A survey of the company's history, developments and product line
1883 Trade registration of the family-business of
Hermann Thorens, established in St.-Croix / Switzerland, with the purpose of
manufacturing musical boxes and movements.
1903 Manufacturing of Thorens' first Edison-type phonograph.
1906 Change-over to the manufacturing of horn-gramophones
for shellac records.
1913-1964 Manufacturing of cigarette lighters
1914-1952 Manufacturing of harmonicas (except for
the time from 1921-1938)
1927 Conversion of the family business to a joint-stock
1928 Development of the first electric motor (direct
drive) for gramophones.
1929 Development of the first electric phono pick-up
(employing a magnet principle).
1933 Manufacturing of wireless appliances, partly in
cooperation with the Strassfurt-Imperial Company of Germany.
1940-1950 Production of professional disc-cutting lathes
and phono pick-up cartridges.
1943 Production of the first record changer.
1954-1960 Production of the mechanical razor
1957 Introduction of the TD124 Hi-Fi record player.
It came without tonearm but with arm board during this first year. Destined to become a
classic, the success of this player had an enormous effect at Thorens, shaping
the future direction for the company into that of a worldwide manufacturer of
high quality stereo record players.
1958-1961 Introduction of the models TD184, TD134 with
BL104 tonearm, the TD135 and the BTD-12S
tonearm. These turntable models were simpler and less expensive offerings
designed to fill out price points within the product line. The BTD-12S
tonearm was well received at its introduction and was the company's top
tonearm offering until it was superceded by the TP14 in 1966.
1962 Introduction of the unique TDW224 HI-Fi record
changer. Based on the TD135. but with Additional gears, pulleys and
levers, arms etc. This 'record changer' stored it's stack of 8 records away from
the player so that only one LP rested on the platter at any one time. An
arm would pluck the record off the platter, then transport it to the side
position, pick a new record from the top stack and place this record on the
platter. This is quite unlike the traditional record changer that
stacks one LP disc upon the next until you have a stack of 5 or six and spins
the whole lot. As that stack of records on the platter rises, so changes
the vertical tracking angle and correct arm cartridge alignment is lost. This
complexity of changer operation, while extreme, ensured that the all important vertical tracking angle
on this Thorens remained unchanged
in play. For an online tour of the TD224 and TD124 link
for a look and video of the TDW224 in action see this page: TDW224
The introduction of the TD121. It was marketed as a 'slightly' less expensive but high quality table.
|Single speed operation (33 -1/3rd rpm). |
|it uses the lighter bearing of the TD 135 (10mm).|
|It has a single piece non magnetic platter of the TD135 (zinc)|
|No spirit level,|
|No decoupling - clutch action - of the upper platter .|
|Otherwise it shares the same chassis and drive system of the TD124|
The introduction of the TD111.
1963 The Thorens company merges with Paillard SA,
St.-Croix / Switzerland. Paillard SA manufactured Bolex cameras and Hermes
typewriters at the time. This merger would last three years. Legal
requirements and differing goals between upper management of the Paillard Group
and Thorens resulted in a loss of cooperation between the two groups.
1965 Introduction of the TD150 with TP13 tonearm. This player
featured a new 3 point suspended subchassis that carries both platter, bearing
and arm. Fixed to the main chassis is a 16 pole, 2-phase synchronous AC motor. A
two- piece 7 pound balanced platter system exists with the inner platter being
driven by way of an elastic belt. Platter material is die cast zinc
alloy. Platter bearing is a hardened stainless steel shaft of 10mm
diameter with a captive ball bearing tip and running in sintered bronze
bushings. The ball tip carries the vertical load from the platter. This
new suspended layout presents a significant step forward in efforts to reduce
1966 Effective July 1st, 1966, the Swiss
Thorens-Franz AG took over the entire business concerning Thorens record players
and together with EMT Wilhelm Franz of Germany, they established a new business
for research, development and manufacturing in Lahr / Germany, located in the
foothills of the Black Forest.
Revision of the TD124 into TD124 II with TP-14 tonearm. Changes from the TD124
include change in paint color from cream white to medium-grey. Minor changes in
the controls. Also revised was the TD135, now TD135 II.
1968 Introduction of the TD125 electronically-controlled
(Wien Bridge Oscillator) turntable equipped with the TP25 tonearm. This table
replaces the TD124 II as the flagship of the product line. The TD125, like
the TD150, is belt driven and suspended via a 3 point suspension and like it's
little brother, the TD150, it also is a "purists" model with all
Early production units also share the same platters and bearing shaft
with the TD150. Early models will be found with the captive ball on the spindle
shaft tip. Later production models replaced this with a solid steel
conical shaped tip to carry the vertical thrust load. The bearing housing
on the early models differed from later production models. Early model
platter bearings were housed in a large cast aluminum housing featuring a 3 bolt
hole pattern for attachment to the subchassis plate. Later production
bearings were of the press-in variety with a much slimmer machined steel
the TD150, this model features a much more substantial and solid construction
throughout. The motor function offered 3 speeds: 16, 33-1/3 and 45.
This table was also offered in an optional "LB" edition. The "TD125
LB" featured a longer cabinet and armboard to accommodate longer 12 inch
tonearms. For more info on the
various options offered with the original TD125 see this link.
1969 Introduction of the TD150 Mk II with new tonearm
TP13A. Upgrades to the tonearm include fine-adjustment of tracking force and
'weight on string' compensation of anti-skating force. The previous TP13 tonearm
had no compensation for anti-skating force.
1972 The introduction of the TD125 MkII.
The most apparent change to this revised model is the new TP16 tonearm which is
now packaged as the standard equipment offering. The new tonearm features gimbal
4-point pivot bearings, magnetic anti-skate control and a new detachable
magnesium headshell, the TP60. Effective mass of the new arm is rated at
16.5 grams. Refinements to the oscillator motor control circuitry are
made. Platter bearings are all of the press-in design with solid tip
shafts by this time.
The TD160 replaces the TD150 as the affordable but still Hi-Fi player
featuring a similar 3 point suspension floating sub-chassis but with the
new TP16 tonearm . Operation is pure manual but with an integrated cable
operated tonearm cue. Like the TD150, the TD160 used a synchronous 16 pole 2-phase AC
motor that derived it's pitch precision by locking on to the mains frequency the
same as an electric clock motor from that era. Both TD125 MkII and
TD160 share the same 7 pound die cast zinc platters
and the same 10mm platter bearing.
At the same time a less expensive TD165 was offered with the TP11
tonearm. This new tonearm used the same gimbal pivot bearing, arm tube and
head shell as the TP16 but substituted a weight-on-string style of anti-skate
control and also featured a different counterweight. The TD165
used a 7mm diameter platter bearing fixed to a resin inner platter. The motor
and pulley were also different from the TD160.
1974 Presentation of the TD126 "electronic"
with tonearm TP16. The TD126 replaces the highly regarded TD125 Mk
II. Similar in dimensions and weight, the TD126 adds semi-automatic
function to the tonearm operation in addition to a preset for mode of operation. (When equipped with standard Thorens tonearm)
The TD126 featured lighted push buttons compared to the slider controls of it's
predecessor. The TD126 shared the same basic layout and size of the TD125,
continuing to use the heavy cast aluminum sub-chassis suspended by 3 conical
springs and the same platters and bearing. Available speeds are now 33-1/3, 45 and 78rpm.
The Mk 1 and Mk2 TD126 models continued to use the 16-pole AC synchronous motor
from the TD125 MkII.
1975 The TD145 is offered. In essence a
TD160 with automated arm lift and motor stop at end of play
1976 Introduction of the "Isotrack"-tonearm
with a low effective mass. This is an updated version of the TP16 tonearm
featuring remove-able 'arm wands' fixed by a collar lock very close to the pivot
bearing. Moving the coupling joint closer to the pivot reduced effective
mass substantially. The replaceable arm-wand of this tonearm is called the
TP62. A later version of the isotrack tonearm, called the TP16-III used another
style of arm-wand designated the TP63. Both of these tonearms rated their
effective mass at 7.5 grams. These tonearms were suitable for use with
phono cartridges having high compliance suspensions.
Optional with the Isotrack tonearms were arm-wands featuring integrated
phono cartridges. The TPO63 and TPO70 were two such arm-wands. In
cooperation with EMT, Thorens produced special cartridges of the moving-coil
variety. Integrated arm-wand-cartridges TMC63/TMC70, phono cartridges MCHI and
MCHII as well as the PPA990 and STA960 (pre-preamplifier and step-up
Introduction of the TD126 Mk II with TP16 Mk II (Isotrack).
Introduction of the TD160 Mk II with TP16 Mk II (Isotrack)
Introduction of the TD166 with TP16 Mk II (Isotrack)
Introduction of the TD145 Mk II with TP16 Mk II (Isotrack)
Thorens commence with building the AT410 stereo receiver.
1978 Thorens adds to its product line
the TD104, TD105, TD110, TD115.
The TD126 MkIII is introduced. Some of its features include:
|DC 72-pole tacho-generator drive motor.|
|New load-depending control of rotation (APC: automatic pitch control) |
|Low mass "Isotrack" TP16 MkIII tonearm|
|Electronic frictionless shut-off facility|
|Additional motor for tonearm lift control|
|speeds: 33, 45 and 78|
The Receiver AT403, Cassette Deck PC 650, Sound Wall
loudspeakers were introduced.
"Rumpelmeßkoppler", a device for closely evaluating rumble noises of record players.
Above left, design sketch. Above right, actual tool.
Developed by Thorens engineer Ludwig Klapproth, the Rumpelmesskoppler (rumble
measuring coupler) consists of two parts. One part is the spindle that is
fixed with its lower end to the top of the turntable axle protruding from the
platter. The other end of the spindle is shaped to a very fine point which
is plated with copper and nickel. The other part of this device is sort of
an outrigger which is hung up at the top of the spindle and supported along the
spindle's shaft. The supports are made of high-polymer plastic and they
glide virtually frictionless around the polished spindle. Fixed at the
opposite lower side of this carrier is a tiny piece of vinyl record with
grooves, onto which the cartrige and its stylus is put during the
measurements. This rather stiff arrangement allows all rumble noises from
0 to around 500 Hz caused by the turntable or it's bearing to be detected and
transduced by cartridge employed.
1979 Development of the state-of-the-art turntable
"Reference" for measuring purposes. In spite of the stated purpose as
a measurement tool, a series of 100 Thorens References were sold to
customers. Unofficially, more were made but it is unknown exactly how many
and what serial numbers those extra tables carried.
Introduction of the TP16 MkIII tonearm
1979-1981 The TD126 Mk III, is being offered with
numerous different tonearms from the various tonearm manufacturers including SME,
Koshin, Dynavector and EMT. Semi-auto function is retained when these
arms are factory installed.
1981-1983 Introduction of the TD226,
featuring a vacuum pump platter and space for two tonearms. The
introduction of the TD127, essentially a TD126 with extended cabinet
and arm board to accommodate a 12 inch tonearm. One example of a TD127 known to
us came equipped with the earlier 16-pole synchronous motor, 10mm platter
bearing and cast zinc inner platter.
1982 Introduction of the upgraded TD166 Mk II
Introduction of the TD147
Introduction of the TD 160
The TD160 Super was in essence a standard TD160 mkII but with the following
|a larger more solid cabinet|
|damping material applied to the underside of the motor plate and
|heavier bottom plate|
|typically delivered in AB form (no tonearm) But sometimes supplied with
TP16 MkIII (Isotrack) |
|Dustcover has more substantial steel hinges|
Presentation of the TD524, marketed as a turntable for discotheques
|Direct drive |
|DC motor with a 256 pole tachogenerotor|
|quartz motor speed control|
|pitch control +- 6% |
|speeds: 33,45 and 78|
|speed accuracy rated at zero error|
|platter: aluminum alloy with a high damping rubber mat|
|Rumble figure: -52db DIN45539|
|Rumble figure: according to Rumplemesskoppler unweighted: -62db|
|Tonearm: TP16L (long) (Spezial)|
|effective length: 245mm|
|offset angle: 22 degrees|
|skating compensation: magnetic|
|Remote control for: arm lift, start/stop, commutation between quartz lock
and pitch control, start from mixing console|
|accessories: mounting frame, dust cover with spring hinges|
|Dimensions: 500 x 445 x 180mm (over closed cover)|
1983 The Thorens Prestige is introduced.
Having much in common with the Thorens Reference, the Prestige was a no
compromise, no nonsense turntable. The Prestige had the following
|servo controlled 2-phase synchronous motor|
|speeds: 33-1/3, 45, 78|
|motor speed control: quartz controlled electronic 2 phase generator|
|pitch control: +- 6%|
|platter: 8.1 kg complete with mat and gold weight|
|platter dia. : 34 cm|
|large 14mm platter bearing with iron granule damping|
|Wow and flutter: Din 45507, < 0.02%|
|Rumble unweighted: Din45539 > 54dB|
|Rumble weighted: Din45539 > 70 dB|
|Rumble mesured with Thorens Rumpelmesskoppler, Din unweighted: > 70 dB|
|weighted: > 80 dB|
|dimensions 612 x 510 x 280|
|weight: 55 kg|
More info on the Prestige
company's structure is reorganized and divided into three independent companies:
|Thorens-Cabasse Vertriebs GmbH, (sales distribution in Germany)|
| Thorens Produktions GmbH and ,(R&D and manufacturing in Lahr)|
|EMT-Franz GmbH (R&D of professional studio equipment)|
Introduction of the TD146, an semi-auto variant to the TD166
Introduction of the TD147 Jubilee (a centennial anniversary edition)
TD126 MkIII Centennial edition:
|a series of 100 tables with special trim (black and gold anodized metal
|could be ordered with SME 3010-R tonearm while retaining auto-lift
|could be ordered in different wood trims (Rosewood for example)|
|standard tonearm: TP16 MkIII|
1984 Design, development and introduction of the new
This deck differs from previous Thorens models in the following ways:
|MDF is the construction material|
|3 point suspended subchassis as with others but subchassis is now open|
|conical springs are replaced with leafs|
|16 pole AC synchronous motor is controlled by a 2-phase generator.|
Many variants were produced based upon this layout including the following:
Thorens would spring their suspended chassis' with leaf springs from this
point forward. For more information on the
TD320 link here.
1985 Introduction of the TD520 professional,
successor to the TD126. The 520 uses the same layout as the TD320 but is
larger, heavier and supports the use of 12 inch tonearms.
| Presentation of the new tonearm design TP90. |
| Presentation of the much acclaimed design work Thorens
1989 Development and
production of the TD2001
1990 TD3001, an improved variant of the TD2001
|Same plinth as TD2001|
|much improved (quieter) 24 pole, 2-phase motor|
|Platter and subplatter are turned from solid aluminum stock, then
|detachable tonearm board|
|The TP90 is upgraded to TP90S to be used as standard on the TD3001|
1990-1991 Relocation of Thorens production and Thorens
sale/distribution to new premises.
1991 Presentation of the new tonearm TP50 and the
TD180 semi-automatic record player.
1992 Introduction of the TD290 "Budget
1993 The production of the low-priced Thorens record
players starts up in Lodz / Poland.
1994 Development and introduction of new Thorens
proprietary electronic audio components. Considered absolutely High-End
and provided with the family name "Thorens Consequence", the first
devices to hit the market are a highly musical preamplifier and power
amplifier. Presentation of the Thorens "Classic" line, a pre and
power amplifier employing tubes.
1995 Foundation of the Thorens Laboratory in Berlin
with the purpose of developing and manufacturing High End audio
components. Introduction of the CD player, D/A converter and RDS-tuner.
1996 The "Thorens Consequence" family
welcomes a pair of powerful mono block amplifiers and a unique power line
1999 Thorens TD325 is shown at CES '99.
The 'main' source for this information is a Thorens company pamphlet detailing the
company's product history courtesy of Rolf Kelch Electronics. The actual document reads
somewhat like a "chamber of commerce pamphlet", Other
documents including an article by Dr. Stefano Pasini titled "The Legacy of
Thorens TD Series Turntable Classics" and a most useful website on the
TD124 and TD224 at http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/td124page.html,
were compared against this Thorens historical document. In cases where the
Thorens author used superlatives to describe ordinary components or appliances, I
stripped those away meaning to leave only useful facts.
Dec/2000 Thorens was refused to claim Chapter 11
bankruptcy by the German government. Thorens is looking to move their
operations back to Switzerland and are searching for new investors. (source: Enjoy
May/2002 Restructuring of ownership and shareholder
organization. New management appointed to re-launch the brand
"Thorens". Thorens Export Corporation Ltd. Kaiseraugst /
Switzerland, has been appointed to manage the OEM - production sector.
(source: Enjoy The Music)
May 01 2018
Famous record player brand Thorens returns to Germany and Bergisch
Gladbach becomes Analog Valley. The oldest Company in entertainment
electronics switches Owner and location.
Gunter Kuerten takes Thorens. The former CEO of ELAC and Denon (with
additional leadership experience at LG, Loewe, Sharp and Sony), founded the
new Thorens GmbH in Bergisch Gladbach. By this beginning with May 1st,
another worldwide leading brand in analog HiFi is located there and makes the
region to Germany’s Analog Valley.
Thorens is the oldest name in entertainment electronics, founded in 1883 by
Hermann Thorens in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland. The brand is still worldwide
known for its high-quality record players. During the sixties of the 20th
century the company moved to Lahr in Germany. Later when Heinz Rohrer became
CEO, Thorens returned temporarily to Switzerland.
„Gunter Kuerten is a very experienced and successful industry insider.
Because of this Thorens will be in good hands and ready for future
challenges.“, so Heinz Rohrer.
„I am committed to the tradition of Thorens and I see my job in keeping the
brands legacy but also in further developing this ‘analog jewel’ “,
confirms Gunter Kuerten. “I see a lot of future chances in the opening of
markets. And the worldwide vinyl revival is going to assist us in that “.
51427 Bergisch Gladbach
Phone: +49 (0) 2204-8677720
Bergisch Gladbach, 05/01/2018
Editor's note: Above news is quoted from the Thorens website.