June 1935 Radio-Craft
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
If you think the controversy over
whether drivers being distracted by telecommunications devices is something new,
consider this article from a 1935 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. Mobile
radio was a relatively new possibility at the time, as was the horseless carriage
into which installation was a cause for concern by insurance companies and government
regulators. Just as nowadays we worry about and sometimes fining drivers who use
a smartphone for texting while driving, the state of Connecticut in 1935 went so
far as to propose imposing a fine of $50 ($1035 in 2022 money) for installing a radio set or any "other
device which tends to distract the attention" of the operator.
Auto Radio - Pro and Con
A heated controversy between legislators and
insurance companies - and radio manufacturers and car radio owners.
Ever since auto-radio installations became popular, a controversy has been going
on - between legislative authorities and insurance companies on one hand, and radio
manufacturers and car radio owners on the other - as to whether auto radio presented
an accident hazard or not.
Last month, the state of Connecticut went so far as to introduce a bill providing
a $50 penalty for the installation in an automobile of a radio set or any other
device which "tends to distract the attention" of the operator!
However, the Radio Manufacturers Association which has been instrumental in bringing
auto radio to its present popular position says in a letter to Radio-Craft - "We
have no information that the bill is being pressed or seriously considered."
Mr. Bond Geddes, Executive vice-president and general manager of the RMA made
the following summary of the situation. "Since that time (when auto radio first
became popular) there has not been a single case according to any information in
our possession where an automobile radio has been the cause of any major accident.
Against this is the almost unanimous opinion of operators of automobiles equipped
with radio that they tend to reduce speed and, therefore, are not a source of danger
but actually become a safety-factor."
In a survey of the insurance companies interested in car insurance which was
made a short time ago by Radio-Craft, many interesting replies were received to
the questions asked. The majority of the companies evaded the issue of whether radio
installations might influence their insurance rates or their desire to insure cars
Posted May 16, 2022
(updated from original post on