|Leak and the
Audio Engineering Society
New York Audio Fairs
The First New York Audio Fair - the Annual Convention
of the Audio Engineering Society, Oct 27-29, 1949.
After the Second World War, the market for quality sound reproduction equipment for use in American homes was rapidly growing. Without knowing it, the Audio industry was moving into the "golden age" of the 1950's and early 60's, where quality products were being developed that would influence the industry for decades to come.
Harold Leak had released the "Point One TL/12" amplifier in Britain in December 1948, and so by 1949 was in a position to take advantage of the growing American market for the new "Hi-Fi". In late 1949, Harold Leak applied to the company's bank for the necessary funds to travel to the coming Audio Fair to be held in New York, after he read about it one Saturday morning.
The 1949 Audio Fair was held on the sixth floor of the "Hotel New Yoker" (shown at right). The Fair hosted 56 exhibitors, and about 1500 people attended. Harold Leak took three "sets" of equipment with him from Britain:
Prior to the Audio Fair, the company placed its first American advertisement in the respected industry journal "Audio Engineering" (October 1949). At this stage the company did not have any distribution arrangements in America, but would seek a suitable agency for distribution whilst at the Audio Fair.
At the left is a portion of the full-page first American advertisment. It states that the company was looking to settle distribution rights, and that Harold Leak would be available at the Hotel New Yoker from Oct 20 to November 6 (which was considerably longer that the 3-day fair).
The amplifier was very succesfull indeed at the
fair, and many Americans were astonished at the build-quality as well as
the technical performance. As a result, Leak established distribution through
"British Industries Corporation" - an American company focussed
on the import of British electronic and sound equipment (eg: Garrard turntables,
Ersin multicore solder, Marconi/Osram valves under the Genelex label, and
from 1950 Wharfedale loudspeakers). British Industries Corporation was operated
by Leonard and Gene Carduner.
The Second New York Audio Fair - 1950
Harold Leak attended many of the following New York Audio Fairs. In 1950, the fair was held on the 5'th and 6'th floors, and approximately 4700 people attended over three days.
Shown at the left is part of the British Industries stand at the 1950 Audio Fair. On the left is an up-turned TL/12 power amplifier, with its associated RC/PA pre-amplifier in the middle. A Garrard record changer is on the right.
In attendance at the stand were: Leonard Carduner
(President), G.A.Briggs, Frank Hoffman, Eugene Carduner, Harold Leak and
The Fourth New York Audio Fair - 1952
At the 1952 AES Audio Fair, Leonard (left) and Gene (right) Carduner
of British Industries display the then new Leak Varislope pre-amplifer (at
the bottom of shot). A Garrard record changer is also shown.
The Fifth New York Audio Fair - 1953
By 1953, Harold Leak was a well recognised figure at the New York Audio fairs. Shown below is the British Industries stand at the Fair. Harold Leak is on the left. Gilbert Briggs of Wharefdale (also distributed by British Industries Corp.) is in the center-rear looking on. On the right is Leonard Carduner. (The central front figure may be Dr Ed Kellogg, co-developer with Rice of the moving coil loudspeaker in the 1920's, as he was presented an achievement award at the Fair.) A Leak TL/12 amplifier is on the left, a Leak Vari-slope pre-amp in the middle, and possibly a Garrard transcription turntable on the right. Note the promotional wall-posters behind.
The photos and details of the New York Audio Fair have been sourced from "Audio Engineering" 1949 to 1953.
Other information from: "The Beginnings of Hi Fi - A History of H.J. Leak & Co.", HiFi World, October 1996;
and "Leak Point One Amplifiers" booklet by H.J.Leak