An Interview with Paul Penfield Jr.


Oral History – Paul Penfield Jr.



Events didn’t work out that way.  By the time the series was done, Audiocraft was on the ropes and did not survive as a magazine for very long after my series was done.  So there really wasn’t the ability to take the material and turn it into a book.  I did get some book offers at the time, but that was 1960 and I was just getting my doctorate degree then, and I figured that this was part of my past life, and not part of my future life, so I didn’t really follow through on any of that. 


When you started writing the transistor articles in 1954, had you any previous training in writing or was this an innate skill?


I don’t have a clue about how to answer that question.  I just sat down and consciously tried for a “straight from the shoulder” approach.  In other words, what is it that I wanted to say, say what you want to say, say it, and say what you said. This combination sets the stage and then you just go ahead and do it.  You assume that the other person wants to learn, and wants to read it – it works pretty well.   I don’t have any secrets about how to write well, (if I do write well), but I certainly wrote and sold a number of these articles, made some money, and wrote through my whole career.  



Go To Penfield Oral History, Page 7





Oral History – Paul Penfield Jr.



The above photo is a stylized version of the cover of the April 1956 issue of Audiocraft magazine.  Paul’s article, “Transistors in Transition”, was featured and provided readers with an excellent overview of the rapidly changing status of transistor technology and discussed performance limitations that prevented the use of transistors in high fidelity equipment.   This was a very timely article, because the first commercial transistorized high quality audio product was introduced for sale this same month.  The product was a 3-transistor phono preamp developed by Fisher Radio Corporation.  This article was Paul’s first for Audiocraft, and marked the beginning of a long relationship spanning two years and more than 20 classic articles on transistor audio.   Paul was introduced in this first article as “A consulting engineer, Mr. Penfield has certainly given a distortion-free analysis of the present and future status of transistors in audio”.



COPYRIGHT © 2003 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.