Jennings Electronic Developments (and Industries)

Part 1 of 3

BACKGROUND

As is well known, in September 1967 Tom Jennings was unceremoniously dismissed from Vox/Jennings Musical Industries, the company he had founded. Dick Denney and a group of others soon followed.

With money resulting from the case he had brought against Royston Industries (which owned Vox) for his wrongful dismissal, Jennings set about creating "Jennings Electronic Developments", taking over 117-119 Dartford Road, which he still owned.

Formal liquidation of JMI was begun in July 1968. The Dartford Road premises in JMI days were nos 115-119.

Prototyping and test production must have begun apace, as "Jennings Electronic Developments" exhibited at the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair in August 1968.

Above one of two pics said (in a printed source) to be from the Trade Fair of 1968. They are more likely, however, to be from 1969 - the range is extensive and includes the organ. Note too that Cliff and the Shadows appear in the poster at left. They are expressly said to be endorsees in the Beat Instrumental report from the '69 show, for which see below.

Some designs had clearly been worked out in 1967 - presumably by Denney in Vox days but not put into production by Vox at the time. See, for instance, the PA amplifier at the foot .

A promotional letter written by Jennings in April 1968 certainly signals that things were well in hand. The first items to be marketed were clearly pedals, however. Indeed, numbers survive with "Jennings Electronic Developments" ident plates.

Jennings Electronic Developments fuzz pedal.

Above, the JED Growler, Hi Lo Boost and Repeater. Some of the effects pedals were later distributed in conjunction with James How. See the note in Beat Instrumental magazine, January 1969. When the company became "Jennings Electronics Industries" the ident plates were adjusted.

To date no amplifiers or speaker cabinets have turned up with Jennings Electronic Development plates - all known ones are "Jennings Electronic Industries". But that is not to say that early JED-made units will not come to light. Amplifiers and cabs, nominally perhaps of a pre-production nature, were of course exhibited in 1968.

For a selection of later amps and cabs, see these pages, admittedly in need some updating, but a good body of pics.

All JEI serial number plates give patent numbers too. Jennings was obviously moved to protect its innovations.

Beat Instrumental magazine

Below, extracts from Gary Hurst's review of the 1968 Trade Fair from "Beat Instrumental" magazine, October 1968:

The President Hotel was one of three venues close to the main exhibition in the Russell Hotel, the other two being the Waverley and Tavistock Hotels.

The new company listed among the good and the great of 1968, though strangely no Marshall, which was mentioned in the report and did exhibit at the show.

Note that in the first of the three snippets above, the amps are all said to be solid state. Valves came later. That the prices were "yet to be fixed", probably indicates that the

1969

Notice from Beat Instrumental magazine, January 1969.

Above, a short preview of the Frankfurt Music Fair (Musikmesse) of 1969 from Beat Instrumental magazine, February 1969, signalling new additions to the range - surprises.

Beat Instrumental magazine, July 1969 - an article on amplifiers - Tom Jennings still advocating solid state.

The Shadows as they were in 1970, Copenhagen. Picture from Getty Images.

The first full page advert placed by Jennings in Beat Instrumental magazine, September 1969. Repeated in October. Note that the company is now "Jennings Electronic Industries", though the change had probably taken place earlier in the year.

A note in the September issue.

October 1969. Brief report of the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair of August. Perhaps the most striking item is the "rotary speakers RLS 5 for PA use"

On to the next page of pieces on JEI.