Jewel & R-K Test Set Photos
CONTRIBUTED BY FRANK BEQUAERT
An old book store can often yield mysteries, such as the following radio-related one contributed by Frank Bequaert. (Editor)
When Frank Bequaert of Bequaert Old Books in Fitzwilliam, N. H., comes across something interesting that is radio related, he thinks of A.R.C. Needless to say, we're delighted to pass on his latest find -- some mystery photos that were part of a lot of ephemera. Included in the lot were cards from two 1930s radio-based sources: one, the letterhead shown in Figure 1 (see print version or complete issue PDF), the Radio Technicians of San Diego, a professional organization; the other, the Southern California Music Company, a commercial operation.
The two are linked by the name Ralph B. Doherty on each card and the place, San Diego, California. They are pasted on a page punched with loose leaf holes, as if to go in Doherty's sales promo book. Doherty is named as the secretary of the Radio Technicians of San Diego, and the card is a notice of a regular meeting. Also, according to the card, the organization was founded in 1933.
The second card is Doherty's business card. It names his call sign, W6AKZ, and the company he must have represented as a wholesale distributor -- Western Radio and Electric Company, 1002 "B" Street, San Diego, Calif. The card is pasted on a sheet of paper with the letterhead "Edward H. Uhl, President," followed by "Southern California Music Company, 720-722 Broadway, San Diego, Cal."
Other notes pasted on the page are lists of all the things this music company must have sold; namely, "Everything Musical -- Pianos, Radios, Phonographs, Orchestra and Band Instruments, and Sheet Music."
Both photos are of radio set analyzers. From the late 1920s through the early 1930s, the better outfitted service shops used analyzers to perform radio testing. These instruments allowed the serviceman to plug the tester into a radio's tube sockets and measure voltage, resistance and current. However, as radio circuits became more complex and the number of tube types increased, so did the number of adapter cables needed to make the electrical connections between an analyzer and the radio to be tested. As a result, the analyzers became impractical.
Figure 2. A Jewel radio set analyzer plugged into a Victor Model 45 chassis.
Figure 3. A rare R-K Model V-7 radio test set.
Shown in Figure 2 is a radio set analyzer produced by the Jewel Electrical Instrument Company. The radio set being tested is a Victor Model 45. The tools in the foreground are early examples of the screwdrivers, socket wrenches, and pliers we use today.
Figure 3 shows another analyzer, a Model V-7 made by R-K Manufacturing Company of San Francisco. This photograph also provides a look at some tools and ancillary items such as the pocket battery tester, center front, and a soldering iron from that period, third from the right. As the photograph shows, globe-type vacuum tubes were in common use.
Radio set analyzers were made by a number of manufacturers with the Supreme Instruments Corporation being a major producer. The R-K tester is a rare bird.
The back side of the photos are both labeled with Ralph Doherty's name. One includes his handwritten initials "RBD," as well as "Radio Svc Manager, 1926-35." The other omits the initials but includes "SVC MGR 1926-1935." Both photos also have the name Southern California Music Co. and the address handwritten on them.
It is safe to assume that Ralph Doherty held two jobs -- as a wholesale distributor for one company and a service manager (presumably radio service) for another. Whether his secretarial job with the radio technicians was paid or volunteer is another mystery.
The photographs most probably are publicity shots meant to promote the company's service shop by showing the then up-to-date radio set analyzers and an array of hand tools.