Vlad Savov for The Verge takes a tour of The Bang and Olufsen Museum in Denmark. From the first components to elegant radios, all the way to the $90,000 speakers of present day, the museum covers it all.
Founded in November of 1925, Bang & Olufsen is now 91 years old and one of the most respected names in the world of home electronics. This Danish company has boutiques selling its prestigious hardware all across the globe, serving mostly a clientele that doesn’t blink at four- and five-figure prices for speakers and wall-sized TVs. But its beginnings were nowhere near as glamorous or luxurious, as I found out on a recent visit to the Bang & Olufsen museum in Struer, Denmark. The B&O we know today got its start as a collaboration between two young men, only instead of the now clichéd garage, they used a farmhouse attic as their initial base of operations. And before all the glorious TVs and exotic speakers, it all started with the design and production of radios.
The very earliest Bang & Olufsen product was actually a component rather than a full-fledged radio. The Eliminator, as it was called, made batteries unnecessary and allowed you to plug your radio directly into the mains. A couple of years after the Eliminator’s introduction, Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen moved their work out of the Olufsen family farm and into a factory in the nearby town of Struer in northwest Denmark. This is where the main B&O manufacturing facilities remain to this day.
In terms of their design inspiration, these first B&O radios were like the original skeuomorphic iPhone OS of their time. They adapted the styling of familiar pieces of home furniture to their technological purposes.