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Company history

Dr. Wilhelm Küsters, the first employee - a remarkable technician
Dr. Karl Schoeps, Founder and former business manager of the company

The company known as “Schall­technik Dr.-Ing. SCHOEPS” was founded in June, 1948; the precise date is not recorded. In the period fol­lowing the war, business prac­tices weren’t reg­u­lated as closely as they are today. During those years, people were con­cerned mainly with procuring and securing the means of survival; thus the first official entry in the business register of the chamber of commerce of Karl­sruhe occurs only in 1956. It is not shown yet as an incor­po­rated entity; that occurred only later, in 1978. The place of the company’s founding was Durlach, the oldest neigh­borhood of the ciry of Karl­sruhe, where the company still has its home. The founder was Dr.-Ing. Karl Schoeps (b. 1906), and his first co-​worker was Dr.-Ing. Wilhelm Küsters (b. 1910). Both had com­pleted their studies in Infor­mation Tech­nology at the Tech­nical College of Karlsruhe.

The name, which is somewhat unusual for a man­u­fac­turer (“Schall­technik” = audio tech­nology), stems from the original intention to be con­cerned with all aspects of sound recording and public address systems in general. At the time the company was founded, the German pop­u­lation had a great need for enter­tainment, which could not yet, of course, be met with video recorders or home theater systems. The cinema was foremost; films with sound thus expe­ri­enced their first great period of growth, and at the SCHOEPS company, plans were being made for cinema sound instal­la­tions. Beyond that, the company was con­cerned (in private apart­ments at first, and later in a rented building) with con­structing small quan­tities of tape recorders. But already in its first year, the company also built the first SCHOEPS con­denser micro­phone, the CMV 50/​2 (con­taining two of the well-​known RV 12 P 2000 vacuum tubes). The capsule and the micro­phone body (whose size, unimag­inable in today’s con­di­tions, was ca. 13″ tall and 3″ in diameter), were still con­nected together in a fixed manner.

During its first twenty years, the SCHOEPS company had prac­ti­cally no dis­tri­b­ution network of its own. Despite this, the circle of its clients grew steadily larger. Due to Dr. Schoeps’ friendship with a com­mercial rep­re­sen­tative in France who had excellent contacts among French radio broad­casters, a con­sid­erable market position (which still endures today) could already be achieved there in the 1950s. Far more than half of SCHOEPS pro­duction at that time was exported to France.

Read on in part 2 »