The coming of age of Rock and Roll music during the sixties underscored the need for heavy-duty transducers that could take the mighty abuse given them during concerts. The basic Lansing design, the D130, became the signal example of what could be done in this area.
It was Leo Fender of the Fender Guitar Company who identified the D130 as the ideal loudspeaker for his electric guitar designs. Through a contract with Fender, JBL provided a specialized version of this loudspeaker for that company. Subsequently, JBL has manufactured a number of other designs from ten-inch models all the way up to eighteen-inch models targeted for the music performer.
The professional line as we know it today took form in the late sixties, and it was a largely consolidation of previous OEM work that had been done for various companies, such as: Ampex, Westrex, General Railway Signal, and Fender. Thus, in a relatively short period of time, JBL came up with a full-blown line of products to serve many segments of the professional market.
In 1969, Thomas sold JBL to Sidney Harman of the Jervis Corporation. Under the stewardship of Harman, the company grew from a relatively modest $8M gross business per year to about $60M. In early 1977, Sidney Harman sold JBL, along with his other holdings in the high-fidelity industry, to Beatrice Foods. Three and a half years later Harman re-acquired JBL, and the company continues as a major force in both consumer high-fidelity and professional markets. JBL is the leading producer of branded loudspeakers in the United States today. The company is also a significant force overseas, with more than half of the output of the company sold in export markets.