View Full Version : Altec Iconic-history question?

07-26-2005, 08:21 PM
Hi, first off Im new here posting but have visited off and on. I purchased a nice pair of Altec Iconics a month or so ago and have been enjoying them very much.
Maybe someone here can help me with the history of Altec/Iconic.
Is my speaker a Altec or a Iconic or both? (dumb question but Im a little confused)
It looks exactly like a valencia but is badged Iconic. As you can see the grille fabric is not original but everything else is stock.
1-15" 416-16Z woofer, with a 811 horn with 806A driver

All thoughts and comments appreciated


07-27-2005, 12:35 PM
Iconic was a brand name used when Ling LTV had financial interest in the company.

Do a search on this forum and you should find plenty of Altec history to read up on.

I just remembered this part off the top of my head!


07-27-2005, 01:33 PM
A check of the Altec library will give you some history of the Iconics. The '42 and '43 catalogs show two systems labeled Iconic. Moving forward to the '71 Home catalog shows three systems using the old components from the Iconic speakers, the 846A Valencia, the 848A Flamenco, and the 871A Milano. What happened in between these times I do not know, but Altec obviously built some of at least the Flamenco and Valencia with labels on the rear panels claiming them to be Iconic. By 1971, the term Iconic was not in vogue, and when I bought my first pair in 1967, they were not so identified. Two pairs I bought from sellers on E-Bay had Iconic identification on the rear panel, so they had to have been earlier manufacture than the 1967 guys. What does Iconic mean? My dictionary says 1.Of, relating to, or having the character of an icon. 2.Having a conventional formulaic style. Used of certian memorial statues and busts. I am not sure why Altec called them Iconic, but they sold enough of them that they surely couldn't be labeled busts. They might have sold just as well had they been called Dyspeptics.

And by the way, welcome to the Lansing Heritage Forum. A great place to be.

Steve Schell
07-27-2005, 03:51 PM
Jim Lansing coined the term Iconic in 1937 for his new two way monitor speaker system. You can read Don's article on the Iconic here:


When Lansing Manufacturing Company became Altec Lansing Corporation in 1941, production of Iconics in both utility and furniture dress continued. Altec retired the term for several years when the 604 Duplex speaker housed in the Iconic's utility cabinet became their standard monitor. They reprimanded Jim Lansing in 1946 though, when he began using the term on the products of his new company, which became JBL. Altec quickly filed for a trademark on both the term and their somewhat strange graphic identity and received it in 1947.

Altec labeled their two way, 800Hz. crossover home speakers as Iconic sporadically over many years. Mostly they were capitalizing on the fame of the original Lansing Iconic, and in effect drawing attention to the fact that these systems were descendents of the 1937 original.

07-27-2005, 07:23 PM
Thanks for the welcome,

I think the source of my confusion stemmed from the idea that the Iconic was not model but a manufacture. As in "Iconic" owned the Altec name for a time.
Now I get it! Thanks for clearing that up.

And Jack, I believe that we spoke on another forum site in regard to Valencia grilles. How ya doing? I think Im going to stick with what I have for now but its nice to know that there are options available.


Don McRitchie
07-28-2005, 04:26 PM
That's not quite right. Iconic was a trade name owned by Altec after the purchase of Lansing Manufacturing. It was most commonly applied to their home speakers that used a 803 or 416 bass driver in a bass reflex enclosure, an 806 compression driver, an 811 horn, and an 800hz cross-over. I believe that when the Valencia was introduced it was called the "Iconic Valencia", which was later just shortened to Valencia.

07-31-2005, 07:23 AM
Well Don, They (Altec) dont make it easy on a guy, long and storied history for sure. Is there a way to identify these to a year of manfacture or approximation.

One thing is for sure, these are one of the most enjoyable additions to my audio lineup in some time!:)