We love to dig into history and for Turner Microphones, it seems the history of their start began where dead people go.
Around 1925 in the town of Cedar Rapids, there was a mortician named David Turner. Often during funerals, mourners would fill his dad’s funeral parlor beyond capacity. At some point an idea came to mind and David urged his father to purchase some type of PA (Public Address) system to be used during funeral proceedings. By using the PA system, regardless of how many people attended, everyone would be able to hear what the minister was saying. Around 1931, the Turner’s started to manufacture their own PA systems. Soon after David developed a pressure system for embalming fluid. This new system replaced the old fashioned gravity flow system. Sort of a weird bed fellows, pressurized embalming systems and PA systems. None the less the company really started to take off. By the mid 50’s the company was in full swing and hit it’s peak in the 1970’s when the CB craze hit the market. Unluckily for the Turners, the gamble that this market would grow didn’t pay off and the company eventually had to sell it’s assets and went out of business in 1979.
Two common letters are used in many of the Turner microphones. The letter X stands for Crystal and the letter D stands for Dynamic. So for example 22X or 34X means the microphone is a crystal or piezo microphone. 22D or 34D means the microphone is a dynamic microphone.
While many microphones were rather boring looking in the 40’s and 50’s, the Turner microphones were stunning. They had neat lines that made them exciting to look at and now have become sought after art deco pieces. They sort of remind me of the Cylon troopers from Battlestar Galactica, with the fin looking tops.
Recently we received a really cool Turner 22X microphone. It was sitting on an adjustable EMCO microphone stand and looks exactly like the one above. Couldn’t find much on EMCO, but the microphone came from New York, so maybe EMCO was there. Both the microphone and stand are probably from the 40’s.
I did find out that “S” means switch for Turner. So a 33X with a switch would be S33X, where the “S” means switch or has a switch. You will find both non-switch and switch versions for the 22, 33 and 34. X means Crystal and D means Dynamic. A 34X is a crystal microphone and a 33D is a dynamic microphone. The Dynamic microphones were more expensive and tended to perform better. Turner made both dynamic and crystal microphones for the 22 and 33. I believe the 34X was the only one not to have a 34D dynamic counterpart.
Probably the most sought after microphone in the Turner line is the 34X. It has fantastic lines and is immediately recognizable with it’s jutting out head. Another one that I haven’t mentioned is the Turner 101 Cardioid microphone. It was the most expensive of the lineup and had the best overall recording quality.
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