[ paragon ] : model, accomplished type
A word inherited from the 12th century italian [paragono], through the 13th century anglo-normand [paragone], with a spanish variant [parangòn] giving way to the 15th century french [parangon] and, in parallel, the english [paragon].
The anglo-normand source meant "touchstone", or that to which other things are compared. In one word : the model, the reference.
If fairly often used in french, that word since the sixth decade of the 20th century mainly describes a loudspeaker made in California.
Only about a thousand were produced but many people do remember that Paragon, even if they haven't seen one.
Hand-made like only the 1960s allowed to, it is probable that no two Paragons are alike, from the glorious days when high-efficiency ruled and DIY audio still was most of what was to become a market : high-fidelity.
Between 1958 and 1984, a team of six people adjusted and assembled the parts, laminated veneers, rubbed the finish and made sure that each was perfect - a parangon of human craftsmanship.
Several versions were made during a continous production run which lasted for twenty-seven years and ended with specific models (re)made for the ever JBL-hungry japanese market : C44 Metregon, C44 Metregon with a built-in JBL SE405 amplifier, C46 Minigon and even a mini Paragon miniature made, this time, by Fostex.
Even if the project wasn't exactly born at JBL, that brand made it come true, with the help of a wonderful designer named Arnold Wolf, a man who, among other design gems, made the L88 Nova or Aquarius 2A.
Retrospectively, the Paragon probably is the one and only loudspeaker deserving a place in any museum's sculpture department.
The history of the Paragon and where it came from at lansingheritage.org ; Arnold Wolf and JBL also there and another Paragon here.