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PWK, BS, and Snake Oil

Jeff Matthews

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PWK freely admitted he was no businessman and that the company he founded would have gone out of business in the late fifties if he hadn't hired good people to look after the stuff he didn't have the time, training, skill, or inclination to do. Come to think of it, doing that does make him a good businessman!

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I believe the BS Button was something Paul Klipsch flashed whenever ANY "expert" extolled the virtues of their particular wares or the superiority of their particular design if PWK didn't believe it had merit...his opinion but certainly an educated opinion wouldn't you agree???


I think that came later, but the first time I saw them was shortly after Bose (trade mark icon here) launched an ad campaign with a "People are trading in Klipschorns (or VOTTs or JBLs or Concert Grands) for Bose 901s" motif and some seriously jangled technical talk.

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You should start by reading the entire "Dope from Hope" series. There is a lot of good techniocal info there. I can't find my digital copy but someone here will post it. William McDermont was kind enough to post it for everyone to enjoy. Do a search under "technical questions" and his name.

I think that these articles will answer many of your questions (like PWK constantly kept moving). Great technical info too.


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About the BS badge...I have a little replica one with a card with the following info:

"Paul W. Klipsch was known for having many eccentricites, including his famous "Bulls#!t" motto. He started using the slogan after reading a competitor's loudspeaker ad that made claims of supposed "breakthroughs". After that, he wore a "Bulls#!t" button behind his lapel and showed it to anyone he felt was making an outlandish claim".

I think it's a pretty cool story. I suppose the nameless competitor was like you guys said, Bose. Also, on the Engineering level of the Klipsch building in Indy, there is a mural on the wall which depicts PWK wearing the button on his coat.

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