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Ever curious about the history of old mics, we asked Wes Dooley of Audio Engineering Associates about the connection between STC and Coles Electroacoustics, since both companies have offered some of the same microphones for sale over the years. Here is Mr. Dooley’s response.

Colin and Les (thus the CoLes) had worked for STC as toolmakers, then started their own shop. At some point in the mid 1970s STC jobbed out mic production to Coles. Two years later they decided that mics made no money and were going to discontinue them. Colin and Les bought the tooling that was already at their shop, plus the rights to whatever they needed, and continued manufacturing under the Coles name.

Following the receipt of Mr. Dooley’s observations, we had the good fortune of hearing from Mr. Steve Beanland of Coles Electroacoustics. Here are his words.

Coles was founded in 1964. We were two chaps with one lathe in a garage in Harlow and we made anything that we could sell at a profit. It was only a matter of months before we moved to a 400 sq ft factory annexe and took on two men a year later. During this period we moved from general engineering to a degree of specialization in amplifiers.

At the end of 1969 we had the opportunity of developing a piece of industrial land in Hoddesdon, far too big for our needs at the time, but offered at attractive terms. We built a small factory of 2000 sq ft, which left most of the land still available for future expansion. After two years, we added 2000 sq ft and soon after that another 1000 sq ft of office block as well.

The most significant development took place in 1972 when we had the chance of manufacturing top quality acoustic equipment under license for STC—the gigantic Standard Telephones and Cables Limited—which was a kind of success story in its own right.

We took on all their staff, tooling, expertise and experience and moved the production from Harlow to our new factory in Hoddesdon. This was also a quite exceptional piece of luck because when STC, two years later, decided to give up marketing this equipment, we bought all the manufacturing rights and patents and took over their market.

We have now added another 5000 sq ft to the factory and have further extended the markets overseas and have continued to improve existing products and develop new ones.

Best regards,
Steve Beanland

Coles Electroacoustics Ltd
Pindar Road

Downloads of these brochures are available as follows. Click on the image of your choice above, or on the link below. Each brochure is a color PDF with its pages at the original size of 8¼ × 11¾ inches, published by Standard Telephones and Cables Limited. The January 1963 Retail Price List and the original mailing envelope image are available only from the list of links below.

An Introduction to Microphones

The STC 4021 Moving Coil Microphone

The STC 4032 Hand Microphone

The STC 4033-A Cardioid Microphone

The STC 4035 Microphone

The STC 4037 Moving Coil Microphone

The STC 4038 Ribbon Microphone

The STC 4104 Noise-Cancelling Microphone

The STC 4105 Cardioid Microphone

The STC 4106 Cardioid Microphone

The STC 4108 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Accessories for use with STC Microphones

The STC January 14, 1963 Retail Price List

The original postal envelope

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Introduction 4021 4032 4033a 4035 4037 4038 4104 4105 4106 4108 Accessories