.

The Arrow Street address is interesting - - I may have seen this before (?) - - but what you non-locals may not realize is that this building directly abuts 23 Mt. Auburn on the other side of the block, and I believe they are connected internally, so Henry's mad laboratory was located somewhere in this 19th century masonry complex.   

I was hoping someone would pick up on the K-L-H surnames that jumped ship after only three years, and it leaves one to ponder how Villchur continued to push forward and excel after the departure of his core group of colleagues. I suspect that the impressive performance of the acoustic suspension principles did most of the work, but Edgar's superior marketing skill and strategies have also been well-documented in this forum.

baruch-lang.jpg

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Another 'feature' of the walnut veneer is that after all these years the appearance varies partly due to storage conditions. My 3's have a beautiful lightening of the finish that came from many years of exposure to sunlight, in contrast to my 3a's which were found stored in a dark room under a pile of other equipment.

Kent and ra.ra

I'm impressed with the depth of your collections. Very few people can pull out and take a picture of a speaker manufactured at 23 Mt. Auburn St. / 10 Arrow St.

Also, I never realized that Ed's original design was called 'The Villchur Loudspeaker System'.

Too bad that the bathroom speaker from 24 Thorndike St. has never come up for sale.

 

3 3a walnut comparison.jpg

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When the milky blonde finishes popular just after the war began to fade in popularity, the mid century modern look took hold and walnut and it's woodgrain imitators seemed to be rage of the day. That standard look really lasted a long time.

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LouB's assessment of popular taste trends is pretty accurate, and I suspect the blonde finish he refers to is like those used in Heywood-Wakefield's most successful furniture lines (see pic attached). Their two "blonde" finishes were called Wheat and Champagne. 

JeffS, thanks for sharing the excellent pic. Walnut seems to have a wide variety of coloration - - sometimes rich or dull brown, sometimes a bit of reddish mahogany glow, sometimes a blonde streak (sapwood?) - - but you are correct that it does lighten when exposed to prolonged sunlight.

None of the images I've shared in this thread are from my own collection (although I do own a H-W dresser just like this one) - - these pics have been grabbed and filed from the interwebs courtesy of Mr. Google. Based on the one terrific image JeffS has shared (3's and 3a's), I can state that his personal collection already far outshines my modest assemblage of cast-offs and abandoned mongrels that I enjoy restoring.

H-W dresser 3.jpg

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13 hours ago, ra.ra said:

those little drivers look so much like the AR-2 HF drivers or the AR-2a dual mids.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that those were indeed used in later AR (or was it KLH?) speakers. I'll attach a photo of the innerds and maybe you (or someone else here) can i.d. them. edit: Just found it. Tom Tyson (of course) wrote 

Quote

This speaker used four Carbonneau 5-inch general-purpose speakers (exactly the same as used in the AR-2), and the frequency response of this system was "reasonably" flat when mounted in the special enclosure. 

If you search the CSP forums for "Baruch-Lang" you'll actually find MANY references to the Baruch-Lang, some with pictures and early ads.

13 hours ago, ra.ra said:

what you non-locals may not realize is that this building directly abuts 23 Mt. Auburn on the other side of the block

Thought the buildings looked alike.

innerds.jpg

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Here's an even earlier address, 375 Harvard St.

Baruch-Lang.jpg

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4 hours ago, LouB said:

When the milky blonde finishes popular just after the war began to fade in popularity, the mid century modern look took hold and walnut and it's woodgrain imitators seemed to be rage of the day. That standard look really lasted a long time.

Midcentury period had two basic finishes. Light, which was almost always birch, and dark, which was walnut or teak unless you went upmarket to rosewood.

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Thanks again everyone for a fascinating discussion.  There is some remarkable memorabilia here.

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Kent, that Harvard St. address is totally new to me, and it's currently just a banal apartment building, but its location is only a few blocks from the other early Kloss addresses we've been discussing. My guess is that Henry's tiny apartment became so cluttered with Baruch-Lang wedge speakers that he decided he needed more space!

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21 hours ago, ra.ra said:

LouB's assessment of popular taste trends is pretty accurate, and I suspect the blonde finish he refers to is like those used in Heywood-Wakefield's most successful furniture lines (see pic attached). Their two "blonde" finishes were called Wheat and Champagne. 

JeffS, thanks for sharing the excellent pic. Walnut seems to have a wide variety of coloration - - sometimes rich or dull brown, sometimes a bit of reddish mahogany glow, sometimes a blonde streak (sapwood?) - - but you are correct that it does lighten when exposed to prolonged sunlight.

None of the images I've shared in this thread are from my own collection (although I do own a H-W dresser just like this one) - - these pics have been grabbed and filed from the interwebs courtesy of Mr. Google. Based on the one terrific image JeffS has shared (3's and 3a's), I can state that his personal collection already far outshines my modest assemblage of cast-offs and abandoned mongrels that I enjoy restoring.

H-W dresser 3.jpg

ra.ra,

Living in metro Boston I thought for sure that the BL pictured was from your collection.

Back in the early to mid 2000s I would visit occasionally when our son was doing a work / school thing there. I recall finding an Allison (LC110 maybe) sitting abandoned on the floor of a Goodwill, and seeing a pair of EPI 100's sitting on the curb outside a house somewhere in the Porter to Central Square area, and I wished I could spend a few months hunting the area for 'finds'. I'll bet a lot of collectible east coast speakers have traded hands at the MIT flea.

As far as my personal collection, it's been assembled with mostly luck and perseverance. The asking price for most of the AR's I find is under $100 which is great since most need a driver, caps, surrounds, new sealant, minor cabinet work, etc., and that usually all gets paid for by the sales of other speakers. One single JBL C35 in lacquered mahogany (I'm trying to stay with the 'finish' theme here) with D130 woofer, LE175 horn, and N1200 crossover that I 'stumbled' upon back in 2012 for $10 has paid for almost all of my AR 12" models.

While most of the AR's I find are in beautiful oiled walnut cabinets, I would happily trade my 3a's for a pair in lacquered mahogany boxes.

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I inherited my mom's set of Russel Wright designed bedroom furniture.

It was originally blonde, but not with the whitewash basecoat. This was done with yellow tinted organic varnish which became more orange-ish as time went by. In the early 80's she had a local wood refinisher strip and put a medium chestnut 'ish stain on and recoat in satin. The refinishing probably took any value out of them but heck, it made her happy.

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Midcentury is still going through the transition from niche collectible to trendy fashion statement to bona fide antique. A few years back, the big thing for dealers was stripping the wheat or champagne tinted finishes off Heywood Wakefield pieces from the 50s and turning them into polyurethane coated bleached blonde. Now I see posts on woodworking forums from people looking for instructions for reproducing the original tinted finishes.

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