Laurie Simon wires up Adelaide for sound with Nomis public-address amplifiers from 1929

A Nomis Valva PA/guitar amplifier made by Laurie Simon's "Adelaide, South Australia" company.

Laurie Simon wired up much of Adelaide for sound in the first half of the 20th Century through his Nomis Amplifier and Radio Company.

Leaving school at 14, Simon worked as an assistant mechanic in his father’s garage and then with Newton McLaren, an electrical engineering and wholesale company servicing batteries and coil winding. He left after a year as he thought he could earn more by radio servicing and building and selling his own radio sets in the family home at suburban Somerton.

In 1929, Laurie Simon, aged 17, set up a company with his father’s help. In 1930, he designed a 300W amplifier derived from a pair of 805 triodes. His Nomis (“Simon” backwards) Radio Company started making and selling radios in 1929 and moved into making “speech amplifiers” two years later and pioneered commercial public address (PA) systems in South Australia.

One of his novel early ventures in 1934 was mounting a power amplifier in the cabin and speaker between the wheels of a deHavilland Fox Moth biplane, owned by MacRobertson Miller Airlines, to broadcast audio from the air to advertise department stores events.

With a showroom in Jetty Road Glenelg, from 1933, Simon found a solid market for selling, installing and maintaining public address amplifiers and systems. Among the venues he wired up were the South Australia Hotel, St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Palais Royal hall (1932), Adelaide Oval (1935), Glenelg Oval, for South Australia’s centenary celebrations; West Olympia and the Exhibition building Melbourne, for Richard Brooks concerts (1936), Gawler, Oakbank, Balaklava, Morphettville, Victoria Park and Cheltenham horse tracks (1936-37).

During the post-World War II years. Nomis installed hundreds of sound systems in churches, schools, hospitals and shopping centres. The company also covered the royal tour in 1954 in Tasmania and Adelaide with miles of wiring, hundreds of loudspeakers, multiple amplifiers and control centres at venues and along the route.

The company traded until 1984 when Laurie Simon retired.

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