Ever curious about the history of old mics, we asked Wes Dooley of Audio Engineering Associates about the connection between STC and Coles Electroacoustics, since both companies have offered some of the same microphones for sale over the years. Here is Mr. Dooley’s response.
Colin and Les (thus the CoLes) had worked for STC as toolmakers, then started their own shop. At some point in the mid 1970s STC jobbed out mic production to Coles. Two years later they decided that mics made no money and were going to discontinue them. Colin and Les bought the tooling that was already at their shop, plus the rights to whatever they needed, and continued manufacturing under the Coles name.
Following the receipt of Mr. Dooley’s observations, we had the good fortune of hearing from Mr. Steve Beanland of Coles Electroacoustics. Here are his words.
Coles was founded in 1964. We were two chaps with one lathe in a garage in Harlow and we made anything that we could sell at a profit. It was only a matter of months before we moved to a 400 sq ft factory annexe and took on two men a year later. During this period we moved from general engineering to a degree of specialization in amplifiers.
At the end of 1969 we had the opportunity of developing a piece of industrial land in Hoddesdon, far too big for our needs at the time, but offered at attractive terms. We built a small factory of 2000 sq ft, which left most of the land still available for future expansion. After two years, we added 2000 sq ft and soon after that another 1000 sq ft of office block as well.
The most significant development took place in 1972 when we had the chance of manufacturing top quality acoustic equipment under license for STC—the gigantic Standard Telephones and Cables Limited—which was a kind of success story in its own right.
We took on all their staff, tooling, expertise and experience and moved the production from Harlow to our new factory in Hoddesdon. This was also a quite exceptional piece of luck because when STC, two years later, decided to give up marketing this equipment, we bought all the manufacturing rights and patents and took over their market.
We have now added another 5000 sq ft to the factory and have further extended the markets overseas and have continued to improve existing products and develop new ones.
Coles Electroacoustics Ltd
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