VOLUME 16 MAY 1999 NUMBER 5
EDITOR'S COMMENTSFrom Antique Radio Classified for May 1999
(Copyright 1996-9 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Something about May always points to stepped-up activity and a sense of anticipation in the radio-collecting community. A.R.C. is no exception, for we are looking forward to our 15th anniversary special issue in June, and to a new phase of publishing as the millennium approaches ads on the net for subscribers only. Today's activity looks to the future, while, like true collectors, we savor the past.
Our lead article on the Atwater Kent Company falls neatly into that present-future-past pattern. Although it covers an event only three years old, three years is not much in the old-radio scheme of things. In 1996, just before the demolition of the old Atwater Kent Building No. 2 factory, a 1929 cornerstone containing a time capsule was opened. Inside the capsule was an Atwater Kent Model 55 radio, along with other memorabilia. Fortunately, both the 1929 and 1996 events were well covered on film or video, and the story is told in our pages this month.
This article grew in unexpected ways. Our cover photo of an Atwater Kent window display from the late 1920s had been sent to us separately. It seemed an appropriate companion to the Atwater Kent article. Then, in the center of the photo display, we noticed an unusual set a Model 37 "Modernistic." The result is a short piece on this set as well.
We are grateful to those who contributed to this article, but we especially thank Atwater Kent historian Ralph Williams for much of it. Coincidentally, our early reprint is William's first "A-K Breadboard Review."
A few months ago, we ran a piece on Cliff Gardner and his work for Philo Farnsworth. In this issue, Alan Betz furnishes photos and a detailed explanation of the operation of Farnsworth's image dissector tube.
Following on the television theme, Phil Whitney writes about the early days of mechanical television. The 45- and 60-line systems Phil mentions produced a crude picture compared to today's 525-line system.
The folks in the Mid-Atlantic Antique Radio Club have had a busy time with the founding of the Radio Historical Society (independent of the club) and its new museum in Bowie, Md. Ken Mellgren and Charles Rhodes tell just how it all happened. We wish all involved in this project success in what often turns out to be a long-term, sometimes difficult, labor of love.
In his report on Radio XXX in Westford, Mass., Dave Crocker remarks on the amazing growth of this event. Radio XXX, now managed by A.R.C., boasts of one of the largest attendance totals of any radio meet in the U. S. As Dave says, it's "a Class A event."
Two auction reports are included this month. The hot items at the Harris auction in September 1998 in Marshalltown, Iowa, were early sets ranging from a Kennedy VI selling for $325 to a DeForest W-5-F selling for $1,050. And, Ray Chase reports on a January Arner general auction in Mahoning Valley, Pennsylvania, which included a number of radios. Ray's report shows how important it is to be aware of the condition of items in auctions. Obviously, better condition brings higher prices; poorer condition brings considerably lower prices.
When Fred Geer rescued a 4-tube TRF set from the landfill, he may not have realized how challenging its restoration would turn out to be. His problems began with removing the chassis from the cabinet and continued from there. Fred reminds us that necessary compromises may lead to imperfect but satisfying results.
Photo Review illustrates our world-wide reach with photos of a Brazilian Invictus television set sent by Alceu Massini of Brazil and a Kitcraft radio sent by Erwin Macho of Austria. The foreign contributions are rounded out by equally interesting fare from U.S. contributors.
Radio Miscellanea includes more on lubrication of potentiometers, on A.R.C.'s Web plans, and on the Remler Infra+Dyne. Also, a longer letter suggests that many collectors find it difficult to attend meets that concentrate their activities during the work week.
We run another of our Internet articles to present the Internet to those of you who may not be online yet or are novices to this new medium. The article summarizes A.R.C.'s links to over 200 Web sites.
And, we present the first part of Dick Desjarlais' journey into the word of the Internet. Dick, at A.R.C.'s encouragement, will be sharing his experience of going from an "I don't even know how to spell it" guy to being a full-fledged cybersurfer. His vehicle will be WebTV.
Internet. Speaking of the Internet, our work to expand our Internet site continues. We are trying hard to add features that many of you have requested, but our efforts must be kept within the confines of a small publication's budget. However, it will happen soon.
15th Year Specials. We continue our discounts on full-year back issue purchases. And, our 15th year subscription rates are our standard rates for 1999.
Coming Radio Events. Over 46 collector events are listed this month. Multiday events include the Military Radio Collectors Group Meet in California, the Houston Vintage Radio Association Mega Auction in Texas, and the Northland Antique Radio Club's Radio Daze in Minnesota. Unfortunately, A.R.C. has decided not to exhibit this year at the Dayton, Ohio, Hamvention. Put a trip to one of these on your calendar.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover features a 1928 publicity photo of a window display used by the Southern Wholesalers firm in Washington, D.C., distributor of Atwater Kent products.
M.A. Leese Co., the company in the photo, was located on 11th St., N.W., in downtown Washington. Well known for retailing, the company also owned Station WMAL at 630 on the dial, which remained for years at this same site. Leese's trade in phonograph records led to a relationship with radio stars like Eddie Gallagher, Arthur Godfrey, and Arch MacDonald.
We're grateful to Sidney Greenspan, who sent the photo to A.R.C., after it had been given to him by Bill O'Connor, last owner of Southern Wholesalers.
Click here for a larger view of this month's cover!