EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for February 2002
(Copyright 1996-2002 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Past and present frequently cross paths in our radio-collecting world. The recent death of Beatle George Harrison inspired a wave of nostalgia around the globe for the music of the 1960s and the age of Beatlemania. Just in time, it would seem, we received an article from Beatles fan and radio collector Ron Boucher on his novelty transistor radio, which he had seen used by the Beatles in a film on their first visit to the U. S. in 1964.
Radio historians know that it was 1954 when the Regency TR-1 entered the market as the first transistor radio. And here we are ten years later in Ron's article with this Pepsi radio, which was typical of the novelty radio genre used for advertising purposes in those times. Ron's set with its nice carrying case, is a particularly good specimen, as well as an interesting tie to the history of the Beatles.
With Wally Worth's article on the Chelsea Radio Company, we slip back several decades to the 1920s. According to Morgan McMahon's listing in his Radio Collector's Guide, this company must have been a fairly significant one in the Boston area since it produced sets from 1923 to 1927.
Thanks to Howard Stone's article on the 1906 Marconi Wavemeter, we have a glimpse of another even earlier piece of wireless history. This device measures the frequency of a transmission and was one of the first pieces of test equipment developed in early radio. The wavemeter was an extremely practical and useful piece of test equipment, particularly for ship-to-shore installations.
Unusual looking seems to be the best general description of the sets in Photo Review this month. Though basically a cathedral, the Claradyne 1927 has an unusual shape. The Zenith "Poketradio" also catches the eye with its swirled surface and the diagonal lines across the cover. In sharp contrast is the simple cube shape of the 1945 RCA 78 rpm demo phonograph. Through the decades, radio designers were hard at work creating different designs that captured the imaginations of consumers.
As we've had to say more than once, the unforgettable disaster of September 11 delayed reports of other happenings that we would have published long before this. One such is the spring meet of the Military Radio Collector's Group (MRCG) at Camp San Luis Obispo in California. We thank Hank Brown for keeping us up to date on this event, which grows every year, and for providing much additional material on individual sets.
Whenever we read about the activities at the MRCG weekend, we are struck by the hands-on approach to collecting for this group. They do not just collect, repair, and restore this equipment, they actually use it. There is also a sense that the event is "staged" in context and costume. These collectors really "get into it" and engage in a highly participatory kind of collecting.
John Hagman is obviously a man with a mission -- to revive the dead. He calls himself a radio "archeologist," and the name certainly seems to fit. In an article about restoring an Atwater Kent 545, he tells us not only how he restored the cabinet but also the chassis. We're grateful to John for having the foresight to take before and after photos.
Our congratulations to the Indiana Historical Radio Society on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, which they celebrated at their "Spring Festival." Herman Gross reports on a well attended 2-day event that attests once again to the health of the radio collecting community.
Radio Miscellanea contains a good safety tip about what is the best protection when working on any device with one side of the AC line connected to the chassis. Two letters address the problems and pleasures of swap meets, and another reveals the importance of passing an interest in radio from father to son. Our correspondence always reflects a wide variety of interests.
A.R.C. Benefits. Benefits abound in 2002! A new toll-free number, 866-371-0512; Discover and American Express added to Visa and MasterCard on our list of acceptable credit cards; books shipped free to addresses in the U. S. by book rate; and for subscribers, a ten percent discount on all book orders. To qualify for the discount, you must be a current subscriber and request the discount when you place your order (shipping must be to the address to which we mail your magazine).
Coming Radio Events. The short month of February brings us over 40 club events. As always, we hope to see you at Radio XXXIII in Westford, Mass., on Feb. 17. Last year, this event was attended by over 800 people, and our vendor area has expanded to three rooms. Other winter meets include the Michigan Antique Radio Club on Feb. 2, the Northland Antique Radio Club on Feb. 3, the Southeastern Antique Radio Club on Feb. 16, the Indiana Historical Radio Society on Feb. 16, and the Houston Vintage Radio Association's 3-day convention on Feb. 1-3. And remember -- the A.R.C. staff is looking forward to seeing you at Radio XXXIII!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover features the red, white and blue Pepsi novelty radio in its red leather carrier, the subject of the lead article by Ron Boucher. Ron treasures this transistor radio because he is also a Beatles fan and he has seen it in their hands in a 1964 film. Interesting connections matter in the world of radio collecting.