/ General Kontrolar Company Inc.
200 East First Street
Founded by Gisbert Ludolf Bossard 1890-1975
Kontrolar was a short -lived company, though hugely significant
in the history of the chime business. G.L.Bossard is the elusive
"Dayton Man" who introduced J. Ralph Corbett, founder
of NuTone to the idea of going into the chime business. More
on that after some background.
learned a fair amount about this company from researching
patents, vintage advertising, and discussion with grandsons
of G.L. Bossard. Bossard formed General Kontrolar in Dayton
OH in 1929 with proceeds he got from selling his previous
endeavor, Bossard Railway Signal Corp. maker of railway crossing
signals. With Kontrolar, Bossard never achieved the same degree
of success, employing at its peak perhaps a dozen people.
Bossard authored a number of patents for chime mechanisms,
all noteworthy for their amazing degree of complexity. Patents
dating from the early 1930’s were assigned to his company,
General Kontrolar. Advertising for Telechime products indicates
that the product range included some very deluxe chimes that
combined what were effectively servants bells along with the
door chime function. Here's some of the text from a 1932 Sweets
Aristocrat model combines in one central unit a door chime,
a dinner chime, and a code calling system. Musical keyboard
<essentially a wired remote control>
and a specially composed book of Telechime melodies furnish
morning and evening calls, dinner chimes, vesper calls, and
serve as a splendid family entertainment... For the main door
a new and different Westminster refrain is played for each
new caller, furnishing a harmonious variety of chime melodies
that never grow stale... Telechime tubes for the lowest note
are 58 in. long and 1-1/4 in. in diameter, sounding deep,
mellow cathedral chime notes impossible with shorter tubes
or smaller diameter. ... Swedish hand-finished aluminum or
bronze cast grill for recess of Aristocrat can be furnished.
hard to imagine that such luxury items would have been in
large demand in the darkest days of the Great Depression…which
perhaps explains the eventual failure of the company. For
a time Bossard lived very well in a grand tudor mansion in
Dayton known as “Normandy Castle” which had served
as the model home- a new idea at the time- when the swank
neighborhood was developed. Descendants recall that he enjoyed
lavish European tours. By 1939, the money for Telechime was
exhausted, and for a time the endeavor was reduced to Bossard
and one of his sons doing chime repair woirk. The latest chime
patent authored by Bossard that I found (filed July 1937,
granted October 1939) was assigned to “Mary Agnew of
Hopkinsville Kentucky”, a name that I am entirely unfamiliar
with, but noteworthy in that it was not assigned to General
Kontrolar, which presumably was defunct by the grant date.
Perhaps also telling is that it was not granted to his ex-associate
Corbett, who by 1939 had gotten Nutone up and running strong.
brief glory days, Bossard’s grandson describes a 1930s
(probably 1937) New York Times article regarding how a Telechime
carillon was employed to ring carols to accompany the lighting
of the national Christmas tree in Washington D.C. To assure
safety for president Franklin Roosevelt as he flipped the
switch on, Bossard was required to use a transformer to lower
the voltage of the power running through the switch.
surrounding General Kontrolar suggested to me that G.L.Bossard
could have been the anonymous "Dayton Man" in the
story of Nutone's earliest history. Consider:
lived in Dayton.
- He was in the door chime business in the early 1930’s.
- He was a prolific inventor.
- His ideas for chimes were complicated and would have been
very expensive to produce.
- His company suffered financial collapse in the late 1930’s.
After some searching, I was able to contact grandsons of Bossard,
and they confirmed my suspicions. The Bossard family lore
is that General Kontrolar and NuTone were "interwoven";
Bossard did the inventing, Corbett did the marketing and sales,
and somehow Corbett ended up with all the money. It seems
that Bossard's records were intact until 1990 when his son
died, at which time most of the records were discarded. Memories
of stories told by a grandfather decades ago are all that
remain... that and the Corbett version of events, which has
a considerably different tone. Survivors and victors do, after
all, write the history. Anyone have additional info on this
pivotal event in chime history ?
Telechime products are extremely rare. I know of just a few
still in existence. One is an example of the amazing Aristocrat.
which remains in the possession of the Bossard family. Another
is the infamous "lost & found" chime, featured
elsewhere in this site. And another, currently offered for
sale on this site. While Bossard was not able to make a commercial
success of Telechime, in a way, every NuTone product carries
a tiny bit of the General Kontrolar genetic fabric.
Ludolf Bossard, 1934
Kontrolar site, still standing in 2006.
Castle,The Bossard residence in Oakwood OH, 1930's
Aristorcrat model, with optional keyboard and songbook.
graphics from the brief period when J.Ralph Corbett
ran Telechime marketing from Carew Tower, the most fashionable
address in Cincinnati at the time.
Carew Tower opened in 1934. Corbett's
Telechime office was on the 45th floor, the highest
DeLuxe Portable Display Case is a sure-shot business
getter. It is leather covered on the outside and lined
with blue velvet on the inside and trimmed with polished
chromium fittings. Ready to plug in for instant demonstration.”