EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for August 2000
(Copyright 1996-2000 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
San Francisco, the Cow Palace, 1956. In technological terms, it seems eons ago. Our cover drawing takes us back to the first fully televised political convention when the G.O.P. gathered to re-elect "Ike and Dick." More than 120,000 attended the 4-day event, and people lined up for hours just to tour the newly created TV studios and the arena setup. Hundreds volunteered to be part of the process.
That was then; this is now. Today, media overload is the norm, and, in fact, the media create the event. The conventions this summer are staged, scripted, almost non-events. They remind us of how far, for better or worse, technology has taken us. And as collectors who work to preserve a part of that technological history, we can't help but wonder where it will all end.
Still, part of the pleasure of collecting is learning about how things actually were -- in this case, before the media wholly saturated the public's sensibilities. Dorothy Schecter's article, which takes us back to the 1950s when TV first became a political powerhouse, is based on a book by Cow Palace manager Edward Diran. The article tries to capture the excitement conveyed by newscasters of the day at the Palace as they reported on Ike and Dick, and later on JFK and Barry Goldwater. As Diran says, "The 1956 Republican National Convention... stands as a landmark for the Palace, the political system, the media, and the American people."
Taking us still further back into the past and its technological wonders, Wally Worth writes about loose couplers and crystal sets. In those early years, an operator didn't just sit back and tune a knob after he'd built a set. He had to adjust the crystal detector and move those big coils back and forth. This was not the age of the couch potato and his remote control.
To aid in the repair of these early sets, Sherman Wolf reports on a company that makes custom cables to order. This company is a real find. Obviously battery cable replacement for radios alone would not generate enough business for the company, but it also makes replica automotive electrical harnesses for cars of the 1910 to 1960 period. Two groups of collectors are the beneficiaries.
Thanks to Jim Wilson and Dave Crocker, we have an article on an unusual Crosley sales promotion piece. No, not the more common "Bonzo," but a 3' tall papier mâché "Crosley Lady." This lady was part of a window display offered to Crosley dealers in 1929. Such a fragile piece in good condition is a rare find.
This month we include reports on two Southern California Antique Radio Society (SCARS) events. Thurston Armstrong summarizes the February auction, a highly successful event generating sales of more than $22,000. One of several well received E.H. Scott sets, an Allwave 23, sold for $1,325.
The second SCARS event was the April swap meet and luncheon, which I had the good fortune to attend while in California on a business trip. It was a most enjoyable visit with old and new friends. Both these events prove that the West Coast activities compare very well with those east of the Rockies.
The advice offered by Alton DuBois, Jim Gauldin, and Robert Goad to beginners in radio collecting and repair is the kind of thing A.R.C. likes to do -- spread any word that helps folks to preserve old radios.
Another in Eric Wrobbel's series of booklets on transistor radios is reviewed by John DeLoria. Toy Walkie Talkies complements one of Eric's other books, Toy Crystal Radios. John describes this book as "fun and informative" -- words that fit the entire series.
Photo Review features an unusual Standard horn speaker, an Aria Catalin, an Austrian crystal set, and an RCA Victor communications receiver. Perhaps the most unusual item is a 1920s microphone used by KDKA.
Radio Miscellanea includes another book suggestion for beginners and more feedback on previous articles. The Net continues to inspire exchanges, and of course, a kudos or two is always welcome.
The Internet. We're glad to report that the classified ads have been up for a couple of months in a timely fashion. Now we are releasing them on the target date -- the date for the earliest receipt of the magazine by mail. In addition, just as we send free samples of past issues to anyone who asks, we will make the ads from the two previous months available to all. However, only subscribers will be able to access the ads from the current magazine. In this way, we create a larger market that benefits both subscribers and advertisers. We reach not only the avid collector/subscriber but also the person who may want to buy or sell just one radio. We believe that this is a win/win plan.
Coming Radio Events. There are over 40 meets scheduled for August. Mark your calendar for the 3-day ARCI Radiofest XIX on August 4-6 in Elgin, IL. Also this month are ARCO's 10th Annual Radio Show in Dayton, Ohio; the NWVRS Summer Swap Meet in Oregon City, Oregon; and the Museum of Radio & Technology's Summer Heat Traders show in Huntington, West Virginia, all on August 12; the IHRS Summer Meet on August 19 in Elkhart, Indiana, and PSARA's 18th Annual Swap Meet in Seattle, Washington, on August 20. Attend one of these meets, or one near you. You'll be glad you did.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The "Convention Season" drawing on our cover was contributed by Mark Ohmann of Belgrade, Minnesota. It is a section of a flyer provided by Philco to dealers of the 1950s. Not shown is the name of the dealer N.S. Ohmann of Ohmann Electric, Albany, Minnesota. According to Mark, a third generation antique radio repairman, N.S. began building home brews from kits in the 1920s. Selling these led to a full-blown Philco dealership from the 1930s to the 1950s. An article on page 17 provides further information about the drawing's political content.