EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for December 2003
(Copyright 1996-2003 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
The advent of winter and the holiday season has its own special sense of nostalgia and excitement. After a summer of intense radio activity, we batten down the hatches of outdoor events and look inward to family activities and our neglected workbench projects. This is a time when we may also become more reflective and think about the future of our collections and of our hobby in general.
This thought brings me to our lead article by Geoff Shearer about his daughter Becky's interest in collecting antique radios. How wonderful it is to know that there may be a serious young collector in our future. Becky is pictured at ages three, five, and eight with old radios she likes, and we learn that she has been collecting almost since age one. Tube testing is obviously her thing, and we think a message to the Santa on our cover should include an order for a special tester for Becky.
Hats off to Geoff and all his colleagues along the radio circuit who encourage Becky's interest. In our August 2003 issue, Walter Heskes' article about his five-year old "Radio Twins" evoked a similar sentiment. As we all know, the next generation of collectors is vital to the preservation of radio history.
And on that subject, thanks to Paul Joseph Bourbin for his article on the 1999 centennial commemoration of the first wireless transmission to the West Coast. We have to put this article in the "better late than never" category, since it was misplaced in our files. However, the subject remains of historical interest in that the California wireless link to announce the arrival of a Spanish American War troopship into San Francisco in 1899 can compete with the more commonly known Marconi East Coast transmissions.
For those interested in a later period in radio history, we offer two articles on AC sets. Richard Arnold reports that, much to his surprise, there is more than one Philco "Flying Wedge." His earlier article on the Model 49-503 led to information about the 49-203. And so, one thing leads to another in this pursuit of radio history.
Another AC set is certainly a mystery. Jerry Wieland would like to find out more about the Kroehler that he so painstakingly has restored. No doubt, fellow collectors will share information with him as they did with Richard Arnold, and we will offer a follow-up.
Photo Review offers a wide range of items, from microphones to TVs, from communications receivers to a Ham transmitter. Certainly the least commonly seen set is the 1946 Transvision TV sold by Gimbel's.
Reports on two major meets actually extend Photo Review this month -- Radiofest and Extravaganza. Daniel Schoo has not only described the happenings at ARCI's Radiofest but also supplied many photos, including some illustrating the theme of the meet -- Chicago manufacturers. The result is an overview of unusual items that often show up at such meets.
Radiofest offered the same kind of frenzied activity as Extravaganza. The auction brought $8,000 and was highlighted by an E.H. Scott Allwave 23 selling at $3,000. Seminars included a hands-on, build-it-yourself crystal set session, as well as one on basic repairs.
Both Radiofest and Michigan's Extravaganza can be relied upon to be enjoyable, comprehensive, successful meets. Extravaganza, reported here thanks to John Reinicke, has a packed 350-space flea market, an outdoor tent for rental tables, a Ladies Luncheon, seminars, entertainment, a contest, even a "Radio Rescue" table. The top items in the $15,000 auction were two Atwater Kent breadboards selling at $650 and $700, and a Philco Radio Bar at $700.
Both of these events are open to the public and do much to encourage newcomers to the hobby. We commend their organizers for their efforts.
A holiday gift suggestion lies in a book review by Jeffrey Crocker, son of longtime A.R.C. staff member Dave Crocker. Here's another example of interest in antique radios being passed from one generation to another. Jeff describes how he came upon Daniel Stashower's The Boy Genius and the Mogul, the story of TV pioneer Philo T. Farnsworth. Jeff's enthusiasm for the subject led to this review, which is a strong endorsement of the book.
Follow-up articles may take several years to appear, but they are worth waiting for, as Ragnar Otterstad's reminder about a Paris radio shop attests. We like the idea that an American traveler's visit to a Paris radio shop leads to a Norwegian traveler's visit to the same shop years later. It's clear that interaction across continents matters in our pursuit of radio preservation.
Continue Your Holiday Shopping. Order books for family and friends. Toll free number, (866) 371-0512; the Web: www.antiqueradio.com. Discover, Visa, American Express, and MasterCard accepted; books shipped free in the U. S. by book rate; and to current subscribers, a ten percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. As always radio events slow down in the holiday season. However, 19 meetings, six swap meets, one Estes Auction, and seven holiday parties are listed. Be sure to join in wherever you can.
Happy Holidays and Happy Collecting!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover shows Santa receiving orders through his headset connected to a typical 1923 battery set. The original is the color cover of the Fonda, New York, Mohawk Daily Democrat newspaper, dated December 13, 1923. The copyright was held by the Western Newspaper Union, Est. 1836. Other pages include ads indicative of the holiday season, such as for toys like large "Mama Dolls" for $2.75, and for gifts like gloves from 98¢ to $2.25 and bathrobes from $3.50 to $13.75. Shades of a different time.
Here is a larger version of the cover!