Back in the day of the great two-channel receiver dinosaurs, before the great FTC power specifications wars, and before the coming of digital sound, the speakers of the day could generally be classified in either of two ways.
One, the "east coast sound" was characterized by a bump in the upper mid bass, a subdued mid-range and fairly reticent highs. This suited classical and light acoustic music since it closely approximated the sound one would find in "classical" venues such as a big, well-padded hall. Several speakers of that day that pioneered and offered this type of sound were Acoustic Research (AR) with their AR 3 and it's siblings, KLH with its Models 5, 6 and others. Coincidentally, these were started in and around Boston. Ergo, it became called the "east coast" (or "New England") sound. In addition to AR and KLH, other New England sound purveyors were Advent and Boston Acoustics. Advent was started by Henry Kloss, who was the "K" in "KLH" and which he co-founded when he left the employ of Edgar Villchur, with whom he co-founded AR to work with on the original AR acoustic suspension speakers back in the 50's.
Now, on the other coast, companies like JBL and Altec were selling speakers that offered a punched up mid-range and high end. Since their roots were in movie theatre sound, this was a natural evolution. These were used extensively in the recording studios of the day and odds are that virtually any classic rock recordings you own were made using JBL monitors. As time went on, these became popular for home use and when JBL got wise to this, they released the JBL L-100, which became the poster boy for the "west coast" sound.