> Backstage Heritage Collection > Manufacturers > Electro Controls

Electro Controls

Electro Controls logo

See the Electro Controls archive at

From 1984:
Electro Controls Inc owns manufacturing plants in both Salt Lake City, Utah and in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. With experience spanning five decades and over 50,000 projects, the company offers over 90,000 square feet of plant capacity and unsurpassed manufacturing expertise to serve the lighting control industry. 
Manufacturing and production departments include tool and die, printed circuit board manufacturing and metal fabrication facilities with modern equipment, including a 200 ton press brake capable of bending quarter-inch steel plate. The painting facility utilizes a powdered epoxy resin paint which is electrostatically deposited on the equipment and baked onto the surface in a 2.4 million BTU gas fired oven.
Electro Controls has technical research, development and manufacturing departments for varied electronic systems employing both manual and memory control. With in-plant capabilities, Electro Controls is a leader in the manufacture of systems for theatre, television, architectural, residential and other applications. 
E.C. products are sold through more than 100 sales offices and numerous dealers throughout the world. In addition there are thirty-seven Electro Controls service offices throughout North America employing factory-trained technicians. 

Our Proud Legacy of Innovations
In the 1940's, theatrical lighting had come to a near standstill. The old 'flat' lighting system, which had been in use for decades with little progression or improvements, still continued to light most stages around the world. Directors and actors stood at the mercy of inflexible, fixed strips of footlights, immobile borderlights and permanently-connected dimmers which offered onty three intensity settings: 'bright', 'dull' and 'off'. Entire stages - actors, backdrops and props alike - would brighten to a blinding glare, dim to a dull fuzz, or disappear into total blackness.
By the late 1940's, flexible and moving stage equipment began to alter the entire course of theatrical lighting. One of the early pioneers in the 'American System', Ariel Davis, began exploring and designing imaginative lighting equipment. His creative efforts gave birth to a new dimmer, the Davis Dimmer, which was simple, flexible, 'no bigger than an overnight case' and the only dimmer of the time that could operate several circuits from a single, heavy-duty coil. The Davis Dimmer revolutionized theatrical lighting, and became one of the first lighting products of a young lighting and control company known today as Electro Controls. 

The advent and resulting success of the 'Davis Dimmer' initiated a throng of innovative theatrical lighting products throughout the 1950's - products which continued to shape Electro Controls into the lighting control leader it is today. From the early Davis Dimmer came one of the first portable dimmers, the DMD-8. Virtually indestructible, the DMD-8 was dropped from speeding trucks, connected to improper power supplies and 'immersed in pop and ice cream' without burning or wearing out. Along with the DMD-8, Ariel Davis designed and produced another revolutionary product for its' time, the QuickConnect. A slider cross-connected panel, QuickConnect made the troublesome 'spider-web' patching of cords and plugs obsolete. The 50's also gave rise to new motor-driven transformers (autotransformers), including the MultiMatic (considered by many to be the 'Model A' of memory control), Electro Controls' first remote control dimming system. 

During the 1960's, Electro Controls made the revolutionary leap from autotransformers to electronic control systems. Opening a vast range of new lighting control ideas, electronic control generated such innovations as multi-station control, modular control stations, multiple-scene presets, SCR dimmers and computer memory control. Leading in the field of entertainment lighting, Electro Controls announced MicroSet, the first computerized memory control installed on the North American continent. But Electro Controls' leadership could not be confined to the stage and studio. Demand for its exceptional products soon carried the company into the field of electronic architectural lighting systems, as well. Electro Controls quickly became the foremost pioneer of architectural dimming systems. Such lighting control series as the VSED and 'EC Dim' evolved into Electro Controls' contemporary and comprehensive architectural systems line. 

The 1970's ushered in a whole new host of fabulous innovations in stage, studio and architectural lighting control. Architectural products included MicroDim, with adjustable time fade dimming and preset lighting control; MicroControl, with multiple-station, proportional dimming contorl; MicroCell, with ambient sensing and automatic dimming adjustment, and Light Cycle, for fountains and special displays. At the same time, Electro Controls' line of stage and television lighting control was multiplying in sophistication. Among many bright innvovations, Electro Controls introduced Parellipsphere, the first optically new framing spotlight in 40 years, the Plexus 1000, a highly flexible control, with both memory and manual sections, and the intelligent ILS, a multi-purpose computer which added such functions as ticket and inventory control to lighting control. 

The Electro Controls of the 1980's has never, in all of its proud legacy, been more committed to creating progress. In this, its fifth decade of service to the lighting industry, Electro Controls has helped change the whole design of dimming systems. Electronic dimmers are far more space efficient, feature enriched and cost effective. Controls are generously enhanced with computer support, along with operationally-simple manually operated devices. As a foremost supplier of lighting control systems, today Electro Controls offers the broadest line of dimming and control products of any company in its industry. 


Electro Controls ceased operations in Utah in 1991 and became part of Strand Lighting

Archive Contents:

We don't have very much (yet) on Electro Controls in the archive. Please contact us and let us know what you're looking for, and let us know if you have information or material that could help!

Back to Manufacturers List