The J.W. Speaker Corporation is a 3rd-generation family-owned private company. They make high-tech lights and lamps for a constellation of market sectors clustered around transport and mobility including automotive, motorcycle, industrial, commercial, agricultural, marine, and even spacefaring—NASA specify J.W. Speaker lights on spacecraft including the Mars Rover.
The company started out in 1935, and their most ubiquitous early product was a tiny portable can opener issued to American soldiers starting in the Second World War. Speaker’s product focus shortly put down roots in the automotive realm, and lighting products became central by the early 1960s. These were generally low-cost items of conventional technology until the late 1990s, when the company made an HID motorcycle headlamp for Harley-Davidson. This was followed by some initial LED efforts, and by the early 2000s Speaker had chosen to dedicate themselves to high-tech lighting.
All operations take place at the company’s homebase in in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. The company is almost completely vertically integrated, with nearly all components and processes done in-house. A highly empowered independent R&D organisation reports directly to the company’s co-Presidents and Chief Technical Officer (himself a seasoned veteran automotive lighting innovator). There are 450 employees—up from 100 a decade ago—and sales figures are on a consistently upward trajectory.
Speaker’s product range includes universal and custom-fit headlamps, fog lamps, DRLs, signal lights, reversing lamps, combination lights, work lights, emergency and safety lights, and infrared cameras. Custom-fit products are supplied for a broad diversity of applications including exotic hypercars, transit buses, motorcycles, and mining equipment. Universal products are updated and upgraded on a regular basis, and the company has a bustling aftermarket presence.
They regard themselves as an electronics company whose products’ end output is light, and are actively engaged in development of advanced solutions to longstanding problems, including a soon-to-be-released range of adaptive lighting for motorcycles to countervail the nullification of seeing distance while turning on a motorcycle with a fixed headlamp.