VOLUME 16 JULY 1999 NUMBER 7
EDITOR'S COMMENTSFrom Antique Radio Classified for July 1999
(Copyright 1996-9 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Reminding collectors of the significance of radio to life in the 20th century may seem like preaching to the converted. But, in many ways, our Australian correspondent Richard Begbie's article on Alfred Traeger, the "Pedal Radio Man," does just that.
Reading the Traeger article, we are once again struck by the power of radio to spread to remote corners of the world. And, we can't help but think how amazing it is that, in the footsteps of Marconi, someone in far off Australia could also take a concept that had been around for years and apply it to the real and immediate problems of his countrymen.
As collectors, we sometimes romanticize radio, but this article brings home its enormous practical value. Traeger's pedal radio, a clever application of engineering, proved to be the salvation of the Australian outback settlers. Whether on sea or land, we are reminded that, in creative and practical hands, radio has been both a kind of miracle and a tool of progress.
And of course, A.R.C.'s mission is to spread the word about these radio "miracles" to our readers throughout the world. One other way to do that is to be an exchange for information. Robert Enemark fills that bill with his compilation of responses received from fellow collectors across the U. S. and Canada regarding his May 1998 article on Edison's light bulb surely, another 20th century miracle.
Two interesting conclusions may be drawn from Walter Hall's story about his vintage Western Electric Model 4A phonograph pickup: 1) This electro/mechanical device was built so well that it still works 70 years later; 2) It could still be used to play a modern disk. One wonders if a device made today will be compatible with an equivalent device made 70 years from now. I confess to skepticism.
A fortunate find for Richard Arnold was his rare Philco 44H. We're pleased that he decided to share the experience of his restoration project.
Photo Review includes a Mignon "RW-4" an extremely rare, early wireless receiver, which has a tubular Audion connected to binding posts on the front panel. It is also rare to have an "Oops!" on this page. We show front and back views of two cathedrals correctly paired. In the May 1999 issue, we had incorrectly shown the front of one of these sets with the back of the other.
Howard Hood's story of restoring an RCA Model T-80 is really the story of a collector's dream come true. How many of us have looked at a junker and dreamed of finding replacement parts to restore it? Well, Walter had the rare opportunity of finding two radios of the same model from which to make one restored set. He also had the foresight to photograph one of the sets before the transformation. His luck is our luck too.
Four auction reports from across the country and the U.K. tell us that our reach to the radio world is widening. We are particularly grateful to those contributors, like Dale Donalson and the intrepid Ray Chase, who spend long hours compiling these reports for A.R.C.
The Southern California Antique Radio Society auction was a big one, totalling almost $20,000. Early battery sets sold well, as indicated by a Grebe Synchrophase's selling price of $1,100. A damaged Fada Catalin sold for $540. Two small auctions had limited radio content, but as Ray Chase will attest, there could always be "sleepers" in such sales.
Thanks to Parkman Shaw who passed a Christie's catalog on to us, we are able to report on the May 8 radio auction in London. Christie's graciously provided photos, and thus, a report evolved. Although British and European sets predominated, U.S. sets also sold well. A rare Marconi receiver and a magnetic detector sold for nearly $17,000 each.
Dick Desjarlais continues his journey through WebTV land. In this installment, he buys it, takes it home, hooks it up, and turns it on. Dick has been launched into cyberspace and promises to continue to report on his adventures.
As always, we're pleased to have a book review by longtime contributor Paul Joseph Bourbin. Paul gives Barry Nadel's bookThe Western Electric Loud Speaker and Horn Compendiumseveral thumbs up. And a short piece by Alcev Massini of Brazil about his search for a book on TV attests to our increasing, international outreach. Alcev longs for a book on TV like the Bunis books on radio. We hope someone out there hears his plea.
Radio Miscellanea contains two very positive responses to our 15th anniversary issue, as well as one about the nostalgia evoked by our April cover. April's 1-tube radio article also takes a little ribbing. Special good news on this page is that putting ads on the Web will be of great benefit to people with hearing loss who have trouble using the telephone.
Internet Update. Turn to page 23 for an update on our Web site expansion. You will also see where your log-on ID and your password are located on your mailing label. I urge you to check the A.R.C. Web site regularly for updated Web site information.
Coming Radio Events. The summer event season is revving up. There are 36 meets in July, two of which are multiday meets. I encourage you to pack your car and attend at least one of these in your area for some good radio talk and maybe even a sale or two.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover photo is one of several originals that the Rev. Dr. Fred McKay graciously consented to loan to us. The photo appears in Rev. McKay's book, Traeger: The Pedal Radio Man, where he describes it as "the photograph that is now so historically and universally famous." The photo was taken by the Rev. John Flynn, revered in the Australian outback for his passion to bring medical security to the settlers there and the driving force behind Traeger's invention. At Flynn's insistence upon first seeing the pedal generator, Treager put on his Sunday suit for this "very important photograph."