*Editor’s note: Jeff Davis’ Vintage Vinyl Bluetooth® Speaker is coming soon to our assortment. You can be among the first to get this design by pre-ordering here.
Fresh from its triumphant world tour on Kickstarter, Jeff Davis’ Vintage Vinyl Bluetooth® Speaker puts a new spin on old LPs, letting reclaimed vinyl play music in an innovative way: as the speaker itself. With a bemused smile, Jeff points out that you can’t drop the needle on these reshaped records, but they will play your entire digital music collection in analog-inspired style. It’s a cool way to give your smartphone an audiophile upgrade.
The design also offers a nod to the nostalgic sweep of horn loudspeakers, gramophones, and retro radios, making it a true celebration of recorded music’s long history, from steel needle Victrolas to the frontiers of streaming audio.
UncommonGoods’ Product Development team helped Jeff develop the speaker’s retro-futuristic feel. “They pushed me to celebrate the feeling of the record, and to create an item that has a sculptural presence as an object,” Jeff reflected. With their extensive playlist of design experience and material sourcing skills, the PD team also helped work out the Bluetooth® and driver components. Through extensive testing, they settled on a top-of-the-line coaxial speaker (which incorporates woofer and tweeter in one) that resonates best with Jeff’s design.
Both Jeff and UncommonGoods love original designs that celebrate the unity of form and function, but they also prioritize American-made products. A woodworking shop in Vinylux’s Philly backyard—one they’ve partnered with many times before—will craft the speaker’s wood base. “I like to keep as much production as possible in the Philadelphia region,” Jeff observes, “so I can visit the factories and work personally with the people who help make our products.” The speakers will be assembled and tested by Jeff’s team of talented young artists.
Jeff gets his supply of vinyl from record shops, collectors, and even attic stashes. Every year, he upcycles 150,000 records or almost 40,000 pounds of material. Because he’s committed to sustainable manufacturing, the majority of the production process takes place in his Philadelphia studio. No part of the record is wasted: Album covers are converted into sketchbooks and notecards, and paper recyclers collect leftover material. Even the vinyl scraps are sent to record-pressing plants where they’re re-ground and turned back into brand new records.
About the Band
“I strive to make soulful products that carry meaning for people,” says Jeff. The Philadelphia artist and Vinylux founder has been making things—coasters, clocks, bowls—out of reclaimed vinyl LPs for fifteen years, and he often gets this question from customers: “can you still play the records?” The short answer is no, but you wouldn’t want to anyway: these albums are already past their playing prime.
Jeff began working with vinyl records as part of a grad school thesis project at the Rhode Island School of Design. His designs preserve the nostalgic quality of the old vinyl, including the original labels, while creating new objects that balance usefulness and elegance. Jeff and his team at Vinylux have collected and transformed countless old records into everything from clocks to cuff bracelets. “I think when you buy an object, whether functional or decorative, it should be something that brings you joy and that you look forward to using,” Jeff says.
We’ve partnered with Jeff since he first started making record bowls—a popular part of our collection ever since. “I first saw Jeff’s record bowl in 2002,” recalls UncommonGoods Founder Dave Bolotsky. “It was featured in a New York Magazine article. I had been a DJ, ran a record store, and loved music, so I thought it was a great item and a perfect fit for our collection.”