Few companies' products have such a profound impact on our lives that their names enter the dictionary as generic descriptions for their inventions. There are notable exceptions such as Biro, for its ballpoint pen and Hoover for its vacuum cleaner. But in the audio field, Tannoy stands alone for its success in developing early public address systems and then continuing its reputation for pioneering audio solutions. The word Tannoy is synonymous with sound, appearing in the dictionary as: 'a communications system with loudspeakers, used for making announcements in public buildings.' The phrase 'Over the Tannoy' is universally used to describe a PA announcement.
Tannoy is one of the oldest and most prestigious audio brands in the world, having been founded as the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company back in 1926. The name originates from a solid-state rectifier invented by company founder, Guy Fountain, made from an alloy or mixture of Tantalum and Lead. This Tantalum-Lead Alloy was the basis of the now world famous brand name of Tannoy.