Everything Western Electric

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Not everyone knows about western electric’s rise to power and eventual monopoly. Even less know that they built audiophile grade products for theaters (now repurposed for home use). Much of their desired theater products are already in private collections and occasionally a forgotten stock of tubes or drivers is unearthed; fetching crazy money on the open market. Thanks to a few fellas around here, I’ve been scouring the web for a piece of the WE legend. I’ve only came across a couple small vacuum tubes but nothing more.
While perusing GPA’s website I noticed a new to me WE section with a “coming soon” heading. Pretty excited!!!
Well, feel free to post about your WE finds, experiences or aspirations.
 
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Tsingtao_1903

Senior Member
Many many years ago, Western Electric Kansas City Works hired me straight out of college for their brand new 5" semiconductor lines. The plant itself was huge. I was too young and too stupid to know and appreciate the section of the building where the vacuum tubes were made.
 
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Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Many many years ago, Western Electric Kansas City plant hired me straight out of college for their brand new 5" semiconductor lines. The plant itself was huge. I was too young and too stupid to know and appreciate the section of the building where the vacuum tubes were made.
Curious as to the factories outcome/existence?
 

Tsingtao_1903

Senior Member
The 1.3M sqft building was converted into a "Technology Campus" to house various smaller technology companies.

777 NW BLUE PKWY , LEES SUMMIT, MO 64086
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Just recently I became the new owner of a matched pair of WE 32A horns from the late 1940s which I am using with WE 720A drivers. Prior to that my only genuine WE parts were 417a and 403b tubes.
Pics for proof of life?:)
I have 32A’s but they are Altec (haven’t unboxed them since purchasing from RB).
 

Salectric

Senior Member
Pics for proof of life?:)
I have 32A’s but they are Altec (haven’t unboxed them since purchasing from RB).
I have some photos but I forget how to post them. Anyway at first glance the WE 32A looks the same as your Altec 32A. It’s only on closer inspection that you can spot some physical differences. The WE has a narrower throat diameter—it is 0.7” in diameter compared to 1” on the Altec—-and a recessed area for a washer where the driver connects to the horn. The WE horn has different mounting holes for the driver, either for 3 bolts like the 720A or 4 bolts for the 713 series. A 2-bolt driver like an Altec 802 won’t fit. There are also some differences in materials or internal dimensions because the WE horn sounds quite different from the Altec if you tap each one in free air. Maybe the WE is slightly thicker I don’t know.

Anyway I can’t really say anything about how the WE 32A sounds compared to the Altecs, either the aluminum 32A or the plastic 32B or C. I have pairs of each but they use different drivers. I can use 802G or YL drivers (each has a 1” throat) on the Altecs but so far I have only tried the 720A drivers on the WE horns.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
well at first glance the WE 32A looks the same as your Altec 32A. It’s only on closer inspection that you can spot some physical differences. The WE has a narrower throat diameter—it is 0.7” in diameter compared to 1” on the Altec—-and a recessed area for a washer where the driver connects to the horn. The WE horn has different mounting holes for the driver, either for 3 bolts like the 720A or 4 bolts for the 713 series. A 2-bolt driver like an Altec 802 won’t fit. There are also some differences in materials or internal dimensions because the WE horn sounds quite different from the Altec if you tap each one in free air. Maybe the WE is slightly thicker I don’t know.

Anyway I can’t really say anything about how the WE 32A sounds compared to the Altecs, either the aluminum 32A or the plastic 32B or C. I have pairs of each but they use different drivers. I can use 802G or YL drivers (each has a 1” throat) on the Altecs but so far I have only tried the 720A drivers on the WE horns.
Thank you for sharing the awesome pics Salectric! I believe these components are an invaluable piece of our audio history.

2F45606E-B8A4-479D-BE16-FF5E105DCCB6.jpegB08B4B18-CC6A-497B-A297-FD2F13324D08.jpeg4022CE9B-2DCC-47DE-8E5B-0EB46A5D2FCE.jpeg
 
Not everyone knows about western electric’s rise to power and eventual monopoly. Even less know that they built audiophile grade products for theaters (now repurposed for home use). Much of their desired theater products are already in private collections and occasionally a forgotten stock of tubes or drivers is unearthed; fetching crazy money on the open market. Thanks to a few fellas around here, I’ve been scouring the web for a piece of the WE legend. I’ve only came across a couple small vacuum tubes but nothing more.
While perusing GPA’s website I noticed a new to me WE section with a “coming soon” heading. Pretty excited!!!
Well, feel free to post about your WE finds, experiences or aspirations.
thanks AudioNut, good thread......
My WE 421a (dated 58-52) I will admit to the smallest bit of (American) industrial chauvinism in the
purchase of my FI ampIMG_1509.jpgIMG_1508.jpgIMG_1510.jpg. Don told me that these were probably used as voltage regulator's in front of
300B in underwater cables. I have no reason to doubt him.
Mine has been in constant use (probably between 4 and 5 thousand hours) since I received the Amp 10/30/2008 and still tests at over 100%.
 
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