Lowell Manufacturing began in the city of St. Louis, when Ben and Dorothy Lowell started the company to develop products for professional audio installations. Lowell received the first design patents for spun aluminum baffles, which formed the nucleus of the product line that provided “sound from the ceiling”.
In 1954, the company moved to Maplewood, Mo., expanding the manufacturing area as it introduced a line of cabinets sold under the brand Lowell Metal Works. It added a building to manufacture prototypes as well as custom metal products. The company also introduced the world’s first plastic molded speaker grille to supplement its line of metal baffles and cabinets.
Lowell continued building its product line throughout the 1970-80s, increasing product offerings to include large volume enclosures designed for use in open areas like airports and convention centers. Lowell was also in a unique position to package components used in sound masking speakers for ceiling plenums. The Lowell’s son, John Lowell, joined the company at this time, and started by creating marketing materials to promote the line to the growing pro A/V market. A few years later he was joined by his brother, Wilhelm Lowell, who is now focused on company operations and new product development.
The 2000 millennium saw Lowell Manufacturing move to a new facility in Pacific, Mo., about 40 miles from St. Louis. The company streamlined operations, adding robotic manufacturing and a powder coat paint line that provided a quality level new to the industry. This led to a new line of 19-inch equipment racks and accessories designed exclusively for professional A/V system integration.
Lowell then added power distribution products to its portfolio, including power strips, sequencers and surge protectors, to make it easier for customers to order a variety of system components from one source. Most of these power products are still manufactured in the United States, a real plus for customers looking to meet BAA guidelines.
As the company moved forward, it was awarded several design patents in recognition of product innovations including a quick-install lay-in-tile ceiling speaker system, universal-mount Unihorn®, and key-actuated volume controls. The volume control line has since become quite extensive and may be the broadest line in the industry incorporating rack-mount and wall-plate formats, while offering several choices for power ratings, attenuation steps, and specialty features.
In 2008, Tom Lowell joined the company to work alongside his brothers. With a background in purchasing, he now oversees the acquisition of the materials and components that are needed to produce more than 1,400 products in Lowell’s rack, power, and audio lines.
In 2021 John Lowell welcomed his son Jarret to the team to focus on sales and business strategy and help the company move into the future building on the rich history that began 75 years ago.