Anecdotes


Paul subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. He brought all his discarded papers to the shop to use for packing material. Portus Gilley and I made a point to use some Wall Street Journal in every package and to make it fairly visible. We were rewarded when some time later a customer wrote in, "Of course the Klipschorn is expensive. It comes wrapped in the Wall Street Journal."


Bill Hansen, a physicist, was hired about the summer of 1954.

When Paul learned that the high school was without a physics teacher that school year he made Bill available to teach one period a day. Bill was building a rather large boat in his back yard. It became something of a joke at the factory to draw something boat-shaped and label it "Bill's boat". Sometimes the drawings were done in the dust that had settled on finished products - until it was noticed that the drawing persisted when the dust was wiped off.


Paul's original oscilloscope was a 1930s DuMont model, with similar amplifier for horizontal and vertical. His typical way of using it was to put the output of the audio oscillator into the horizontal input and the output of the item under test, through an attenuator, to the vertical input. Thus the relation of the two was the inclination of the line or ellipse and didn't require keeping the oscillator output constant as its frequency varied. He later (1950s) bought a Precision scope, allowing the DuMont to be used for production testing.


Most of the test equipment was home-made however. There was an audio oscillator with a black 19" rack panel. A calibrated attenuator. A simple bridge for measuring the impedance versus frequency of speakers and drivers. There was a bridge for measuring capacitance and inductance that we didn't use very often. Then there was a notch filter - the idea was to notch out the fundamental frequency of a signal and display only the distortion products. This didn't get much use either.


A relay rack was made A-frame style out of 1x4 lumber, on casters, with a shelf in front to hold the item under test. Some of the lab furniture, such as a low table on casters, was made of lumber from wartime ammunition crates.


Then for general factory use there were higher tables on casters, used to move material around and for temporary work benches. Paul tended to grab these for his projects in progress. One time Lloyd McClellan decided instead of trying to get them back he would just keep building more of them.


There was someone named Harry Keep - don't know if he was a dealer or a gray-market dealer or what - he bought Klipsch components and put together K-horns but substituting his own crossover network. Once in a while one of these would turn up at Klipsch & Assoc. Maybe a customer bought a genuine crossover and sent in the Keep crossover, or maybe the customer sent in the whole K-horn to be brought up to standard performance.


Posted on the wall was a page torn from a furniture manufacturing trade magazine, showing some piece of furniture and a woman in a flowing gown and the caption, "But how can I know it's genuine hardwood?" to which somebody had added, "Try to drive nails in it." and a nail driven into the furniture item.


“Back in 1944 some flying squirrels “flew” down our chimney into our “vermin proof” officer’s quarters and took up housekeeping in the X-3 woofer. We cleaned them out and applied metal cloth to find that it buzzed at some frequencies. All of our KLIPSCHORNS except the Decorator’s Model have a plastic (saran) 16 mesh screen.”


Restroom "Westinghouse" was posted over the door.


Paul loved Mexican food, and usually followed it with vanilla ice cream. It was the morning after when Paul was in the bathroom of the old lab which had no door (now the museum). He was quite vocal about the burning pain from Montezuma's revenge, and was finally heard exclaiming: "Come on ice cream!"


In the mid-1950's, when Paul came to Boston for the HiFi shows, we would have our Klipschorns along with Marantz amplifiers and Grado cartridges in our demo room. With the usual Harvard and MIT fans around him, he sat down on a Marantz power amplifier. Soon we smelled a peculiar odor, and for a moment thought some competitor had put a stink bomb in the room. Just at that moment Paul gave out a Klipschorn-sized yell!! He turned around showing his bottom to the gathered group of admirers saying, "Look what that "adjective/noun" amplifier did to me." There were two clean burn holes from the output tubes clear through his wool trousers, boxer shorts, and his seared rear end. It wasn't long after that Mrs. Marantz came into the room. Paul went to her, bent over and said, "Look what your amplifier did to me!" He later spent a good deal of the show trying to get Marantz to pay for his trousers.


Flying was a passion with Paul, and he survived many thousands of hours. Some Strategic Air Command pilots that had been stationed in Arkansas visited us at the factory, and remarked to Paul that he must have oxygen in his Cessna 180, as they saw him in their path as they climbed past 18,000 feet. Paul replied that he didn't. He was asked how he avoided passing out. Paul said that he watched his wife's fingernails, and when they turned blue he came down. The SAC pilots were sufficiently skeptical.


We were with Paul at his lawyer's office helping him become incorporated (1958) when he bounced off a filing cabinet in a simulated Theodore Roosevelt "CHARGE!" We heard the sound of broken glass, and he reached back to his hip pocket and solemnly said, "I hope that's blood!"


The only time I ever saw Paul completely non-pulsed was when friends of ours from Boston were visiting the factory and Grassy Lake (near Hope) with their two dogs - Charley and Walter. Mr. Klipsch got down on the floor rolling around with them, declaring all the while, "I hate dogs, I hate dogs." Our friend bent over and tapped Mr. Klipsch on the shoulder and said, "Mr. Klipsch, we have never told them that they are D-O-G-S." Paul lay on the floor looking up at the lady who has said those words - and he knew that it was one of those rare occasions when he had been one- upped.


He wore two large yellow BS buttons under his coat like hidden police badges. When someone would "exceed their intelligence", he would open his coat for them to see the yellow BS button. One time because of a particularly egregious statement, he opened both sides of his coat to reveal two yellow buttons and said to the victim, "in stereo."


At first Paul handled his own advertising, but in the mid 1950s he engaged Goodloe Stuck of Shreveport as his advertising agent.


Recommends Gebhardt's chili powder. At first he would pick up a supply on any trip to El Paso, but later it became widely available before disappearing again.


Then there was a turntable and pickup made by Fisher. The turntable was an inexpensive General Industries model. The pickup used a variable capacitor; I believe it was used to FM modulate an oscillator. The electronics were provided in the base of the turntable, so the output was compatible with ordinary amplifiers. The arm and pickup were extremely lightweight. Stylus pressure was obtained with a spring. Paul liked to put a rubber grommet on the center pin to hold the record on the turntable and then pick up the whole assembly and show that it would play just as well on its side or upside down.


In the early days they used G.E. variable reluctance pickup cartridges.
According to Norman Bradford, Paul had invented the variable reluctance pickup himself, but G.E. had done so too and had got the patent first.
There was a model made by Paul hanging on the wall. Seems like I remember a model hanging on the wall that was a strain-gage pickup rather than magnetic. There was a commercial strain-gage pickup Pfannsteihl that Paul had tested.


There were several tonearms of Paul's own experimental design. One was quite simple, a wooden arm pivoting on a point, and having a lead weight on the far end to adjust the stylus pressure. Another had a joint with ballbearings and springs to provide vertical compliance. The bearings came from Miniature Precision Bearings Co. At one time I had some of the parts of these things - believe I gave them to James O'Neal.


I saw at the shop, but never saw in use, a turntable made of a large cast aluminum platter driven by a belt from a motor hung outside the platter.

This might very well have been an experimental unit designed by Paul.
He later used a Rek-O-Kut professional turntable, with a Gray (?) "vicious damped" tonearm. This had the feature that if you dropped the tonearm it would come down very gently on the record, not causing any damage.


Something that was not a standard product, but might have been made up from time to time for dealers or customers, was a record cabinet holding an amplifier and turntable. The turntable was an inexpensive General Industries unit with the motor remounted. As it came, the motor was mounted to the metal base plate with three rubber grommets. These were discarded and the motor was re-hung from the turntable mounting board with a pair of long-snouted Lord mounts. This was to reduce transmission of motor rumble to the turntable. The mounting board was arranged to hang from a framework using eight Lord mounts to isolate it from floor vibration. The mounting board was big enough to accomodate a professional tonearm. Underneath the turntable was a space for the preamplifier of a Brook amplifier set. The main amplifier went into the bottom behind the compartment that held 12-inch disk records. There were two doors in front enclosing the record compartment.


The standard tool for mixing and spreading wood glue was a tablespoon hammered flat. Glue was mixed in recycled tin cans. Dried-up cans of glue and spoons were set on top of a stove, which supposedly softened the glue or made it more brittle so the cans and spoons could be cleaned for reuse.


Paul had a copy of the first radio blooper LP record. After hearing some of Norman Bradford's humor when he was off-air, I decided a lot of the items were not actual bloopers but were announcers' jokes. My uncle James Lewis confirmed that the Yom Kippur blooper actually happened at the station where he worked, KNOW in Austin.


One of the wall decorations was a very early vacuum tube, a U. S. Army Signal Corps VT-1. Paul liked to say that a "slightly dishonest sergeant" had "liberated" the tube for him.


"Joe took Father's shoe bench out." was a test sentence for recording speech and listening to the reproduction.


Paul had a Tesla coil built, with a DC power supply. The idea was that a corona discharge could generate sound. I think he intended to use it as a microphone calibrator. However it was hardly ever used, so must not have been satisfactory.


There was another OTL amplifier built by Stephens, the original supplier of drivers to Klipsch & Assoc. They had wound the voice coil of the driver for 500 ohms impedance and used a modest number of tubes in the amplifier. Paul tried it, but I gather he wasn't very favorable toward it, even though the problems of output transformers were well known.


The Shreveport Stove: some fellows in Shreveport built an OTL (output transformerless) amplifier intended to drive a 16 ohm speaker. To get a low output impedance they used a large number of tubes in parallel, hence the nickname.


Paul had quite a collection of humor recordings, most of them more or less off-color. He made a trip to Boston and Cambridge and brought back the original Tom Lehrer recording. There was a farting contest, done as a parody of a radio broadcast of a wrestling match. There was a parody of a radio literary program, featuring a poem, "Ode to the four-letter words." Another poem was "The four prominent bastards." There was a foul-mouthed whore telling her housemates about seeing a movie of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

There was a parody of a radio commercial suggesting the use of used engine oil as a salad dressing, including the sung jingle "I've found a new dressin' It's better than Wesson Just drain out your crankcase Start messin, please do." That one might have been inspired by wartime shortages of foodstuffs.

There was a radio commercial, perhaps real, for Ticonderoga pencils, that featured something about a rubber on the end. And there was a radio commercial for what I think was an actual business named "Brass Ass Originals, of Palo Alto." Paul was a friend of a couple living in Palo Alto - perhaps they were wartime associates. The woman was Nellie and she was quite a pianist. I believe the man worked in radio broadcasting, so he might have sent the Brass Ass commercial.


Then there was a shed on the back of the building where there was a radial arm saw and a supply of 1x4 lumber used to make crating parts. The door leading into this room had a sign that got changed every six months or so, reading like,

"Keep this door closed (cats, y'know)

flys

cold

flys

cold

flys

cold

skunk

flys

cold..."


There was a time when a couple of cats were installed in the plant. Maybe they were supposed to keep down the mouse population. They were supposed to be indoor cats; but they found a way to get out of the building at night through a window fan, and brought in field mice and lizards and other things they had killed. They were not allowed into a room where finished speakers were stored, since they might claw up the finish. There was a sign at eye level reading, "Keep this door closed (cats, y'know)" and another sign at cats' eye level reading "You're not allowed in here."


During the time he was quitting smoking he asked me if I like licorice. I told him I don't much like it, but he handed me a cardboard box containing an odd-shaped stick of black stuff. Typically Paul, he had heard that licorice helps in quitting smoking, and instead of getting it from a candy store he had gone to a manufacturer and bought a quantity of raw licorice such as is used in manufacturing. I believe only two sticks were ever taken from the box: the one he gave to me and the one he presumably tried himself.


Before he quit smoking his favorite pipe tobacco was Edgeworth, which came in a tin box about like Altoids today. The emptied boxes got used for storing little things, or for making shielded audio switch boxes and such.


I believe the pen name "O. Gadfly Hurtz" was chosen in reaction to the decision of [whatever international body decides these things] to change the name of the unit of frequency from cycles-per-second to Hertz.


The origin of the Heresy may go back to the Ampex 601 tape recorder, which came in a Samsonite suitcase. There was a companion small speaker in a suitcase. Paul decided he wanted a good but small speaker that he could carry with him in the airplane. His first effort was a little bigger than a Heresy as I recall, and had the back corners of the box angled so it would sit in a room corner. These were painted pink like the rest of his traveling equipment. I don't know if he liked things painted pink or if we had a bunch of pink paint that needed to be used up. (Not bright pink, but a beige that had a pinkish tinge to it.)


Forgery or Foundry a shop course that engineering students had to take in Paul's day. In my day for E.E.s it included forge and various metalworking machines, but not foundry; only the M.E.s had to take foundry. Paul liked to talk about foundry work, explained to me about how a pattern maker makes a pattern out of pine, then a sand mold is made with the pattern and molten metal is poured into the mold. There was a foundry in Hope that made midrange horn throats for Klipschorns.


Bait a template or pattern or sample object used in the factory. I don't know if this originated with Paul or with Lloyd McClellan. Lloyd explained it one time, but I don't remember the explanation.


"I'm Paul Klipsch, the village idiot." or "I'm Paul Klipsch. I suppose you know who you are."


"Inside corner outdoors" - They poured a concrete pad on the ground outside the brick building where there was a 90 degree corner. This provided a place to test corner speakers outdoors where the only reflecting surfaces were the two brick walls forming the corner.


"Wanna see some dirty pictures?" (Then he pulls out a graph or sketch of something from his pocket notebook.) He always carried a pocket-size ring binder, like a personal organizer. This was originally a product of Lefax, which made a line of personal organizers aimed at engineers."Wanna see some dirty pictures?" (Then he pulls out a graph or sketch of something from his pocket notebook.) He always carried a pocket-size ring binder, like a personal organizer. This was originally a product of Lefax, which made a line of personal organizers aimed at engineers.


Ball Clearance the slot in a toilet seat in the men's restroom. Paul told of hearing this term from a wartime maintenance worker. With wartime shortages you couldn't always get specifically male or female toilet seats. The maintenance man said among his chores for the days was to "cut ball clearance" into a couple of toilet seats so he could install them in the men's room.


"ice cream with brown gravy" - ice cream with chocolate syrup. There is a newspaper clipping about this somewhere. That he would ask for ice cream with brown gravy in a restaurant, and they would bring him ice cream with chocolate syrup. Until one time he was in Hollywood and the waitress brought him ice cream with brown gravy. He ate it, said it was not bad, just unusual. But thenceforth he always asked, "what would you bring me if I asked for ice cream with brown gravy?"


Shortly after the oiled walnut furniture finish became popular some customer wrote to K&A and asked for "a fifth of rubbing oil" So Paul dutifully found an empty fifth of whiskey bottle and filled it with rubbing oil and sent it out.


On one occasion I was at the L. B. Tooley home with Paul and Belle. Paul said "I smell cellulose burning!" and we all jumped up to see what was on fire. It turned out Belle had lit a filter-tip cigarette on the filter end and was puffing away.


There was a file folder titled "somedamnthingoranotherbutbedamnsurewe-canfindit" because Paul had told Nan to file something under that heading and that's what she did.


Nan Taylor, long time secretary, told this story shortly after he had bought the first airplane, the Stinson Voyager. Apparently Belle was expecting to spend that money on a nicer house. Nan came to work one morning and was surprised to find Paul already there, as he didn't usually come to work early. He looked more scruffy than usual. She remarked, "You look like you have been here all night," to which he replied "I have."