Vintage Theater Plaque

Display Western Electric pride in Your Theater


Show your pride by displaying one (or more!) Western Electric® Theater Plaques. They were in theaters letting patrons know the theater was equipped with 1933’s Western Electric Wide Range Sound System. The history of movie technology and WE is well represented in “Dream Machines, Projection and Sound Systems Part One and Part Two".

The following excerpt from the Grauman’s Chinese Theater website, provides a brief behind-the-scenes glimpse of Western Electric’s Wide Range Sound System:

“While the camera engineers were fiddling with 70mm, audio engineers were doing what they could to improve movie sound. Western Electric began with trying to improve the range of frequencies which could be recorded during production. Beginning with the film Rain (which played the Chinese in 1932), the "Wide Range" system was employed, where only moving-coil microphones were used on set, with the signals being divided according to low, medium and high frequencies, processed individually, then recombined for recording on film.”

“As the recording of sound itself improved, there was also a focus to improve the sound quality heard in the theatre. The Chinese only had the 12-A loudspeaker array trying to replicate the entire frequency range, but it was not doing a terrifically efficient job with the high or low range.”

“To help with this, the first forms of equalization were brought to the amplifiers. We know this today as "bass" and "treble" control. It was now possible to fiddle with these two controls until the soundtrack sounded — better.”



18” (45.8 cm) W x 12” (30.5 cm) H

2 lbs (.92 kg)