Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Voices in the Air

Here's an early public commentary on radio, complete with photo of an early radio fan. Originally published in the April 22, 1922 issue of THE INDEPENDENT. Click the small pictures to see the kid and his set, and/or to read the article.

Here's the article in which it appeared:

Wonder who the kid is. He could still be alive today! What was it we were saying about rapid technological change?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Experimental Wireless Stations

Philip E. Edelman's book Experimental Wireless Stations includes some interesting photographs. Here's a one kilowatt amateur station from the 1920 edition:

Edelman's book was first published in 1912, and there was at least one other edition, in 1922. In recent times, the book has been reprinted by a number of companies that specialize in public domain works, and these can be found at Amazon by clicking on the book's title in the first paragraph. The BiblioBazaar edition listing on Amazon lets you look inside and see a few typical pages from one of the editions (probably 1920 or 1922). Thanks to Steve Davis for the scan!

Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony 1922

Here's the 1922 edition of A. P. Morgan's book; earlier editions were published in 1912 and 1915. Just for fun we see a couple of pictures of field radio equipment; unfortunately, the pictures themselves aren't dated. From Steve Davis.

Telefunken wireless cart, transmitter side:

And the receiver side (you couldn't exactly call this a transceiver):

As always, click on the images to bring forth magically the larger versions.

Wireless Telegraphy Manual from 1915

Steve Davis sends along scans of the cover and the introduction page from a wireless manual published in 1915. It's a good benchmark for just how things changed in the next ten years. Not to say things aren't changing now, but our radio is a somewhat different animal. As always, click on the image for a larger version.

And the Introduction: Consider how cool it must have been for the two teenagers in 1915, who could accomplish text messaging and all sorts of other advanced telegraphic geekery.

Gernsback Changes the World

Here's the cover of a late (1919) catalog from the Electro Importing Company, courtesy of Michael Holley. It was doing this company and these catalogs that got Gernsback into the magazine business, and if he hadn't done that...well, who knows how things would have played out differently?

Michael Holley has been adding extensively to the Wikipedia articles on Gernsback, his magazines, and his history in the field.

Radio Enters the Home

In 1922 RCA took an advertisement in the August issue of RADIO NEWS to publicize a book showing that radio was now ready for everyone to take home and dance to.

Here's that book cover image, shown in more detail:

Compare this to the back cover of the Sears radio catalog from 1924 (the first post in the blog), just two years later.

Personal Artifacts of the ARRL Founders

Steve Davis, who has sent dozens of cover scans to me for the website, included a duplicate with a note that it was signed by, and apparently belonged to, F. E. Handy, one of the early big cheeses of the ARRL. Here's an image of the cover of the December 1924 issue of QST, with what looks like both handwritten and rubber-stamped signatures of Handy (call signs 8BCM and 1BDI).

Poulsen Arc Radiophone Transmitter

Another image from Goldsmith's 1918 book.

You can buy a copy of the Goldsmith book for yourself.

Two Guides for Radio Constructors, Circa 1925

From Steve Davis, photoshopped for clarity:

Some Extremely Early Radio

From Alfred N. Goldsmith, "Radio Telephony" (Wireless Press; 1918). It's the "Berliner-Poulsen 3KW Arc Radiophone Station." Click for larger.

Hugo Gernsback and the Electro Importing Company

A recent immigrant from Luxembourg, Hugo Gernsbacher started a company to import European electrical and radio parts to sell to American enthusiasts. Soon he found himself publishing not just a catalog, but a magazine called MODERN ELECTRICS. Not surprisingly, EIC was a regular advertiser in this magazine. From the April 1910 issue (click to display larger version):

The World Changed

When radio became popular in the middle of the 1920's, the world changed. Staid marketers like Sears, Roebuck latched onto the new trend and remade themselves as the foremost purveyors of the new fad.

Have your teenaged friends over for a dance party, right in your own living room! Mom will feed the hungry crowd, and Dad will try to read his newspaper, but won't be able to resist tapping his toe to the music.

Special thanks to Radio material collector Steve Davis, for these images from his collection. [We Photoshopped them a bit to restore them to their original state.] Steve adds, "This Sears catalog was the first Sears radio-specific catalog, family and socially oriented. Earlier catalogs were electrical appliance catalogs, with radios in them." For more Radio material, try the site.