From Antique Radio Classified for March 1997
(Copyright 1996-7 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)

My first reaction was shock when I heard the news that GEC-Marconi will auction its archives of original Marconi documents and equipment in April at Christie's South Kensington, England. Then my collector's instincts took hold, and I felt a wave of excitement as I pondered a chance to own a Marconi treasure.

How about a wireless message transmitted from the Titanic, or Marconi's diary from 1901 where he recorded the first trans-Atlantic wireless transmission, or the actual earphone used in receiving that transmission? These are only three of the hundreds of items to be offered!

StilI, I also must admit to feeling disappointed that another historical collection is to be broken up and dispersed. This is a sentiment that is shared by others and has set in motion efforts to keep the collection from its auction block fate.

Our first report on this important event is the lead article in this issue. Thanks to Jim Kreuzer of New Wireless Pioneers, we received an early copy of the press release announcing the auction. Our article is prepared from that release and from additional information furnished by Christie's. Christie's has also posted photos and information about the auction on its web site.

Although today Marconi might not be happy about the potential fate of his legacy, he would be proud to see the progress of communications in the 100 years since his momentous invention. As with the Ford Museum auction, we will keep our readers up-to-date on all aspects of this event.

For this Web Site edition, we have added late breaking news from Christie's on the possible cancellation of this auction.

After reading Dick Desjarlais' article about his 9" high "console" radio (May 1995), you may wonder if he ever collects normal sized radios. He does, as you will see in his article about the restoration of his Pooley/Atwater Kent console radio. This is a true family heirloom, for Dick remembers when he was only four years old and his dad surprised the family with this amazing "box."

Most subscribers probably feel as if they already know Frank Krantz from his regular classified ads of seemingly endless radio items. Ray Bintliff, an A.R.C. staff member, wanted to know more, so he visited Frank, "the accumulator." Ray's article profiles Frank's 70-plus years in radio, including his appearance on the cover of Radio Electronics in 1951. And yes, if you are tempted by the article to see if Frank has that elusive part that you need, Frank's classified ad is on page 40.

To catch AM station WJDM, you may have to fire up your old radio instead of your new digital set. Tom Tompkins reports on enjoying this New Jersey station in Shelburne, Vermont.

Stanton's Auctioneers, an auction house new to us, has provided a report in which mechanical music equipment predominates. Usually seen only in small numbers in radio auctions, these radio-related collectibles -- phonographs, music boxes, recordings, etc. -- can sell into the thousands of dollars. No doubt, many of our readers will welcome this report.

If you want your tube tester to tell you more than just "good" or "bad," and if you absolutely have to have one that weighs 130 pounds, read Walter Hall's article on his early Weston laboratory-type tube tester. This very accurate and versatile tester should excite all of the engineers, real or aspiring, among us.

Two reviews are included this month. Joseph Jackson reviews three Diamond Cut Productions compact discs containing music restored from late 1920s Edison discs. Dave Crocker reviews the International Directory of Antique Radio Collectors published by the Friends of Radio Antiquity.

Photo Review offers a Regency pocket transistor radio using only two transistors. Also included is another "O-Dyne" radio, this one by Rely-O-Dyne, and the Philco 37-630, a radio disguised as an 11-volume set of books. Radio Miscellanea includes comments and feedback from our readership, both on and off the Internet.

Coming Radio Events. Over three dozen events fill the March collector calendar. The big one this month is in Charlotte, N. C., where a day filled with seminars, an equipment contest, and a "giant" flea market, follows a Friday evening auction. And begin to plan for the spring procession of meets in Colorado, West Virginia, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. Of course, in April/May, plan, or at least fantasize about, your ultimate radio trip to the Marconi auction. You could also plan to get to the National Vintage Communications Fair in Birmingham, England, since these two great events are only eight days apart.

Happy collecting!

John V. Terrey, Editor


The young Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) is pictured on our cover in a well known photo taken just after his arrival in London in 1896. This photo was provided by Christie's South Kensington, along with information about the Marconi auction.

According to Jonathan Hill in Radio Radio!, Marconi brought the apparatus in the photo from Italy. It consists of a Righi oscillator (left), a wooden box (right) containing a self-tapping coherer and a relay, and a Morse sounder on the top of the box. Two copper strips on the front of the box acted as the receiving aerial.

Somehow this photo suggests the visionary who has been quoted as saying at age 12, "If you only knew what a lot of ideas I have got in my head!"

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Copyright © 1996-7 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: February 28, 1997.Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications