Tannoy Ltd is a Scotland-based manufacturer of loudspeakers and public-address (PA) systems. The company was founded by Guy Fountain in London, England as Tulsemere Manufacturing Company in 1926, but has been based in Coatbridge, Scotland, since the 1970s. Since 2002 it has been a part of the Danish-based TC Group (TC Electronic, TC-Helicon, Lab.gruppen, Lake, TC Applied Technologies and White Acoustics).
The name Tannoy is a syllabic abbreviation of tantalum alloy, which was the material used in a type of electrolytic rectifier developed by the company. The brand had been trademarked by 10 March 1932, on which date the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company was formally registered as Guy R. Fountain Limited.
It became a household name as a result of supplying PA systems to the armed forces during World War II, and to Butlins and Pontins holiday camps after the war. This usage is current as of mid-2010. Tannoy is famous for its ‘Dual Concentric’ speaker design which places the tweeter behind the centre of the medium or bass driver. ‘Dual Concentric’ is a trademark although Tannoy is not the only speaker manufacturer to design coaxial speakers.
Tannoy’s image is particularly linked to studio monitors on the one hand and its Prestige range of home speakers on the other. Prestige speakers use Dual Concentric cone speakers and are easily recognisable by their ‘vintage’ design.
The term ‘tannoy’ is often used generically in colloquial English throughout the British Commonwealth to mean any public-address system or even as a verb — to «tannoy», particularly those used for announcements in public places; although the word is a registered trademark, it has become a genericised trademark. The company’s intellectual property department keeps a close eye on the media and will often write to publications that use its trade name without a capital letter or as a generic term for PA systems, in order to preserve its trademark.
Home and Studio speakers: