The Story of
Franklin Park, IL
"Bill" Grommes founded Grommes~Precision Electronics, Inc.
in March of 1946. For more than six years Grommes~Precision called the
corner of Milwaukee and Erie in Chicago its own.
Began as a company that designed and manufactured
signal tracers, Grommes~Precision soon evolved into consumer audio. [See
the Model 202
Signal Tracer Review.]
The name "Grommes" was adopted specifically for
Grommes~Precision Electronics' line of consumer hi-fi products.
Lead by chief engineer and audiophile, Al
Grommes became a pioneer in high-fidelity. The Grommes line started with
mono block tube amplifiers, but soon evolved into pre-amplifiers,
integrated amplifiers, stereo amplifiers, and tuners. Demand for quality
high-fidelity amplifiers grew substantially and in 1952, Grommes~Precision
moved its operations to Franklin Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
By 1955, Life Magazine declared Grommes one of the best buys in
hi-fidelity. Not only for its 55PG amplifier, but also it's LJ-3
"Little Jewel" tube amplifier kit.
By far, one of Grommes' most popular products was the "Little
Genie" and "Little Jewel" build-it-yourself tube amplifier
kits. The kits came with a full-color instruction guide and all the parts
one needed to build their own 10 watt tube amplifier. It was "So
simple...it's like magic." To this day, many an audio engineer claim
they first got the "audio bug" from assembling their own Little
Genie kit. Others sometimes got even more...
Magazine--February 28, 1955
Photo above taken from page 99.
a review of the "Little Jewel" LJ-6K.
As one customer writes:
"As an engineering
student in the late fifties, I was introduced to a young nurse who
wanted to buy a 'Hi-Fi' with her Christmas bonus check and wanted the
best system she could get for her money. I helped her assemble a
component set with the first LJ-5 at its heart.
About a year later she contacted me with the question 'Could the set be
modified to play stereo records?' That led to the purchase of the second
LJ-5 and with a new phono cartridge and additional speaker we created
Well, one thing led to another and she eventually married me and got a
lifetime guarantee on her stereo!"
In 1959, an audiophile amplifier favorite was born. Loved for its honest and
warm replication of music, and well-respected for Al Hart's high-fidelity design,
the 260A was hailed
as "one of the finest power amplifiers made, by virtue of its rugged,
conservative construction, and remarkably low distortion." To
this day, it is many an audiophile's favorite. [Check out the 260A
Limited Reissue available now!]
"...the Grommes 260A
emerges as one of the finest power amplifiers made, by virtue of
its rugged, conservative construction, and remarkably low
Laboratories and the technical staff of High Fidelity [Read
the 260A HF Reports Review]
the 1960's and into the 1970's Grommes continued to supply the
high-fidelity consumer market with quality products. Slogans such as
"The Best Buy in Hi-Fi," "The Finest in
High-Fidelity," and "Music At Its Best" reinforced the
quality and hand-workmanship that went into every Grommes product.
By the 1970's
Grommes~Precision expanded into the commercial and industrial audio market
and slowly moved out of the consumer market. Throughout the late 1970's
and into the present, Grommes~Precision's primary focus has been it's
Precision Electronics division which specializes in industrial and
commercial sound applications and its Precision Custom division, which
specializes in private labeling, custom audio applications, and audio
Now in 2002, Grommes~Precision is returning to
its roots, revisiting the high-fidelity designs that made it a household
name in consumer audio and re-entering the high-end consumer audio
Grommes is determined to be true to our original mission: to make Grommes
fidelity high-fidelity at its finest. With our chief engineer and
audiophile Alan Kimmel at the helm, Grommes plans to introduce a range of
new tube products worthy of the name Grommes...
Chicago Mayor Daley (left)
presenting Bill Grommes (right) with a Pioneer in High Fidelity Award.
Grommes was one of the first to develop high- fidelity.
...and most importantly,
worthy enough to make both Bill
and Al proud.
Manufacturers of High
Fidelity Board Meeting Photo, 1956. Bill Grommes is seen standing in the
corner on the left. Board Chairman: Avery Fisher. President: George Silber.