1911 was a year full of firsts. Man first reached the South Pole when Roald Amundsen made landfall on the Ross Ice Shelf. The first Indianapolis 500 was won by Ray Harroun. Machu Picchu was rediscovered and man once again walked through the halls of the great Incan citadel. It was also the beginning of Perpetuum, a small company from Black Forest in Germany, a company that would go on to do great things.
Perpetuum is deeply established in audio’s roots, dating back to 1907 when Joseph Steidinger and his brother Christian began engineering and manufacturing parts for clocks. Clock making has an association with turntable design and it makes perfect sense: if the clock doesn’t keep good time, you’re late for the train or the train is late for you. In much the same way, if a turntable doesn’t keep good time, the music is out of pitch or worse. Both require precision parts and engineering in order to perform. There is no margin for error.
After the premature passing of Perpetuum’s founder Joseph Steidinger, the company was purchased in 1935 by Albert Ebner and became Perpetuum-Ebner, the brand we know today. Herr Ebner guided Perpetuum-Ebner through the post war boom to become the largest turntable manufacturer in Europe, producing up to 5,000 a day!
In the early 1970’s Perpetuum-Ebner saw more change when they merged with their rival Dual and the brand was eventually absorbed. But like other famous items that have receded or gone on hiatus, such as Bugatti, Levis, Apple, Polaroid or mechanical wristwatches, what’s old is new again.