In 1992 a brilliant young team of innovators introduced a new revolutionary computerised control system for live entertainment lighting. Remarkably, the product had been created, from concept to completion, in less than a year.
The many challenges of their seemingly impossible task had led the three founders to name their company – with typical youthful exuberance – Flying Pig Systems. Their product kept to the pig theme with the name ‘Wholehog’. It too was an apt name as, in the context of the lighting control of the time, it did everything.
Unveiled at the PLASA Show at Earls Court 2 in September 1992, Wholehog stole the show, collecting PLASA’s Lighting Product of the Year Award. For the three founding Pigs – Nick Archdale, Nils Thorjussen and Tom Thorne – it was a vindication, a triumph of ingenuity, determination and just being too naïve to know when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
The three founders were destined to be high-flyers long before they became Flying Pigs. Archdale was a British lighting operator and engineering whizz-kid, an Imperial College drop-out whose experience of controlling the new breed of automated lights on the rave scene had led him to the concept for Wholehog. Thorne, a brilliant software engineer and Cambridge graduate, had collaborated with Archdale on a previous lighting control desk, the DLD-6502, and was redrafted for the Wholehog project. Thorjussen, a graduate of the University of Austin, Texas, who had subsequently met Thorne at Stanford University Business School, brought his pin-sharp business brain to the mix.