Thomas Walter Jennings

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Thomas Walter Jennings (28 February 1918 – 1978) [1] , also known as Tom Jennings, was an English businessman who was the founder of Jennings Organ Company. In 1950 he formed Jennings Musical Instruments (JMI) Ltd, the company that produced the famous Vox Guitar amplifiers. In 1956 the company name was changed to Jennings Musical Industries Ltd. Disenchanted with the company direction, he left JMI Ltd in 1967 and set up a separate company, Jennings Electronic Industries.

Jennings Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of musical instruments, and the original owner of the Vox brand. The company was founded by Thomas Walter Jennings.

Vox (musical equipment) British brand of musical equipment

Vox is a musical equipment manufacturer founded in 1957 by Thomas Walter Jennings in Dartford, Kent, England. The company is most famous for making the Vox AC30 guitar amplifier, used by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Queen, Dire Straits, U2 and Radiohead, the Vox Continental electric organ, the Vox wah-wah pedal used by Jimi Hendrix, and a series of innovative electric guitars and bass guitars. Since 1992, Vox has been owned by the Japanese electronics firm Korg.

Guitar amplifier

A guitar amplifier is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar so that it can produce sound through one or more loudspeakers, which are typically housed in a wooden cabinet. A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that contains only the power amplifier circuits, requiring the use of a separate speaker cabinet–or it may be a "combo" amplifier, which contains both the amplifier and one or more speakers in a wooden cabinet. There is a wide range of sizes and power ratings for guitar amplifiers, from small, lightweight "practice amplifiers" with a single 6" speaker and a 10 watt amp to heavy combo amps with four 10” or four 12" speakers and a powerful 100 watt amplifier, which are loud enough to use in a nightclub or bar performance.

Contents

Biography

Jennings was born in Hackney, London, England in February 1918. He became an accomplished amateur accordion player. He served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during World War II, but he was discharged from the Army on medical grounds in 1942. Jennings then worked at the Vickers munitions plant in Kent. There he met amateur guitarist Dick Denney who played with a local big band. On occasion, the two played together, but not professionally. Denny also had an interest in electronics and radio technology.

London Borough of Hackney Borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Hackney is a London Borough in Inner London, United Kingdom. The historical and administrative heart of Hackney is Mare Street, which lies 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross. The borough is named after Hackney, its principal district.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Accordion Bellows-driven free-reed aerophone musical instruments

Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneón are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family.

In 1944, Jennings started repairing accordions and trading in second hand musical instruments part-time at first. In 1946, Jennings set up his first shop in Dartford Kent and began importing accordions and other musical instruments. He also invented new products, the first being the Univox electronic organ, which was a huge success, and not only inspired the "Vox" brand name but was the springboard for his musical instrument amplifier manufacturing empire.

Dartford town in Kent, England

Dartford is the principal town in the Borough of Dartford, Kent, England. It is located 18 miles south-east of Central London, and is situated adjacent to the London Borough of Bexley to its west. To its north, across the Thames estuary, is Thurrock in Essex, which can be reached via the Dartford Crossing.

Import good brought into a jurisdiction

An import is a good brought into a jurisdiction, especially across a national border, from an external source. The party bringing in the good is called an importer. An import in the receiving country is an export from the sending country. Importation and exportation are the defining financial transactions of international trade.

During the early 1950s, Jennings focused mainly on keyboards; he attempted to modify organ amplifiers for electric guitars, but had little success. Dick Denney, was also experimenting with guitar amplification and succeeded in producing a 15 watt amplifier paired with a 12-inch (300 mm) speaker. After adding a tremolo unit, he made two more prototypes, one of which was shown to Jennings. Jennings offered Denney a job with his company, now named Jennings Musical Instruments (JMI). Denney accepted the position of engineer and further developed his prototype. In 1957 JMI launched the short-lived AC2/30, the first guitar amplifier to be branded Vox, but it was the AC/15 guitar amplifier, launched in January 1958, that made the Vox brand name world-famous.

The watt is a unit of power. In the International System of Units (SI) it is defined as a derived unit of 1 joule per second, and is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer. In dimensional analysis, power is described by .

Tremolo

In music, tremolo, or tremolando, is a trembling effect. There are two types of tremolo.

Engineer professional practitioner of engineering and its sub classes

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build, and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare and ingenium ("cleverness"). The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice and passage of engineering board examinations.

Displeased with the direction his old company was taking, Tom Jennings left JMI in 1967, roughly the same time that Marshall overtook Vox as the dominant force in the British guitar amplifier market. He set up a new company, Jennings Electronic Industries (JEI), in his old Dartford location. Later, Dick Denney joined the new company which operated for several years, making an updated and rebadged version of the AC30, along with other amplifiers and a new range of organs. Jennings died in London in 1978 at the age of 60.

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References

Vintage Guitar magazine is a consumer publication that focuses on vintage and classic fretted instruments, amplifiers, effects, and related gear, as well as notable players from all genres and eras. The publication's feature stories and monthly columns cover a diverse range of topics by contributors, including some of the biggest names in the industry and renowned authorities like Dan Erlewine, George Gruhn, Wolf Marshall, Richard Smith, and Seymour W. Duncan, as well as some of the best-known writers in the field, including Walter Carter, A. R. Duchoissoir, Dan Forte, Lisa Sharken, Rich Kienzle, Michael Dregni, John Heidt, John Peden, and others.