The Myers-Blackwell Company
BY ART REDMAN
If there's an early Northwest radio manufacturer to be found, Art Redman will unearth it. Here is another of his finds from his research of the 1920s when radio broadcasting made manufacturing radios an alluring prospect. (Editor)
The Myers-Blackwell Company Inc. engaged in light manufacturing of such items as tools and samples from 1921 to 1930. The company located at 462 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland, Oregon, began manufacturing novelty goods in 1921. The president headed by president and manager Francis P. Myers and partner Harlie A. Blackwell decided to make radio equipment after radio stations KGF, KGG and KGW went on the air during March 1922.
The loose coupler Myers-Blackwell crystal set which sold for ten dollars was made in 1923. It stands 6.5" tall setting on an 8.75" x 10.75" wood base with the cat whisker detector mounted horizontally to the underlying detector base. A slide tuner and loose coupler tune the crystal set.
When I first viewed the Myers-Blackwell crystal set owned by fellow NWVRS club member Jay Johnston, I thought it was a home-brew set because of its crude appearance. See Figure 1. The only identification for the crystal set is the paper label, resembling a business card glued on the bottom of the set, shown in Figure 2 (see print version or complete issue PDF). The company moved to 55 Union Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) in 1924, having given up the manufacturing of crystal sets. Instead, it centered on machine manufacturing until it went out of business in early 1930 due to the Great Depression.
Figure 1. The Myers-Blackwell crystal set.
The company also manufactured a double slide tuner crystal set which sold for six dollars, according to Volume 1 of Maurice Shivers' Crystal Clear. It is also listed in the price bulletin of the radio firm of Hallock and Watson, which sold the two crystal sets. The late Don Iverson of the Northwest Vintage Radio Society is one of those credited with providing descriptions, facts and photos for the book Crystal Clear.
Photo credit: Jay Johnston
Hallock and Watson Radio Price Bulletin No. 1.
Johnston, Jay. Member of the Northwest Vintage Radio Society (NWVRS.)
Polk's Portland City Directories 1921 to 1930:, Portland, Oregon: Polk Publishing.
Redman, Art. "Station 7XG: Oregon's First Radio Station," Antique Radio Classified, February 2008.
Sievers, Maurice L. Crystal Clear, Volume 1: Chandler, Arizona: Sonoran Publishing Inc., 1991.
Art Redman, a charter member of the Northwest Vintage Radio Society, is a frequent contributor to the Society's newsletter "The Call Letter." His current interest is doing research on Pacific Northwest radio manufacturers.