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Happy Labor Day!

by vaughn skow September 06, 2010 3 min read

 American Flag!

This Labor Day finds me in a reminiscing mood.  I grew up on a family farm perched on the Minnesota-Iowa border.  I’m talking about a real working farm with cattle, hogs, and acres and acres of corn and soybeans.  As a kid, I was kind of a screw-ball musician type, but my dad saved me from a demise of my own making.  You see, he impressed upon me a serious old-world work ethic.  Later in life, I came to realize what a valuable gift he had given me.  His generation of Americans, like those before him, were workers.  If you look around you, almost everything you see that has any level of manufacturing excellence was probably made prior to about 1960, same goes for any endeavor that required serious sacrifice.  Okay, if I’m not careful, I could easily spiral into a "they don’t make ‘em like they used to" fissure.   Fact is, there are a few American companies that really do make em like they used to, and I’m proud as heck to say that WGS is one of them!  I wanta tell you about it.

I want you now to take a little trip with me to Paducah Kentucky.  Paducah could be "anytown USA", the residential neighborhoods look like a Norman Rockwell painting, and the business district hasn’t yet heard that the age of American manufacturing is over (please, don’t spill the beans).  This is a town of blue-collar workers eating lunch from a metal bucket and going home at the end of the day to pet the dog and toss a football with the kids.  The rumors of the demise of smalltown USA have been greatly exaggerated, if you don’t believe me, just visit Paducah. 

In the 1950’s and 1960’s one of the great industries in Paducah was the CTS speaker plant.  I have a special spot in my heart for CTS speakers because they are the transducers that move air in my favorite amp of all ... a 1967 blackface Super Reverb.  If God has an amp, I assure you, it’s a blackface Super Reverb with CTS Alnico speakers.  CTS has moved on from Paducah, and while it does still survive as a company to some extent, they no longer make guitar speakers.  If that were the end of this story, it would be a sad story, but it’s not!  WGS has stepped in and is now making speakers in Paducah in the great American tradition, even using some of the fabled old CTS equipment, and with some of the great minds of CTS on the company payroll, too!  I’ve personally watched the workers on the production floor, and I gotta say, it’s downright inspiring.  These folks really care about the product they are making.  How much?  Well, I’ve witnessed what seem to me to be perfectly good speakers being purposely destroyed and sent back to be re-built because they had even the most minor of a flaw.  If it ain’t perfect, it doesn’t leave the factory.  Wow.

So, on this Labor Day, if some of you out there are wondering if "labor" is even part of the American experience in this day and age, I assure you it is!  It lives on in Paducah Kentucky.

See ya next week...

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