The Days When Canada Led the World in Home Stereos

If you’re of a certain age, you or your parents may once have aspired to owning a Clairtone stereo system at some point. This gear was the shit through the 60s.  Even Frank Sinatra endorsed Clairtone stereos.  And even though these systems were very expensive–$695 in 1958, equivalent to over $5,500 today–they were insanely popular.  And Clairtone was a Canadian company.

I’m reminded of all this through a great article in Torontoist which chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of one of the world’s first great stereo giants.Hef had one. Old Blue Eyes promoted them. Units provided decor for iconic films like The Graduate. Top American department stores carried them. For a time in the mid-1960s, the coolest upscale hi-fi equipment in North America was produced by a Toronto firm whose innovative units attracted sound connoisseurs and design mavens alike. Yet, despite launching the career of one of Canada’s major businessmen and the cachet it brought to Canadian manufacturing design, Clairtone’s fortunes crashed as quickly as they rose.

Keep going.  It’s fascinating.

Clairtone stereo

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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