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Shure in World War 2 - The Ultimate in Reliable Performance

A look at allied forces use of Shure mics during world war 2 and why the same build standards are upheld to this day.
August, 22 2013 |
Shure products have been known for quality, reliability, and durability for many decades. What's less well known is that the root of this reputation harks all the way back to World War II, and here's why:

When the United States became involved in World War II, Shure Brothers Incorporated became one of the prime suppliers of military acoustical transducers (microphones and headphones). Shure products were used by all branches of the U.S. military, plus the British and Russian forces. Such was the demand for Shure goods that from 1941 to 1943, the number of Shure employees increased ten-fold and manufacturing lines often operated 24 hours a day just to keep up with demand. Further to this, Allied Forces relied so heavily on devices manufactured by Shure that employees who volunteered for active military duty were turned down.

"The Difference Between Life and Death"

The surname of Shure was on every military transducer that left the factory. For Mr. Shure, this was a formidable responsibility. The safety of Allied military personnel depended upon the proper operation of acoustical devices that bore the family name of Shure. A Company memo succinctly stated: "Those screws, washers, and other small parts mean the difference between life and death to millions of fighting men in the widespread battle lines of the Allied Forces."

The Same Shure Standards to this Day - Legendary Performance

When World War II ended, Mr. Shure decided to keep using military quality specifications for peace-time products. Military quality specifications resulted in lower scrap rates during manufacturing, fewer products returned for repair, and improved product reliability.

Such high standards and low failure rates resulted in increased customer loyalty. Ask an SM58 owner to describe the microphone in one word, and that word is "reliable."

So there you have it, the seeds of Shure reliability, often taken for granted in 2013, were sown during the 1940s.

Shure: Army Navy "E" Award

The image in below was created circa 1952 to document the specialised products developed by Shure for the Allied Forces during World War II - (note the upper left corner "Army E Navy" insignia.)

On April 18, 1943, the women and men of Shure were presented the prestigious Army-Navy "E" award for "high achievement in the production of war materials." Robert Patterson, Under Secretary of the War, wrote, "The production standard you are setting is inspiring, and will serve as an example to all Americans." Mr. Shure stated, "Here, at Shure Brothers, we have a cross section of the American people. We are a peace-loving people who were unprepared for war. We loved peace, but we love liberty even more." The Army-Navy "E" award now resides in the Shure archives.


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Marc Henshall
Marc forms part of our Pro Audio team at Shure UK and specialises in Digital Marketing. He also holds a BSc First Class Hons Degree in Music Technology. When not at work he enjoys playing the guitar, producing music, and dabbling in DIY (preferably with a good craft beer or two).

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