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Any update on Tom's early, early AR-1


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>Tom, Just curious if you ever did any restoration or further

>research on your very early AR-1....if I recall, the serial

>no. is 00006 which must make it the earliest known AR speaker.

>Also, where did you find this gem ?


No, I haven't done further research on this AR-1 other than to ask several of the old AR folks if they knew about it. I did completely dissemble it (and documented it carefully) and repaired the woofer, which had a loose skiver Masonite ring. The Altec 755A has some creases and a small tear or two, but I chose not to change it. In the future, I may take a 755A from a slightly newer AR-1 to replace it, but for now I haven't done anything about that. The speaker actually works amazingly well, and it performs well.

This speaker actually appeared a few years ago in Palm Springs, California at a thrift shop. A Californian put it on eBay and called it an "AK-1," not knowing what it was, and I bid on it with a very high reserve. At first I was not sure what it was, but once it dawned on me that the seller could not easily read the hand-written "AR-1," thinking it said "AK-1." Fortunately, I only had to pay a few dollars (actually about $50), but I had it shipped back to me by FedEx in a double-boxed prepaid shipment.

There were at least two prototypes that were built for the 1954 Fall New York Audio Fair, predecessor to the New York High Fidelity Music Show. These AR-1s were hurriedly fabricated by Henry Kloss just in time for the show and by every account, these speakers were the hit of the show. The other early AR-1s, of which 0006 is one, were most likely sent to dealers around the country. My guess is that this AR-1 might have been the first AR-1 demonstrator out in the western US, and then somehow fifty-plus years later ended up in the window of a Palm Springs thrift shop.

You can tell by this image that the seller might have had some difficulty reading Henry Kloss’ hand-pencil-written model and serial number. Fortunately the label was still on the speaker; there is otherwise no other identification inside the speaker.


AR-1 ("AK-1") Serial Number 0006

Incidentally, the woofer is held in place with T-nuts (Villchur design) but the machine screws are “slotted,” not Phillips. The stuffing in the enclosure is the traditional Johns Manville or Owens Corning fiberglass material.

I also have another old AR-1, serial number 0074. This one belonged to AR, but was on long-term (call it “permanent”) loan to Edward Tatnall Canby of *Audio* magazine. Before Mr. Canby passed away a few years ago, he sent the old AR speaker to me. Except for scratches on the finish, this speaker is in excellent condition, and works flawlessly. Canby in later years had used it as a coffee table. Before I got serial number 0006, I thought the 0074 was the earliest AR-1. I even called Julian Hirsch (one of the co-founders of *The Audio League Reports* and first to report on the AR-1) to ask him the serial number of his AR-1: #0220, so this one was older. However, Julian Hirsch probably had several AR-1s through the years, so he may have had one older than ole #0220 that he often used as a reference.


AR-1 Serial Number 0074

Both these old AR speakers are headed to museums in the future.

--Tom Tyson

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