EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for January 2000
(Copyright 1996-2000 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
This is it -- the first A.R.C. issue of a new century -- a moment in time guaranteed to inspire thoughts of the future, as well as a nostalgic look at the past. Experience tells us, as collectors of vintage equipment, that the technological advances of the future will be even more extraordinary than those of the past. We, after all, deal daily with the mode of communication that revolutionized this century. Can we expect less of the next?
A look to the past confirms that many pioneers of radio history will always capture the imagination. We might start with Hertz and his proof of the existence of magnetic waves in 1888, or with Marconi and his first transatlantic wireless transmission in 1901. Armstrong, de Forest, and Sarnoff follow -- the list could go on -- and we can be justifiably proud of preserving the fruits of their labor. In doing that, we are very much a part of a force that has launched the technology of the future.
Our lead article by Ray Bintliff fits right in to these future-past reflections. Almost a century of Ham activities is recorded in a scrapbook found at a swap meet. Such a carefully compiled, personal record of an important aspect of radio history is a rare find indeed. Since preserving radio history is part of A.R.C.'s mission, we're grateful to Jeff Brooks for realizing the album's value and for lending it to us to share with you.
Often a good source of radio history is old magazines. Alton DuBois was inspired by 1920s ads in Popular Radio to re-create a Timbretone violin speaker. His subject also inspired us to let the horn blare out our millennium greeting on the cover of this issue. Everyone embarking on such a project should have Alton's luck -- he was able to see original Timbretones in a nearby museum and start his project from there.
Taking us back to another 20th century technological advancement, Tim Mullen writes about his prewar Emerson TV console. The set is very similar to the classic RCA TRK design, but Tim hopes to get more information on it from you readers.
To illustrate the little misunderstandings of history, Dave Crocker clarifies the difference between the compression-type condenser invented by Powel Crosley and one invented by Hugo Gernsback. Crosley used his own design, which predated Gernsback's patent.
As always, Photo Review features some interesting sets. Most unusual is the Atwater Kent speaker with a cabinet having a pointed top, as well as a W.W. Grant crystal set shown with a Northern Electric amplifier.
The tenth anniversary auction held by Eric's Auction Barn is surely a milestone in the annals of radio auctions. Ron Ramirez reports on the variety in evidence in the battery sets, horns, cathedrals, and consoles offered.Typical prices were an Atwater Kent breadboard selling at a very reasonable $500, a 1924 Neutrowound at $475, and a Zenith Trans-Oceanic at $100.
In his refreshing style, Richard Begbie, our down-under correspondent, writes of his struggle with and his ultimate triumph over the brittle pot-metal in a loudspeaker driver case. Like Jerry Wieland, who describes the conversion of an electrodynamic speaker to a permanent magnetic type in the December 1999 issue, Richard achieves a desirable goal -- a way to restore the original speaker, rather than resort to a reproduction.
Radio Miscellanea reports on the 30,000 broadcast QSLs collected by the Committee to Preserve Radio Verifications now housed at the University of Maryland's Library of American Broadcasting. New York's Radio Row continues to spark interest, but how about an article on Chicago's Radio Row? Perhaps there is someone out there to take up this challenge. Our Web site is a continuing subject of correspondence, and so the letters published this month prompt the following update on its status.
Web Site Update. We are two-thirds of the way to completion of the first phase of our Web site expansion. The auction prices are available to everyone, and the current classified ads are available to subscribers only. To say the least, there has been a great deal of agony involved in this process. For example, on occasion, our provider's server has been down; some passwords were not available because of a delay between the time you subscribe and the time the provider gets the information up; or search capabilities have broken down.
However, many of you who persevered seem to have been impressed by the exciting new features. Though most of the glitches have been overcome, some of you may still be having problems. If so, please contact us, and we will do our best to help resolve them.
The remaining one-third of the expansion phase should be up soon. Look for an improved and searchable "Marketplace" for books and back issues. We will also offer secure credit card transactions, although we have had no security problems to date without it.
Coming Radio Events. Over 30 events are scheduled for January 2000. The Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound have scheduled their monthly meeting for January 1, 2000, proving that antique radio collectors aren't afraid of the Y2K problem. Of particular note this month is the Central Ohio Antique Radio Association's 7th Annual Cabin Fever Show, January 29, in Reynoldsburg, Ohio -- just the thing to combat those winter blahs. I encourage you to attend a radio event near you this month and help usher our hobby into the year 2000.
Happy collecting and Happy New Millennium from all the A.R.C. staff.
John V. Terrey, Editor
Our cover this month was designed by staff artist Dave Crocker. The picture of a Timbretone horn speaker was taken from an original mid-1920s ad. The speaker, the subject of Alton DuBois' article in this issue, seemed a good way to shout our millennium best wishes to all you subscribers.
Here is an even larger view of this month's cover.
ON THE COVER