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Another Survivor From The Loft


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In 2019, I acquired one of the earliest AR-1’s. The speaker, serial no. 0071, has a lacquered mahogany finish, large AR logo tag, and a black grill cloth with random gold thread. The cabinet is in very good shape with all seams intact. The lacquer finish looks good on all sides, with the short side below the woofer showing some abrasions.

It’s most obvious ‘condition issue’ was that the grill was dirty, had shrunk slightly, and that someone had applied an opaque glue to the cloth in one of the corners hoping to reattach it to the frontboard. Sadly, removing this grill proved to be a bit tougher than I had hoped and some damage occurred in the process. Cleaning it improved its appearance, but as I suspected I could not remove the glue.

In my collection I also have an AR-1W from 1956 that has an ivory grill with gold thread. As luck would have it, I had removed and cleaned the grill from that speaker about six months earlier, but had not glued it back on. I purchased some 3M-VHB two-sided tape and fastened the 1W’s grill onto the frontboard of the AR-1. So, while I would have preferred to re-install the original grill, it just isn’t in good enough shape.  I think the new grill looks great on this cabinet.

The speaker works well and both cones are fully intact. I applied a coat of Roy’s surround sealer to restore the seal, and the bass performance is as expected from an AR 12”. It’s a testament to the superb build quality of this speaker that after 65 years it can play and sound fine, and shake the room!

Here are some pictures:

as received.jpg

wo grill.jpg


rear 2.jpg

long side.jpg


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Thanks pro,

The speaker easily passes the 5-foot test. It does have some edge scrapes and a minor corner ding on the rear, not bad at all for its age. I gave it a couple of coats of Johnson paste wax to return the gloss to the lacquer, which worked well.

The WARNING notice always amused me. Of course they didn't want the seal disturbed, but to do so on a new unit would have required cutting the grill cloth, using a prybar to remove the grill board, and I'm not sure what to remove the heavy woofer from it's recess. Your speaker certainly wouldn't look the same once you broke the seal!

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