EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for September 2007
(Copyright 1996-2007 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
One of the enduring pleasures of being a vintage radio collector is that we're part of an era in which a ceaseless effort to improve communication has been a goal for the industry. Each decade of the last century brought new theories, new improvements in order to make a better product -- yes, for profit, but also for better communication. For example, when radio challenged newspapers as the primary daily communicator of news in the early 20th century, it was not long before attempts were made to bridge the gap between the two.
In our lead article, Michael Banks takes us to the mid-1930s when William G.H. Finch and others began to put the concept of printed news transmitted by radio into production. Radio FAX seemed a good business bet because almost everyone had a radio, despite the hard times of the Depression.
However, the listener also had to buy a printer and maybe a timer, if he wanted the printer to go on at appropriate times. Money was tight, sales were slow, and the product was short-lived. Furthermore, by 1940, television, the next big communicator, challenged radio for consumer attention.
Today FAX is still with us, though not by radio, and the Internet is challenging nearly every aspect of communication. Still, hard copy newspapers, television, and radio endure, we're happy to report.
Another example of an attempt to both capitalize and improve on the use of radio sets also came in the 1930s. John Eckland's article on the Magnavox Company describes the inclusion of phonographs to enhance Magnavox radios. Advancing technology to improve the fidelity of speakers naturally followed, and so we moved on into an era of producing better sound systems. Better audio means better communication.
During these years of rapid change in the radio industry, no name was any more prominent than Crosley. In this issue, Dave Crocker, our resident Crosley expert, reviews the bestseller book on the Crosley Company and the brothers who built it. An interesting aside is that the book is co-authored by Michael Banks who also wrote our lead article on Radio FAX. It must be an exceptional book if Dave says he was surprised to find that he couldn't put it down.
Howard Stone was more than surprised at the contents of a Knight capacitor checker which, after years of ownership, he had to open for repair. This story reminds us of a basic premise of radio collecting -- never pass up a box in an antique store or any other venue. Open it because it might contain a treasure waiting to be rescued, or, as in this case, a story waiting to be told. You never know.
Many times we never do know what we have found. Let's hope that won't prove true for Tom Stevens who seeks information about his JARS variable condenser. Because of Tom's fine photos, we can see that it looks like a well manufactured radio component. If someone out there has a clue about a company named JARS, we would like to do our usual thing -- be a communicator of information.
Ray Chase helps us to do just that all the time with his reports on Estes Auctions, which sometimes unearth rare items and which always tell us something about market prices. This February auction contained no high-end, super rare items, but offered a good broad selection of both early and late sets. Total proceeds were over $50,000.
One area did stand out -- the many unusually well-made home brews, a couple of which brought over $100. It was also unusual for a piece of test equipment, a Model 39C tube tester, to be the third highest selling item at $850. In all, this was another Estes good show.
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. With cooler weather and the return from vacations, activities are revving up for the fall. Listed for the month are 10 meets, 27 meetings, and 8 auctions -- something for everyone, so be sure to join the action.
John V. Terrey, Editor
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.
ON THE COVER
Our cover shows a typical printout of a weather report transmitted by radio facsimile. It was supplied by Michael Banks for his article on radio FAX. In this case, the printer was a Crosley Reado which turned out copy on a 5-inch wide strip of heat-sensitive paper similar to that used by later calculators and FAX machines.