View Full Version : Hartsfield ID and questions

10-04-2009, 01:56 PM

I picked up a couple of speakers over the weekend and would like to get
identification help. One of the speakers appears to be a Seeburg DDS1 “discotheque”
speaker. The other looked familiar from my reading of this forum over the
years and after looking at various pictures, I suspected it to be a JBL

Bought the speakers from the owner this weekend. The owner’s father was a
jukebox service guy and both speakers came from his business. I am
attaching a couple photos of the possible Hartsfield and would appreciate
input. The speaker’s veneer was apparently damaged c. 1960 and the owner
replaced it with formica. From looking at the JBL serial number registry,
it looks like the 375 dates to 1954 or 55.

My questions:

Is this a Hartsfield and is the cabinet a factory cabinet?

I assume it's a sure thing that the woofer will need to have its surround redone. What’s the best way to open the cabinet to get access?

I’d like to replace the speaker’s veneer – what wood would be appropriate
for this vintage? I’ve read Saeman’s great postings on veneer work and I’m
wondering if a non-skilled person (my carpentry generally is in the form
of sanding and screwing together plywood) could do a worthy job for a
pretty, old speaker like this?

Finally, here can I find cabinet plans? I’d like to repair the speaker’s
base and would like to do so in the correct fashion.

I appreciate any help with this and sorry to have my first post so filled
with questions. Having a hard time with the wife on this – we’ve already
got a pair of C60 Sovereigns in the house, and this formica covered giant
in the living room is not a hit so far (hoping the veneer will help on the



10-04-2009, 07:24 PM
Comparing it to the early literature:http://www.lansingheritage.org/html/jbl/specs/home-speakers/1954-hartsfield.htm

I (http://www.lansingheritage.org/html/jbl/specs/home-speakers/1954-hartsfield.htm...I) would say that it is a Hartsfield in the original cabinet. Others would know better than I...particularly an owner, as to the original veneer.

Steve Schell
10-05-2009, 08:49 AM
Looks to me to be an original Hartsfield built in 1955 judging from the serial number on the dividing network. The 375 serial number seems consistent with this. It has spent time in a damaging moist environment, but appears to be all there. Score!

Repair of the cabinet would be an advanced project for someone with good veneering skills. Count me out! The woofer might be okay, as it lives in a protected position inside. Not sure of how to get at it, but there's got to be a way.

The Seeburg disco systems I've seen used a gold painted Altec horn and driver and a pair of floppy cone 15" woofers sourced from Utah. These systems weren't about accuracy as much as they were about level... thump, thump.

10-05-2009, 10:14 AM
Could be my imagination, but I thought that at least some of the Seeburg
Disco cabs were outfitted with a pair of Altec 414's. :dont-know Certainly worth
a look and an ID anyway.

Woody Banks
10-05-2009, 11:34 AM
Wow! What a score. This is from the same era as a pair that sold recently for $34,100 on ebay

I believe in order to reach the woofer from these drop in style cabinets you will have to start by removing the two panels on the rear on each side of the 375. You should now be able to lift the top off of the cabinet. The 375 will be the next to be removed. The woofer should be located below the panel where the 375 was positioned. Just my guess.:D

10-05-2009, 04:22 PM
Wow, thanks for all the great responses. Have to say I'm a little overwhelmed/anxious now. I knew that the Hartsfields were desirable speakers, having read enough on JBL history over the years and having looked around the web when I found the speaker, but...

Beowulf & Steve S.: thanks for help on the I.D., with the raw cabinet back, I wasn't sure if this was a factory produced example or home-built.

grumpy: thanks for the tip. took off what seemed to be about 20 screws to remove the Seeburg's back and unfortunately the speaker has the 2 Utah 15's (though I'm still excited to hear it). the horn and driver are respectively an Altec H 811-B and an 806A. Still a good looking speaker in a funky way. I was thinking of using this as a garage shop/patio speaker by putting it on casters to move around. I'm wondering if this is a bad idea in a non-climate controlled space subject to Minnesota's wild climate swings.

Woody: thanks for the advice on accessing the woofer. but then with numbers like you site, I start to get nervous about touching a screw. I realize that without the original veneer, and less than ideal storage conditions over the years (I assume), this speaker isn't in the league of a pristine example. still, even with nice speakers already - my Sovereigns and a pair of Lowthers - this makes me sweat a bit.

I'd still like to figure out appropriate veneer (and thanks, Steve, I agree that this is a job for a pro/high-level amateur). I've always loved the wood on Paragons, but as a mid-50's speaker this probably calls for something different? Also, can anyone tell me what kind of grille cloth would be correct and where I might source it?

Thanks for all the help on this guys, appreciate it.

Harvey Gerst
10-05-2009, 07:19 PM
Based on these pictures, I'd hafta say it was a Hartsfield built from available plans, but not a factory Hartsfield. Too many little details askew.

10-05-2009, 08:09 PM
Based on these pictures, I'd hafta say it was a Hartsfield built from available plans, but not a factory Hartsfield. Too many little details askew.
That was my thought too but unlike you I'm no expert.

EDIT *I think I was thrown off by the bad re-veneer job. I have to now agree it's a factory cabinet.
In my opinion the re-veneer makes the point almost moot because any value the original cabinet had over a repro is lost due to condition.

10-05-2009, 09:17 PM
Harvey and Tom,

Can you tell me what indications you are seeing?

Harvey Gerst
10-05-2009, 09:27 PM
The wood cuts are irregular andjoints are sloppy plus verneers don't. Line up

10-05-2009, 09:40 PM

The veneers are formica applied by the original owner after the original veneer was damaged. The joints (from the limited images available) look identical (to my unpracticed eye) to those on the Ebay pair that sold recently:


Thanks for looking.

10-05-2009, 11:06 PM
I believe its a factory Hartsfield and not a kit.

The routing orifices over the crossover wiring,the style of wire,the stright line of nails across the rear section and the type of the dried adhesive on the rear used all are signs of a factory prepped Hartsfields.

A count of the top cavety hold down screws would tell if its an early unit.

I would have to look in my notes for the number but the early units had a few extra hold down screws that were deleted in the 55 units.

The only oddity that I see is the serial number of the crossover is not in alignment for a 54/55 unit.

It has had the grill cloth replaced sometime over its lifetime.

I may have enough of the correct grill cloth to cover a unit.I"ll look and send you a P.M. if I have enough material.

While a valuable unit ,its value will be compromised once it has been cosmetically redone.Unfortunatley in its present condition it has already suffered a decrease in its value.

I would either sell it as is or rebuild it as a keeper for yourself and not worry about its value.

Congradulations :applaud::applaud::applaud:


Harvey Gerst
10-06-2009, 04:34 AM
Sorry, I disagree. If you were to go back to those days on Fletcher Drive. the cabinet shop was in a quanset hut at the end of the block, next to the LA River. We would later expand the cabinet shop to a building across the street.

But if you walked in to either place, there was one thing that stood out: dozens of router jigs. If something needed to be cut, there was a jig for it.

That opening for the crossover was cut by hand, not with a jig.

10-06-2009, 06:00 AM

Have you had a chance to look at the Ebay Hartsfields Woody posted?:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250488800379&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

It's hard to tell from the provided photos (I've asked the seller for the additional photos he says he has), but the crossover cutout appears to have a flare in the upper right crossover cutout that is identical to mine.

Again, thank you.

10-06-2009, 06:38 AM
To my eyes there is a bit of sloppy work on the black backed ebay unit: bottom right corner of the crossover cutout where the screw on the crossover doesn't quite seem to clear the cutout. On your unit at that same area, the screw also doesn't clear the cutout cleanly. We've got to get these cabinets out of the shop...stat?

10-06-2009, 07:19 AM
Thanks, B. The cutout and screw overlaps also appear identical to the other Hartsfield that recently sold on the bay:


I'm starting to feel like one of those guys at a party that won't shut up about his hobby horse. Esp. for my first posts on the forum. Time to work, I'll post images when I draw up the time and will to open up the cabinet to access the woofer.

Woody Banks
10-06-2009, 08:02 AM
Woody: thanks for the advice on accessing the woofer. but then with numbers like you site, I start to get nervous about touching a screw.

Just take your time and don't poke any holes in the woofer cone. The whole thing is put together with screws and wooden dowels. Come on, you can do it! ;)

10-06-2009, 08:41 AM
To my eyes there is a bit of sloppy work on the black backed ebay unit:

"We've got to get these cabinets out of the shop...stat?"

Exactly :banghead:

With GREAT respect to Harvey,the many Hartsfields that I have owned and had apart all show a reasonable degree of mass production differences.

Some have had construction values that are very nice and others that may have been put together with a hangover.

Harvey and I may disagree but we both love JBL and THAT will be a constant ;)