The JBL Story
1902: JAMES B. LANSING BORN IN ILLINOIS
"Born James Martini, Lansing was the ninth of thirteen children of Henry Martini and wife Grace Erbs. In his late teens, James briefly lived with the Bullough family in Litchfield, Illinois, and eventually took their surname of Lansing. "
1927: LANSING MANUFACTURING OPENS ITS DOORS
"With partner Kenneth G. Decker, the company builds 6- and 8-inch cone loudspeakers for radio sets and consoles. Family members from both sides help to make cones and winding coils at home in the evenings, assembling them into finished loudspeakers at the factory the next day. "
1928: ‘THE JAZZ SINGER’ CHANGES EVERYTHING
"MGM commissions Lansing to design high-fidelity speakers for its ‘Shearer’ audio system for use in ‘The Jazz Singer’. Its immense success ushers in the cinematic sound era. Western Electric—the manufacturing arm of AT&T—quickly becomes the dominant force in film audio production equipment. "
1937: LANSING & MGM HONORED FOR THEIR ACHIEVEMENT
"Honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for technical excellence, the Shearer-MGM system James Lansing helped establish industry-wide standards for motion pictures. Their design would be copied by audio manufacturers worldwide. "
1938: ANTI-TRUST TURNS INDUSTRY ON ITS EAR
Federal officials move to challenge Western Electric’s monopoly of the motion picture audio industry. Following its anti-trust efforts, the government forces Western Electric to divest itself of holdings in the loudspeaker and amplifier production field.
1939: ENGINEERS HAVE DESIGNS OF THEIR OWN
"Having signed a decree with the government a year earlier, Western Electric’s stocks were sold for one dollar each to their in-house core of audio engineers. The engineers quickly form a new company named Altec, a contraction of ‘all technical’ intended to announce the firm’s sole direction."
1941: NEW LEADERSHIP, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Two years after the accidental death of his business partner Kenneth G. Decker, James Lansing sells his manufacturing company to Altec Service Corporation for $50,000 and signs a five-year contract with the new joint firm, assuming the title of Vice President of Engineering.
1943: STABILITY IN A WORLD AT WAR
Lansing perfects the techniques that became standard procedure in audio manufacturing, including high-speed winding of ribbon wire voice coils on metal mandrels and hydraulic forming of high frequency aluminum diaphragms.
1946: JBL IS BORN
"James B. Lansing amicably departs Altec and founds a new company: James B. Lansing Sound, Inc.. Within a year, the company known as JBL would introduce the revolutionary D130 15-inch speaker, the first to feature a 4-inch flat wire coil-in-cone transducer."
1949: A TRAGIC END
James B. Lansing takes his life in September. Years earlier, Lansing wisely secured a $10,000 life insurance policy which allows then President William Thomas to secure the company’s future.
1955: A ROCKING REBIRTH
The advent of rock and roll highlights the need for transducers that can handle abuse received during concerts. Leo Fender of Fender Guitar fame identifies the D130 as the ideal driver for his electric guitar.
1958: Hi-Fi MAKES ITS WAY FORWARD
"JBL introduces the Paragon stereophonic speaker. An immediate success, more than 1,000 Paragons are built by the company during the next twenty-five years. Later that year, James B. Lansing is posthumously awarded a Citation by the Audio Engineering Society. "
1960: A DUET FOR THE AGES
In the early 60’s, company President Bill Thomas convinces executives at Capitol Records to use JBL D50 monitors. Label executives, impressed with the product line, standardize their studios with JBL monitors with the blessing of Capitol’s parent company, EMI.
1965: THE MAGIC OF THE MID-SIXTIES
"JBL introduces the T-circuit output configuration for high-performance solid-state amplifiers. The engineer module version is mounted inside JBL loudspeaker systems, including the D5OSMS7, creating the first two-way powered studio monitor. "
1968: TECHNOLOGY THAT DEFINES ITS TIME
"The compact control rooms of recording studios of the 60’s benefited greatly from JBL monitors of the era. In particular, the 4310 series dramatically minimized negative acoustics, allowing an increased proportion of direct sound and lower levels of audio to reflect off of walls and ceilings. "
1969: A VISIONARY LEADER FOR THE FUTURE
Sidney Harman acquires JBL from William Thomas. The company embarks on a season of unprecedented growth. Also that year, JBL transducers power the definitive rock festival of the decade, Woodstock.
1970: EXPANDING ON GREATNESS
"The introduction of the L100 series becomes the most successful of any audio manufacturer of the decade. For the next four years JBL expanded the L100 line with new multi-way monitors, revolutionizing the industry. "
1973: FOUR WAYS TO THE FUTURE
"The Sidney Harman-lead company introduces the expanded line of 4300-series monitors, including the industry’s first four-way designs. "
1977: A CHANGE OF ADDRESS
"JBL moves into its current location in Northridge, California, near the old Glendale Airport. The new building, bordering the eastern edge of Griffith Park, had been deactivated at the end of World War II and converted into an industrial estate. "
1979: THE SFG IS UNVEILED
The company introduces Symmetrical Field Geometry (SFG), a new ferrite-based magnetic structure with performance capability exceeding that of the traditional Alnico V.
1981: THE RADIAL® REARS ITS HEAD
"Building on the acoustical concept of flat power response, the 4400-series monitors quickly gain acceptance by the recording industry. Later that year, the L250 four-way consumer system is released to wide acclaim. "
1982: 4676 CINEMA SYSTEM GETS ITS CLOSE UP
"JBL engineers create the first power-flat cinema system to be approved by THX® for their cinema certification program. Also that year, the company incorporates titanium into the diaphragm material for its compression drivers. "
1983: 4660 DEFINED-COVERAGE MODEL IS RELEASED
Based on Bi-Radial® technology, the state-of-the-art system provides tailored coverage for speech recognition applications in rectangular spaces.
1984: “I’D LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY…”
"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selects JBL components for the new audio system in the refurbished Samuel Goldwyn Theater. "
1985: CLIMBING AUDIO’S HIGHEST PEAK
"The Everest, a loudspeaker designed to embody JBL’s legacy of innovation, debuts to industry-wide praise. A critical and commercial success, the loudspeaker would later be named Product of the Year by Japan’s Stereo Sound Magazine. "
1989: “WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS DIRECT…“
The Directors Guild of America selects JBL units for the systems in the two theaters inside their new Hollywood headquarters. Later that year, the company unveils its VGC technology (Vented Gap Cooling) designed to raise the thermal power limits of low-frequency transducers.
1991: JAPAN SALUTES SAN FERNANDO’S FINEST
1991The company’s K-2 loudspeaker system is selected by readers of Japan’s Stereo Sound as Product of the Year.
1995: THE EON® LOUDSPEAKER IS RELEASED
"Praised upon its release, these molded, integrated power, portable loudspeakers feature Differential Drive® transducer technology and a TTMS (Total Thermal Management System). "
Corporate HeadquartersJBL, a unit of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated.
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HARMAN is the parent company behind an array of legendary brands that includes Harman Kardon®, JBL®, Mark Levinson®, AKG and Infinity Systems®. We are a leading global provider of premium audio and infotainment solutions, engaging customers around the home, in the car and on the go. Our family of distinguished brands enjoys a legacy spanning more than 60 years of leading-edge innovation and premium quality. Our customers include the top names in entertainment, automotive and venue design – linked by a common passion for high-fidelity sound and multimedia.
JBL is a brand of HARMAN International Industries, Inc. Current shareholders or interested parties looking to view fiduciary reporting for the most recent year or previous years, or for more information on HARMAN International Incorporated, Inc., visit the HARMAN Investor Relations website.http://investor.harman.com/?_ga=1.182438055.1022530709.1421917136
From engineers to entertainers, we’re all in this together. JBL works to protect the environment by eliminating waste and promoting company-wide conservation.
By pioneering a new concept in energy-efficient audio and infotainment design called GreenEdge™ we combine new environmentally friendly design with dramatic energy savings, without compromising the excellent performance for which our products are known.
Do you have a passion for music and audio? We operate worldwide through a network of more than 11,000 talented employees, positioned to serve both the emerging and established markets. Many among our team began their careers on the stage or in the recording studio, bringing their personal experience as customers to the design, production, and marketing of innovative new audio technologies. We’re looking for people who want to join our global family and build a sound future – for our customers, our company, and our employees. View our career opportunities at HARMAN.com.