EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for August 2007
(Copyright 1996-2007 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Look no further for a top candidate for your summer reading list. The big news in radio-collecting land is the publication of Eric Wenaas's stunning book Radiola -- The Golden Age of Radio. Few of us would retire from our careers and move immediately into the arduous labor of writing a book, but Eric Wenaas did just that. In our lead article, Eric describes his five years of painstaking research on Radiola and RCA's first decade -- its "Golden Age."
He began by completing his own collection insofar as possible, calling on the collections of others, and, finally, making 18 trips over three years to the Clark Radioana Collection at the Smithsonian. His goal was to publish a "comprehensive, pictorial book in color focusing on Radiola apparatus and associated advertisements, brochures, and instructions." He has succeeded in spades. This is a handsome, 475-page book from which a collector at any level of experience can gain new information.
Certainly this assessment is borne out in Alan Douglas's review of the Wenaas book. Alan himself is a well known radio historian whose three-volume series Radio Manufacturers of the 1920's is a standard reference for collectors. His Volume 3 contains 60 pages on what he calls only an "outline of RCA's exploits." In contrast, Alan says that this is "the ultimate Radiola reference book, with detailed information on each model." He also says, "You definitely won't be disappointed."
Disappointment is not in John Hagman's lexicon when he goes to the Delaware Valley Historical Radio Club (DVHRC) meet at Kutztown, Pennsylvania. John's report conveys the general excitement and camaraderie at this very successful meet, as well as his own pleasure in being there. Even his dogs have a great time!
Speaking of great times, Richard Arnold seems to find his version of such in searching for old radios and digging up information about their manufacturers. In writing an article on his 1930s Aztec cathedral, Richard became interested in its manufacturer, Fred W. Stein, the designer of Steinite radios. He then dug into his own archives and found Robert Lane's story of a personal interview with Fred Stein. There's little doubt that Richard is indefatigable when he's on the trail of radio history.
An exploding capacitor or a burning dial is no one's idea of a great time. Two such dangerous events described in articles by Steve Auyer and Tom Pamula in our March issue prompted responses from six readers. Apparently, these experiences are not as uncommon as we might wish. The articles triggered memories, and some readers relate similar experiences, while others offer precautionary or explanatory comments. We welcome your comments or follow-ups to all our articles.
In his intriguing Case of the Dead Gennies, Walter Lindenbach speculates on another kind of explosive event -- a power failure during one of Tesla's fireworks displays in his Colorado Springs laboratory back in 1899. Walter weaves together three tales: a personal incidence of power loss, Tesla's fireworks demonstration, and the Colorado Springs generator failure. All of which goes to prove that retired engineers, like yours truly, never quit searching for a solution, no matter how old the problem.
Unfortunately, the Estes Auctions report in this issue does not have the Ray Chase flare for details and photos. Ray, our regular reporter, could not attend, and Estes did not provide photos. However, for the record, we include here about 25 percent of the over 1,000 items offered.
A.R.C. Benefits. Be sure to take advantage of A.R.C. benefits: a toll-free number (866) 371-0512; Discover, MasterCard, American Express, Visa accepted; the Web, www.antiqueradio.com; books shipped free in the U. S. by USPS media mail; and for current subscribers, a 10 percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. These are the days to enjoy outdoor events. Listed this month are 23 meetings, 14 meets, and 6 auctions. Be sure to attend at least one in your area, and I hope to see many of you in Rochester, New York, where AWA has its annual big one.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover this month is a reproduction of the cover of a 1923 Buscher catalog from the John V. Terrey collection. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, Buscher supplied complete sets, instruments, parts and supplies, and claimed to be the largest wholesale radio distributor in the Southwest.
Printed without comment
We continue to receive reports from advertisers of e-mail responses to their classified ads proposing to pay them with a check, sometimes via a third party, in excess of the purchase price. The seller is asked to refund the difference by wire. In more than one case reported to A.R.C., the check received was "bad."
To minimize problems, we suggest that you always know whom you are dealing with or ask for references.