Audio Pioneer Edgar Villchur Makes 2018 Hall of Fame

Home audio has a prominent place among the 14 people being inducted into the 2018 Consumer Technology Hall of Fame.

Audio pioneer Edgar Villchur is one of five audio-centric inductees among this year’s 14 honorees. The CT Hall of Fame was created by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in 2000 to celebrate technology leaders who “advance innovation and develop, create, market, and promote the technologies, products and services that continue to improve consumers' lives.”

"The CT Hall of Fame honors the exceptional visionaries in our industry," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. "The new class of inductees includes engineers and inventors, business executives, retailers, and a journalist who drove new solutions and technologies that made a difference in our lives."

Inductees were selected by a panel of media and industry professionals, who judged nominations submitted by manufacturers, retailers, and industry journalists.

The 2018 CT Hall of Fame inductees are:

Edgar Villchur (1917-2011), inventor of the acoustic-suspension speaker, the basis for subsequent loudspeakers, and co-founder of Acoustic Research. He also invented the independent suspension turntable, and designed technology used in hearing aids.

John Briesch, the executive who led Sony's launch of the Compact Disc (CD), developed the My First Sony line of electronics for children, and launched the Sony Style e-commerce site in the 1990s. Briesch also holds a patent for an automated digital rights management and payment system.

Thiel Audio’s Jim Thiel and Kathy Gornik. Jim Thiel (1947-2009) founded Thiel Audio and was chief designer of the company's innovative speakers. As president, Kathy Gornik ran the business and was responsible for the marketing that made the brand synonymous with high quality sound. She also served as the first woman to Chair the Consumer Technology Association in 2003 and 2004.

Robert Cole, founder of World Wide Stereo, an independent AV specialty and custom-installation dealership in Philadelphia that has outlasted several regional and national competitors.

Mike Romagnolo, founder of Dow Stereo, which served as a launch pad for many new technologies, including DVD and HDTV. Romagnolo grew the San Diego-area chain to 10 locations.

Dr. John Cioffi, the father of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) who led the effort to develop the first broadband connectivity standard that delivered internet access to hundreds of millions of homes worldwide.

Richard Doherty, an influential technology journalist and industry analyst. In 1983, he co-founded The Envisioneering Group and was often quoted as a technology expert.

Peter Lesser, founded X10 Limited in 1984 and helped turn the X10 protocol into the first and most ubiquitous smart-home-connectivity protocol. In the late 1980s and early 90s, X10 introduced the first DIY wireless smart home security and monitoring systems. Lesser also served as a CTA Executive Board member from 1999 to 2010 and as Industry Executive Advisor from 2005 to 2010.

Skype Team: In 2003, Swede Niklas Zennström and Dane Janus Friis — co-founders of the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing platform — combined with Estonian software engineers Jaan Tallinn, Priit Kasesalu, and Ahti Heinla to create Skype, the popular video phone platform. Today, Skype has nearly 1.5 billion users.

The Class of 2018 honorees will be inducted into the CT Hall of Fame at an awards dinner in New York on November 7.


The official Edgar Villchur biography at

The Villchur Foundation

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The History of World Wide Stereo