Who and what are BEL/Bell Labs amplifiers

I have noted several times the existence of a company called BEL or BELL Labs and their amps seem to be geared towards the high end market, and yet, I cannot find any sort of information about them, just the fact that they sometimes appear in the used market. What sort of company is or was BEL/BELL and what is the typical sound and look of their units. Are they simply a relic or are they just some very well kept secret. Is there are website with detail description of them?
I know this is an old thread but I felt compelled to add my 2 cents.

Adjusting for inflation from the 1980s would yield most of that increase in price. As the previous poster noted, all of these units are hand made by the designer himself.

In the 1980s, I met Mr. Brown, through a friend, and auditioned his gear at his home in Northern California. At the time he sold perhaps 200 BEL 1001s per year. Considering the number of units made, he earned a modest low six-figures income. It's clear that Mr. Brown cares more about making a top product than making money. He could have become a multi-millionaire by increasing quantity through mass production, advertising, etc. but cared about quality instead. (BEL doesn't even have a website.) Such care and labor costs must be accounted for in the cost of each unit.

I was torn when I finally sold my 1001 in 2000, in order to go multi-channel.

The only risk for a BEL buyer is what also made it great. Dick Brown is basically a one-man show. As of this post he's probably in his mid to late 50s. At some point he's going to voluntarily or involuntarily stop making this product.
So how can we find this International Mysto Man (IMM) should we want product? I once heard two of these powering a set of AP Virgos. I thought I'd fallen into the big band studio when I cranked up Rob McConnell & Boss Brass on Immedia TT! Tell me where he is, puleeeze! Alex in NZ
Unfortunately, Dick Brown passed away this week. This from a long-time dealer of his who has known him well for years.
Dick's obituary was published online:
Richard D. Brown
It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of Richard D. Brown on 10/10/09 after a sudden illness. Richard was born on 9/10/40 in Duluth, Minnesota, fourth of five boys to Roy and Martha Brown. He had a challenging childhood, due to illnesses of his parents and their early deaths. The brothers lived apart periodically in different foster homes. In April of 1958, four months shy of his 18th birthday, Richard joined the Marine Corp where he excelled. He became an expert marksman in the 2nd Force Recon in 1961 and spent another three years in the reserves. While in the service he learned electronics as a craft and soon showed the brilliance which marked his electronic career. After military service, Richard worked for Control Data in Minneapolis until he moved to Sunnyvale, Ca in 1966, working for Raytheon Co. He met the love of his life while skiing at Lake Tahoe and married her in 1969. They moved to San Jose and lived there until his death. During the recession of 1976, Richard left Raytheon and started his own business manufacturing audio power amplifiers of his own design. He named his business Brown Electronic Laboratories. From his original model BEL 2002 Power Amps to the current model 1001 Mark V, Richard produced some of the finest music reproduction equipment ever built for the music lovers. He was highly respected by the audiophile community. Richard was a genius and a member of Mensa. He was an accomplished painter, photographer, designer, intellectual and a perfectionist. Besides enjoying music of all kinds, his passion consisted also of watching Formula 1 car racing, bird and nature photography, hiking and bicycling. He is preceded in death by his parents, his younger brother, Warren and is survived by his beloved wife, Sue and three older brothers, Roy, Pat and Tom. He will be missed greatly by all. Donation can be made in his name to the CJD Foundation. P.O. Box 5312 Akron, Ohio 44334. They can be reached at www. cjd foundation. org.