Audio history: Peter Clark of Magnetic Sound Industries #Recording #Australia #Sound

Peter Clark has an incredible story to tell. Born in 1922 in England, he lived through the years leading up to World War II.

Life was hard but simple. Along came WW2 and upset most people’s plans in Europe and the UK. Peter joined the RAF and prepared Spitfire aircraft for battle in a front line squadron during the Battle of Britain. Afterwards, he was moved to a bomber squadron where he worked as a flight mechanic and then flew in bombers as a Flight Engineer. Suffering a crash towards the end of the war, he was grounded. After WW2, he took his discharge in Australia and began the odd job, one of which introduced him to a “Wire Recorder”. Wire recorders were developed during WW2 and used by Hitler to make speeches that were broadcast after he had completed them, frustrating the Allies as to where he was.

In post war Australia, Peter recognized the potential of the Wire Recorder and started a business called “Magnetic Sound Industries”. He believes he was the first to sell them in Australia and recorded politicians in parliament, including Sir Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia at the time. He recorded live gigs/talent shows at a famous haunt known as “Stone’s Milk Bar in Coogee” which included many celebrities, up and coming and seasoned performers. From these wire recordings, he cut 78, acetate recordings, and sold these as records for 10 Shillings a pop!

When tape recorders came in, Peter Clark sold those through his shop in George St, Sydney. Everybody wanted one at the time and Wire Recorders quickly fell out of favour. Later, he expanded to record players, audio accessories, microphones and HiFi systems.

Peter had been advised by a local advertising executive, that he should use his name and face to personalize his business, so very often he placed ads in “Radio and Hobbies” magazine, local papers and on local TV which announced products at “Peter Clark of Magnetic Sound Industries”, featuring a portrait of Peter smiling broadly. Dick was heavily influenced by this and created his own version, which became synonymous with his business, using both his name and face to advertise.

After a lengthy reign at the top, retailing wire and tape recorders, HiFi and all their accessories, wholesalers waged a heavy campaign in competition and in 1978 Peter finally closed his doors in York St Sydney. Instead, he started a new business in Queensland called “Gold Coast TV Advertising Network” which he ran until his death in 2021.

See the video below:

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