One of the rarest pieces of vintage 1950s hi-fi

It may not look like much to you. But this is one of the first-ever products of the Fisher Radio Corporation, and is so rare that no hifi collector that I know has ever seen one–or even an ad or catalog listing for it. This particular one was found recently by John Eckland at a Palo Alto garage sale. Made circa 1953. It is a copy of the more-common HH Scott dynamic noise suppressor, made with miniature instead of octal tubes. The “Eye” tubes on each side of the panel display the operation of the bass and treble noise gates, respectively.

There was a special amplifier for it, but John didn’t find the amp chassis. So he will pair it with the Fisher 60 triode amplifier seen in the 3rd photo, for some historical parity. Imagine a home hi-fi system using this stuff, plus a large rackmount preamp, perhaps a rack-mount REL Precedent FM tuner, and a Rek-O-Cut turntable with a GE variable-reluctance magnetic cartridge mounted on a massive Gray tonearm. All feeding a huge Altec Voice of the Theater horn speaker. Top-end for 1953.




9 thoughts on “One of the rarest pieces of vintage 1950s hi-fi”

  1. In 1982, I worked at an arcade for coin-operated video games [a few pinballs, too], basically as a gatekeeper and money changer. Fun, easy job, and I got to play all I wanted.

    Anyway, the owner was the electronics wiz who maintained the machines, and he had an old tube stereo amp head in the back, driving our ceiling speakers and connected to a more modern FM receiver. It looked a lot like this. I think it was even a Fisher. I am not even sure it was stereo, but I think so. It had a more goldish-tone color on the front, but otherwise looked very much like this piece. Sometimes I would warm my hands over it.

    I wish I had learned something about electronics from him, but he gave me a serious case of the heeby jeebies — that man was creepy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a JW Gacy deco theme in his rumpus room.

  2. I have a complete example of this, together with the Collins tuner my father set up with it in a large former lower piece of a break-front. The pre-amp, shown above, was in the right cupboard, a turntable was in an augmented drawer that pulled out; and the heavy power amp and noise suppressor were together in the right-side cupboard. This is in working condition, but the tuner blew a tube and its replacement, so I suspect a short there. I could post pictures, should anyone still care.

  3. The last piece was the 15″ Stevens speaker, set in a period-piece cabinet. My father was not seriously interested in music.

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