Before bronzed, billionaire playboy presidents, the rust-belt and corrosive nationalism there was the American Dream, the idea that anyone with a positive attitude could be successful if they worked hard. At this time America not only aspired to be the best, but it built the best and did it all with brilliant style. This ethos not only made America truly great but also made the world a better, brighter place too.
Take ‘Sylvania Electric’ for example—they were a bigger tube manufacturer and more enduring than even the mighty RCA Corporation. The vintage Armstrong Radio Supply Company calendar shown above of epitomises the spirit of 1950s America. “Miss Sylvania” steps out from high society partying for a moment to take in the cool Manhattan evening air. In the background is the almost equally beautiful art-deco styled Sylvania building illuminated to state the significance of electrical lighting in the city that never sleeps.
Now the the reason I’m waxing lyrical about the American Dream and Sylvania Electric is that a huge proportion of Effectrode’s business in built on the afterglow, the last few burning embers of Sylvania’s vast and glorious empire. All our small pedals, such as the PC-2A compressor, ‘Fire Bottle’ boost, ‘Mercury’ fuzz and ‘Glass-A’ buffer utilise a Sylvania N.O.S. sub-miniature vacuum tube. We couldn’t have built these pedals without their fabulous mil-spec tubes.
So, each of these Effectrode effects pedals really do embody the fiery spirit of 1950s America. The halcyon days of tube manufacture may have long since passed by but, being a guitarist and total tube tone hound, I count myself incredibly fortunate when I happen to come across a pristine, unsealed box of Sylvania vacuum tubes—it means we can continue building our little pedals, well at least for a for a little while longer anyway.