Birmingham Sound Reproducers

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Birmingham Sound Reproducers was a British manufacturer of record player turntables.

Daniel McLean McDonald founded Birmingham Sound Reproducers as a private company in 1932 in the West Midlands of England, UK. By 1947, the company chiefly manufactured communications sets (intercoms), laboratory test equipment, and sound recording and reproducing instruments, including phonographs.

In the early 1950s, Samuel Margolin began buying auto-changing turntables from BSR, using them as the basis of his Dansette record player.[1] Over the next twenty years, Margolin manufactured more than a million of these players, and “Dansette” became a household word in Britain.

In 1957, BSR, also known by the name BSR McDonald, became a public company and, by 1961, had grown to employ 2,600 workers. In addition to manufacturing their own brand of player—the Monarch Automatic Record Changer that could select and play 7", 10" and 12" records at 3313, 45 or 78 rpm, changing automatically between the various settings of disc sizes only, speeds were changed Manually[2]—BSR McDonald supplied turntables and autochangers to most of the world’s record player manufacturers, eventually gaining 87% of the market. By 1977, BSR’s various factories produced over 250,000 units a week.[2]

Changing times and technology hit BSR hard in the early 1980s. Although BSR McDonald produced tape recording decks in addition to their widely used turntables and changers, consumers had begun to expect portability from their music players, and BSR were not prepared to compete with eight-track and cassette tape players or later, the groundbreaking Walkman from Japan. In the first five years of the 1980s, once-mighty BSR closed factories and made thousands of workers redundant.

During the 1980s BSR manufactured the Rotronics Wafadrive for the ZX Spectrum range of computers.

After producing their last turntable in 1985, BSR McDonald closed all divisions except for Astec Power Supply, as well as keeping investments in various entities, including dbx, X10, BSR Housewares (the latter sold to the French small electrical appliances and kitchen equipment manufacturer Moulinex).

BSR then moved its head office to Hong Kong, as Astec(BSR) plc, and continued in Hong Kong until 1998, when Astec(BSR) plc was 100% acquired by Emerson Electric Company (NYSE: EMR).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dansette record players from our collection". 2000-04-18. Retrieved 2012-02-21. 
  2. ^ a b "Busy scenes at the BSR works". Black Country Bugle. 2008-01-31. Archived from the original on 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2012-02-21.