Robert Moog developed his ideas for an electronic instrument by starting out in 1961 building and selling Theremin kits and absorbing ideas about transistorised modular synthesisers from the German designer Harald Bode.
After publishing an article for the January 1961 issue of the magazine ‘Electronics World’, Moog sold around a 1000 Theremin kits from 1961 to 63 out of a three room apartment. Eventually he decided to begin producing instruments of his own design. After toying with the idea of a portable guitar amplifier, Moog turned to the synthesiser.
Whilst attending a convention in the winter of ’63, Moog was introduced to the idea of building new circuits that would be capable of producing sound. In September 1964 he was invited to exhibit his circuits at the Audio Engineering Society Convention. Shortly afterwards in 1964 Moog begin to manufacture electronic music synthesisers. Moog’s synthesisers were designed in collaboration with the composers Herbert A. Deutsch, and Wendy Carlos.
After the success of Carlos’s album “Switched on Bach”, entirely recorded using Moog synthesisers, Moog’s instruments made the first leap from the electronic avant garde, into commercial popular music. The Beatles bought one, as did Mick Jagger who bought a hugely expensive modular Moog in 1967 (unfortunately this instruments was only used once, as a prop on a film set and was later sold to the German experimentalist rockers, Tangerine Dream).
Though setting a future standard for analogue synthesiser, the Moog Synthesiser Company did not survive the decade, larger companies such as Arp and Roland developed Moog’s protoypes into more sophisticated and cost effective instruments. Robert Moog has returned to his roots and currently runs ‘Big Briar’ a company specialising in transistorised version of the Theremin Moog Production Models