Clairtone: Vintage Canadian Hi-Fi
By James Grahame
DC Hiller and Daniel LeBlanc recently let us know about their site dedicated to the beautiful Clairtone Project G series. Clairtone was founded in 1958 by serial entrepreneur Peter Munk and designer David Gilmour. The elegant Project G stereos cemented the Canadian company at the forefront of industrial design in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, the company's expensive designs carried high production costs, and the company faltered in the late 1960s after an expensive attempt to get in on the ground floor of the color television market.
Hiller and LeBlanc eloquently explain the Clairtone allure, "In the sixties, Clairtone’s Project G stereo was the epitome of bachelor pad cool. It transformed the traditional console box by cantilevering its speakers outside the Scandinavian-style modern cabinet. It won a silver medal at the 1964 Milan Triennale, the international design industry’s most prestigious exhibition, and was adopted by progressives within the arts and entertainment community.
Frank Sinatra endorsed it, and G series models appeared in films such as The Graduate with Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman and A Fine Madness with Sean Connery. Hugh Hefner bought a unit for the Playboy Mansion and jazz legend Oscar Peterson claimed that his music sounded as good on a Project G as it did live."
Incidentally, a number of their photos appear in Nina Munk's book The Art of Clairtone: The Making of a Design Icon, including the cover image.
Clairtone: When innovation was in style and Canada was in vogue