Lansing was not an outgoing family man. He had four children whom he cared for a great deal. He would spend occasional weekends entertaining them, taking them to the park, and so forth. But for the most part, he spent relatively little time at home; typically, weekends would be spent at the factory where he would work on new projects and processes. In the old McKinley Avenue plant, the only sofa was in the ladies lounge. After long hours of agonizing over a process or a new invention, Lansing would often go to sleep on the sofa on Sunday night … only to be discovered the following Monday morning when the first secretary came in … usually with a shriek!
Jim Noble, a long-time associate of Lansing’s through the late thirties and the Altec years, told of his occasional disregard of other workers’ property when he was hot on the trail to a new technique or process. He would, as these stories go, open somebody else’s tool box and use a precision micrometer as a “C” clamp. Somehow, this does not ring true with the notion we have of the man as one who respected technology and had such high regard for precision processes.
Driven by a Desire
From his earliest days, Lansing was driven by a desire to make things the best way he could possibly envision. He was not limited by his lack of formal education and over the years had developed many skills. He had acquired a knowledge of differential and integral calculus, and he could perform the basic calculations in horn design, dividing network design, and the like. He probably understood magnetic theory as well as any loudspeaker designer of his day did. Just as important were his skills in manufacturing and his understanding of basic manufacturing and tooling processes.
His enthusiasm for his work and his products, when it ran high, ran extremely high, and people around him were swayed. Stories are still told about the enthusiasm he generated during field trips made in order to promote new products. When he was in a depression, there was no doubt about it; his gloom was transmitted to all around, and his temper tantrums could be fierce.
According to Bill Thomas, Lansing never lacked charm in social or business situations. His forte however was not that of a broad conversationalist; instead, he used his natural simplicity and sincerity to the fullest.
He is fondly remembered by all his family and professional associates, and his position as one of the pioneers in professional sound is unquestioned.
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