Shure Timeline: Milestones From 1925 To 2000
A look at the wealth of achievements of one of the most successful and longest enduring in professional audio.

January 06, 2008, by Keith Clark


1925: Shure Radio Company is founded on April 25 by Sidney N. Shure as a one-man company selling radio parts kits before factory-built radio sets were marketed. Office is located at 19 South Wells Street in downtown Chicago.

1926: A direct mail catalog is published, one of only six radio parts catalogs in the U.S.

1928: Shure grows to more than 75 employees. Sidney N. Shure’s brother, Samuel J. Shure, joins the company. Shure Radio Company becomes Shure Brothers Company, moving to more spacious quarters at 335 West Madison Street, Chicago.

1929: The Great Depression grips the world. Market for radio parts kits declines when factory-built radio sets become available. Staff is reduced to a few people. Shure becomes exclusive distributor for a small microphone manufacturer.

1930: Samuel J. Shure leaves to pursue a career in heating and ventilation engineering, his college major, joining a prominent company in St. Louis, Missouri.

1931: Shure begins development of its own microphones under the direction of a young engineer named Ralph Glover.

An anechoic chamber at Shure, invaluable to the company’s R & D capabilities.

1932: Shure becomes one of only four U. S. microphone manufacturers with the introduction of the Model 33N two-button carbon microphone. It is the first lightweight, high-performance product in a market dominated by large, costly devices.

1933: Model 40D is the company’s first condenser microphone.

1935: Model 70 is Shure’s first crystal microphone.

1936: First patent is received for a stylish and practical suspension support system for microphones.

Producing a diverse assortment of mics.

1939: Model 55 Unidyne microphone is the first single-element unidirectional microphone. Its performance qualities and distinctive styling ultimately make it “the most recognized microphone in the world.” Notably, the single-element design makes microphones smaller, less expensive, and, therefore, more accessible to all.

1941: Shure secures contracts to supply microphones for U.S. armed forces in World War II.

1942: T-17B Microphone becomes the most widely used microphone by the U.S. Army and Navy. Shure develops plastic cases for these mics, preventing them from getting too hot to handle in tanks and, also, conserving scarce metal for the war effort.

1942-1944: T-30 throat microphone, HS-33 and HS-38 headset microphone, M-CI microphone for oxygen masks, and Battle Announce Microphone are all made for the military. Using T-30s, bomber crews could communicate over the noise inside the planes. Shure adopts strict military standards (MILSPEC) as the standard of reliability for all Shure microphones.

1946: Shure is the largest producer of phonograph cartridges in the U.S., supplying cartridges to major phonograph manufacturers, including Philco, RCA, Emerson, Magnavox, Admiral, and Motorola.

1946: Shure Brothers Company becomes Shure Brothers Incorporated.

Also in 1948, Harry S Truman celebrates his surprise election victory with Shure 55’s in the foreground.

1948: First phonograph cartridge capable of playing both long-playing (LP) and 78 rpm (revolutions per minute) records.

1951: Unidyne 55S is a smaller version of the Unidyne 55.

1952: First Shure ribbon microphone, Model 300.

1953: First wireless microphone system for performers, called the Vagabond. Powered by two hearing aid batteries, the system could transmit within a “performance circle” of approximately 700 square feet.

The familiar “mic of the presidents” – the SM57.

1954: M12 Dynetic Phono Reproducer is a tone arm/phono cartridge combination that set a new industry standard with its tracking force of only one gram.

First mobile communications microphone designed to also function as a loudspeaker.

1956: Shure moves from downtown Chicago to its present corporate headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.

1958: M3D phonograph cartridge is the world’s first cartridge to successfully meet performance requirements of stereo recording.

1959: Unidyne III microphone is the first high-quality unidirectional microphone that is used by speaking into the end (“end-firing”) rather than the side of the microphone. It was the predecessor to the SM57.

1965: SM57 dynamic microphone is rugged and reliable with a clean, natural sound. Into 2000, it continues to be the U.S. President’s lectern microphone.

1966: Shure SM58 (“SM” for “studio microphone”) is adopted by rock-and-roll musicians, who find it offers the right combination of rugged reliability and excellent sound quality; it becomes the standard for live performance vocals. V15 Type II, the first computer-designed phono cartridge, features superior tracking ability.

1967: Vocal Master, the first “portable total sound system,” includes a mixer, power amplifier, and loudspeakers.

1968: M67 portable mixer, designed for remote broadcast applications, enables journalists to cover stories live in the field.

1976: SM11 is the world’s smallest dynamic lavalier microphone.

1981: With Sidney N. Shure as chairman of the board, James Kogen, executive vice president, operations, is promoted to president and general manager.

1982: Shure opens a manufacturing facility in Wheeling, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

Remember the Vocal Master?

1983: Debut of FP31 mixer, weighing just 2.2 pounds. Easily attaches to Sony Betacam video cameras becoming the standard for news crews.

1983: Automatic Microphone System (AMS) is the first automatic mixer system using directional gating for installations utilizing multiple microphones.

1983: Manufacturing plant opens in Agua Prieta, Mexico, for production of phonograph cartridges.

1984: SM91 is the first unidirectional boundary-effect microphone.

Shure’s first DSP product, the DFR11EQ.

1984: Manufacturing plant opens in Juarez, Mexico, for production of wired microphones.

1985: Patented home theater sound system, the HTS5000, offers surround sound capabilities via a decoder.

1989: Introduction of Beta 58 and Beta 57 microphones with supercardioid polar pattern. Construction of a 60,000-square-foot microphone manufacturing facility expands capacity in Juarez, Mexico.

1990: Shure re-enters the wireless microphone market with the L Series.

1991: Office is opened in Heilbronn, Germany. Shure Europe GmbH provides sales, service, and support to Shure Distribution Centers in 34 European countries.

1994: A 30,000-square-foot plant is built in Agua Prieta, Mexico to expand the production of phonograph cartridges, communications microphones, headworn microphones, and transformers.

1995: Sidney N. Shure dies at the age of 93. Rose L. Shure is elected chairman of the board.

Clean, wholesome rock ‘n roll: Alice Cooper and his 58.

1996: James Kogen retires as president and CEO. Santo (Sandy) LaMantia, vice president of engineering, is named president and CEO.Shure markets its first digital signal processing (DSP) product, the DFR11EQ Digital Feedback Reducer.

1997: S. N. Shure Technology Center is dedicated, and Evanston, Illinois, proclaims April 25 as S. N. Shure Day. A portion of Brummel Place outside the building is renamed Shure Drive. PSM 600 Personal Stereo Monitor meets needs in fast-growing market for “in-ear” monitoring systems.

Recognize this guy? Or perhaps his Shure mic?

1999: KSM32 studio condenser microphone introduced and earns a place on “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno’s desk. Shure Brothers Incorporated is officially renamed Shure Incorporated. Shure Asia Limited is opened in Hong Kong to serve distribution centers and distributors throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim

2000: Shure Incorporated celebrates 75th anniversary. Shure Communications Incorporated is established, a subsidiary for automotive and mobile communications applications.

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Shure Timeline: Milestones From 1925 To 2000