VOLUME 15 NOVEMBER 1998 NUMBER 11
RADIO MISCELLANEA -- November 1998From Antique Radio Classified for November 1998
(Copyright 1996-8 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
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Zenith Radio -- The Debate
Cones and Bryant Respond
This is our response to Alan Douglas' article in the August 1998 issue of A.R.C.: The title of the August review by Alan Douglas of our latest book, Zenith Radio, the Early Years: 1919-1935, suggested that we were embarking on a debate of our book to be published in A.R.C. We do not believe that there is anything to debate. In the August article, Mr. Douglas presented nothing relevant to our book that was new. He simply repeated opinions which he expressed some years ago in the Zenith sections of his own book on radio in the 1920s. We dealt with those opinions in some detail in the endnotes of several chapters of our book.
Unlike Mr. Douglas' August article or his book, Zenith Radio, the Early Years 1919-1935 is thoroughly documented with literally hundreds of explanatory endnotes and source citations. The thoroughness of our book was recently recognized with the prestigious Houck Award for Documentation at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the Antique Wireless Association. If new factual information on the early years at Zenith is discovered in the future, it should become of the story, and we will welcome it.
--Harold Cones, Newport News, VA; John Bryant, Stillwater, OK
Perhaps my decision to invite a debate (the word is mine, not Alan's) in the pages of A.R.C. was overly zealous. After the publication of Bryant and Cones' first Zenith book, I received correspondence indicating that each side needed about 6-pages for its presentation. I chose not to publish either side. Only when Bryant and Cones published their side in their recent book did I decide to publish Douglas' arguments. So, is the issue now settled?
Alan Douglas received the AWA Houck Award for Documentation in 1981. (Editor)
A.R.C. is an "Elite Company"
I received the replacement book order from you today in excellent condition. Thank you very much. I know your memo was checked "No Reply Necessary," but I wanted to say I am very happy with your company and the products I have purchased from you. I realize shipping anything can sometimes result in damage to the contents, and I agree that these occurrences are rare. But, the way you handled my order is commendable. Not only did you replace the items, but you took the time to hand-write a note explaining your policy -- a very nice personal touch for today.
You also reimbursed me for shipping the damaged package back to A.R.C. This was completely unexpected! You didn't have to do that. A.R.C. is truly an elite company that takes care of its customers. You have certainly exceeded my expectations.
--Gregg Scholfield, Dayton, NV
Tape Recorder Exhibit in Mass.
I invite readers to "The Reel Short Story," an exhibit of the history of the miniature and portable reel recorder at the Newton Public Library, 330 Homer St., Newton, MA 02159, November 2-30, 1998.
The exhibit contains examples of portable, small, mini, tiny, and spy reel-to-reel tape and wire recorders, ca. 1952-1965. Also included is the earliest cassette recorder (Philips 1963), which sent these little machines into obsolescence.
The design and aesthetic aspects of these machines are emphasized -- some are miniature wonders of precision; others range from beautiful to goofy. The focus also is their purpose at that time -- a predecessor to e-mail, a way to communicate and avoid telephone costs.
Japanese and German manufacturers made recorders beautifully for the higher end of the consumer market, but only the Japanese responded to kids. Cute, colorful versions were given to kids for selling magazines and other products door-to-door.
The exhibit also shows how the aesthetic and functional design of these recorders paralleled the transistor radio. In addition, notes on aspects of collecting recorders and related items are included.
--Jon Golden, Newton, MA
While the article by Andy Anderson on AC/DC repair was very good, I do take exception to his use of WD-40 to clean volume controls. If you read the precautions on the can, they say, "Danger. Extremely flammable (propane). Keep away from heat, sparks, open flames, and any source of electrical ignition."
Since most AC/DC sets have an on/off switch on the back of the volume control, it is easy to see how this product could get back into the switch and cause a fire or explosion if the switch were to arc, as many do.
There are many sources of better products to clean controls. True Value Hardware has an excellent one by the name of "Electric Parts Cleaner." Ace Hardware and Radio Shack have others, and none has a flash point. They are nonflammable.
--Michael L. Ryan, Mill Hall, PA
Anyone using a few new test instruments is not going to be protected from shock simply by using rugs. An isolation transformer [as recommended in the article] is a must in today's world of the U-ground electrical receptical. I also recommend a Series 150-watt lamp to protect the rectifier tube from shorted filter capacitors; they do not always fail open!
--Richard Gray, San Diego, CA
Another purpose of the rug on the work bench is to protect the radio from scratches. (Editor)