In the beginning there was one

‘Walker’s Wonder’  as originally intended, listening to the BBC in mono:


the classic ‘how it should be’ image

Note the chair, high enough for the stylish tilt of the speaker to aim it squarely at the listener. There was less slumping in soft sofas in the 1950s, and the speaker is aimed accordingly. I wonder if the chairs are from Heals – it’s rarely mentioned that Christopher Heal designed the ESL57’s woodwork. Once our man with the pipe gets the Home Service tuned in, you’ll notice that she gets shoved out of the sweet spot:

howItShouldBe_colour

If the two of them aren’t wearing synthetic fabrics they will be in a few years – and quite right too, since without polymers electrostatic loudspeakers would never have been possible.  The theoretical idea had been around since the 1880s, and patented at least since the 1920s, but early proposals to use paper or silk would never have worked: mylar film was the first material that could be made light, thin and taut enough to do the job.

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