Electrosonic Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its Founding
March 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding. In 1964 the company started with two rooms in London’s Greenwich vegetable market. Five decades later, Electrosonic is an international, multi-million dollar business with its US headquarters in Burbank, California, and offices worldwide.
The Greenwich vegetable market, home to Electrosonic’s first office.
Electrosonic’s story is complex but in many ways it parallels the history of audio-visual technology, and provides a window into how the industry and its services and products have changed.
Founded by Denis Naisbitt, Michael Ray and Robert Simpson, the company opened with the strapline "Electronic Control and Audio Systems". From the start, Electrosonic combined the manufacturing and selling of products with the building of complete engineered systems. Key product categories included electronic lighting control, multi-image slide projection and videowalls. The product and systems portions of the business continued together through 2010 when the products side of the business, which by then represented a small portion of overall revenue, was sold.
A photo of the founders: Robert Simpson, Michael Ray and Denis Naisbitt in 1974.
“The 50 year anniversary marks an important milestone for the company as we look back on our incredible heritage of talent and accomplishments. Electrosonic is continually investing in new generations of talented staff through mentoring and education as we continue to push the limits of what AV technology can do,” says Jim Bowie, President of Electrosonic Group. “A key element of Electrosonic’s success, and one that we are very proud of, is our long and enduring relationship with designers, suppliers and customers.”
Jim Bowie, President of Electrosonic Group.
Electrosonic carried out many impressive and memorable projects over the last 50 years all around the world, from multi-image spectaculars in 1970s Iran and the world’s biggest videowall in Seville in 1992 to massive projection displays at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. Electrosonic was often leading the way in applying new technology, whether it was pushing 70mm film to the limit, implementing multi-channel dynamic sound systems, or achieving huge 3D images with the latest electronic projectors.
Electrosonic built the world’s largest videowall at EXPO 92 in Seville with 850 CRT monitors.
Electrosonic’s historical project portfolio can be best summarized as embracing world EXPOs, lighting control, theater sound systems, experience shows, museums and visitor centers, theme parks, videowalls, control rooms and corporate AV.
World EXPO, or international exposition, work was a key business driver for Electrosonic from the start. Exposition work, starting with EXPO 67 Montreal, instilled in Electrosonic the desire to work internationally. More importantly, many influential people from around the world saw the shows, which in turn led to demands to emulate the work at home and globally. Electrosonic would go on to carry out installations in 15 different EXPOs.
In its present role as designer and integrator of complex systems, Electrosonic continues to exploit advances in technology. The business today serves three market sectors, each of which is treated on a global basis. The largest is “Entertainment”, followed by “Corporate” and “Control Rooms”. Beyond system engineering, Electrosonic has always offered ancillary services to further assist its clients. Today these include support services, managed services and technical design consulting.
A recent Electrosonic project, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center.
Electrosonic will release a book about its history in late March 2014, with the title “Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Frontline”. Written by co-founder Robert Simpson, the book presents a short history of the company, and chapters on its products, notable projects completed, its people and on the company’s contributions to the AV industry.
Historic Product and Project Photos:
Two-speed dissolve unit for slide projection, the ES2002 from the late sixties.
This 72 monitor display based on Electrosonic’s PICBLOC system was installed in Johannesburg Airport in 1989. One of the first airports to use videowalls for advertising.
Electrosonic’s first computer interactive display “The London Game” at the “London Experience” tourist attraction in 1977.
Recent Project Photos:
Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Caltrans District 7 in Los Angeles: An example of a control room project.
Hult International Business School: An example of a corporate AV project.
Office Headquarters Photos:
The US Headquarters in Burbank, California.
The EMEA Headquarters in Dartford, United Kingdom.
50th Anniversary Book
To mark its 50th anniversary this year, Electrosonic is publishing “Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Front Line,” which celebrates five decades of achievements in the AV community.
50th Anniversary Scrapbook
"The First Fifty Years: Electrosonic" presents Electrosonic's historical first 50 years in a condensed scrapbook-form, complete with photographs and historical events that coincided with the eras.