[Table of Contents]People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about
and learning some of the history of early electronics. Popular Electronics was published from October 1954 through April
1985. As time permits, I will be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
October 1954 arrived with
the first-ever issue of Popular Electronics. Editor Oliver Read wrote this introductory note describing the
magazine's grand plans for providing its audience with a sampling of as many facets of electronics as possible,
with projects for the do-it-yourself type (many needed to be at the time), related hobbies like amateur radio and
radio controlled airplanes, military and commercial applications, short stories, tutorials, and an endless supply
of advertisements offering just about anything your budget could afford. It turned out to be a pretty nice
magazine, and many of the well-written articles are still useful in today's world of nano-everything circuits -
the fundamentals haven't changed much: voltage still equals resistance time current.
See all articles from
Meet Popular Electronics
Your Editor, Oliver Read
From modest basement shops and attic experimental laboratories have emerged the fundamental ideas that have
resulted in the fastest growing industry of our times - electronics. Our vast radio communications systems -
spread like a giant web over the entire world - keep us informed of news almost as soon is it happens. The radio
"ham," using simple electronic equipment, communicates with his fellow hobbyists throughout the world as simply as
the housewife talks to her neighbor via telephone.
A large group of medics watch a delicate operation on a
color TV screen. Every detail seen by the operating surgeon and the color camera is observed in isolated rooms.
Instructions and comments of the surgeon are heard clearly from the loud-speaker system.
An airplane is lost and is forced down at sea. Its call for help is heard by or made known to the FCC
monitoring stations. A "fix" is made by electronic direction finders and the position of the lost plane is flashed
to nearby vessels which then proceed to the rescue.
A hostile airplane is spotted on a radar screen. Interceptors are dispatched to engage the enemy. Radio
protect us as we fly in an airliner and bring us to a safe landing on a fog-bound runway.
These are but a few of the thousands of applications for electronic devices that serve to protect life, limb, and
property and that provide means of education and entertainment never dreamed of by our forefathers.
electronic devices are born in the great laboratories of the industry-but a greater number of pioneer developments
have emerged from the experimenter's bench and the ham shack. So-called tinkerers or gadgeteers have contributed
many valuable ideas and important discoveries that have led to valuable patents.
The problem of
maintenance of electronic devices, especially home units such as radio, television, and hi-fidelity equipment has
been a real bottleneck and will become an even greater problem as we reach sizable production of color television.
A vast field of opportunity in electronics awaits the individual who will learn, by simple experiments, the
fundamentals of circuitry, components, and equipments. Others will become indoctrinated with electronics at a
hobby level. The fascinating hobby of radio control finds thousands of youngsters and oldsters meeting frequently
to fly their airplanes and to sail their boats. And many a garage door is opened and closed by radio impulses from
simple devices made in the home shop .
One of the greatest hobbies in the world - amateur radio - has been
tremendously stimulated by relaxed requirements to qualify for a coveted license. A new "novice" class license is
attracting thousands of newcomers to this world-wide hobby.
Industry has recognized the importance of
training new engineers, scientists, and technicians and our trade schools have produced thousands of technicians
and other specialists. But many thousands more are needed to meet the ever-increasing demand for new blood in
Those of us who have grown up with electronics have been forced to keep pace with new developments at an
ever-increasing rate. Circuitry
has become more complicated through the years.
Television and industrial electronics, telemetering and computing, and now color TV have necessitated a higher
level of approach for technical magazines. This, unfortunately, has deprived thousands of people interested in
electronics of a regular source of information written in simple, understandable terms. POPULAR ELECTRONICS is the
answer to the demand for a monthly publication devoted entirely to electronics at a practical and hobby level.
POPULAR ELECTRONICS is, as its title implies, devoted to the science of electronics at How-It-Works, Why-It-Works,
How-ToDo-It and How-To-Use-It level.
Its writers and editors have all grown up with electronics. They
have all cut their eyeteeth in radio, TV, and communications as experimenters and hobbyists. They appreciate, from
long experience, that "practical know-how" is all-important and essential to success in the fascinating science of
electronics. They include experimenters, hams, short-wave experts, radio-control enthusiasts, instructors,
technicians, editors, and engineers.
We think you will like POPULAR ELECTRONICS. We believe this to be a
magazine designed to give you the best possible understanding of electronics. We will welcome all suggestions,
ideas, and criticisms.
From our readers will come hundreds of features, gadgets, hints, and kinks. These
will be carefully read and studied. If these are well illustrated (4 x 5 or 8 x 10 glossies) they will be
considered for publication. Those accepted will be paid for at attractive rates, on acceptance.
among our readers will be found many experienced color photographers who are electronic hobbyists. Color
transparencies (4 x 5 verticals) accompanied by a tie-in feature article will be considered. These will bring
special rates of payment.
We will appreciate your help in telling your friends about POPULAR ELECTRONICS.
Perhaps they too will be interested in this leading science of our times. And, finally, won't you please tell us
how YOU like POPULAR ELECTRONICS? ... Oliver Read