May 1930 Radio-Craft[Table of Contents]
People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics. Radio-Craft was published from 1929 through 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles from Radio-Craft.
For a few years I have been occasionally posting radio service data sheets for vintage radio sets, all of which appeared in electronics industry and hobby magazines such as Radio-Craft and Radio News. Unlike the last decade and a half, procuring service information on commercial products could be very time consuming, and often resulted in not even obtaining what you needed. Thanks to the Internet being populated with schematics and mechanical drawings for seemingly everything ever made, we no longer need to call or mail order for information needed to repair your radio, television, cellphone, lawn mower, toaster, or anything else. Granted, most people these days toss out broken items and just buy new ones.
Before the advent of companies like Sam's Technical Publishing information packets, it was often impossible to obtain schematics and service information from manufacturers unless you were a certified service shop and/or dealership. In response to many inquiries from Radio-Craft's readers, publisher Hugo Gernsback queried the top manufacturers of the day to determine their policies for distributing such data.
"Frenzied Radio," the leading editorial by Mr. Hugo Gernsback in the February issue of Radio-Craft, aroused more heartfelt comments than any other expression of the Editor's views which he can recall from more than twenty years' publishing experience. This office was literally swamped by thousands of fervent communications from Service Men and other readers in all branches of the radio trade, as well as from consumers who voiced their interests in the matter.
In that editorial, we promised to publish any comment which radio set manufacturers desire to make, with regard to their policies on servicing in relation to their dealers, other Service Men and the public. The letters presented here give the widely. differing viewpoints of the leading manufacturers; which we print here in their essentials, leaving to our readers all deductions from them, and comments thereon.
We only ask whether, since the radio industry is still at odds as regards its relations to the Service Man, the radio set manufacturers would not do well to agree among themselves on a policy to which all of them can subscribe? Such action would certainly tend to clear away a tremendous amount of the dissatisfaction which exists at present among radio dealers and Service Men.
The writer cannot let go unchallenged your invitation to the radio industry to produce a radio manufacturer who has been giving conscientious service to the .purchasers of his radio receivers. We have always prided ourselves on just that point, and we must therefore take exception to your statements. A careful analysis of your editorial ("Frenzied Radio," in the February issue of Radio-Craft) discloses quite a few claims that do not coincide with our own views on how we have been doing business since our first set was sold.
Early in our radio manufacturing history, it became necessary to lay down a definite policy for stocking radio repair parts. We felt then, as we do now, that any individual who invests a considerable sum in a radio receiver is justly entitled to expect service on it for its natural life. A careful survey of the life of the average set was, therefore, made with the result that we laid down the ruling that we would continue to stock all parts in any way necessary toward the complete repair of any Stewart-Warner radio receiver for a period of three years after the introduction of the subsequent model. Furthermore, we would continue to stock indefinitely all parts for which there was any demand as evidenced by our sales records for the previous year. To live up to this policy, it has been necessary at times to go to extreme measures in securing repair parts. Manufacturing schedules have often suffered, night shifts have been instituted, our distributors' stocks have been searched, and often special machinery built. Quite often, as a result, we were compelled to sell parts considerably under our manufacturing costs. Our only reason for such action was to insure consumer service that had been promised.
Realizing that the Service Man plays a very important part in keeping a customer satisfied, we have always given our fullest cooperation to anyone requesting service information. We even went to the trouble some time ago of preparing a special correspondence course in radio for the benefit of the Stewart-Warner dealer or his Service Man. Since requests were received for extra copies of this course, our radio service department made up a quantity of reprints which were mailed to any Service Man requesting this material, regardless of his affiliations, until the course became outdated and was discontinued.
At the present writing, we keep on hand circuit diagrams of all sets we have ever made, and will furnish them to anyone without question. As a further help to Service Men, we have reprinted all these diagrams in our latest service manual, just off the press.
Our own policy is to supply all service information and instruction books without charge; and we have kept all service data reasonably simple, so that this may be done without entailing an expense entirely out of proportion, to the benefits derived. We can, nevertheless, see the viewpoint of the manufacturer who gets out elaborate manuals that are in reality textbooks on radio, and then feels justified in charging a nominal price to insure that he will not be imposed upon by any individual who may happen to be sufficiently curious about his sets to write for a service manual. We use as a guide the letterhead on which the request is written or, if a plain piece of paper is used, we judge by the general tone of the letter whether the individual really needs a service manual or is only in need of our instruction book.
The apparently excessive selling price of radio repair parts for old models at first glance may often seem out of reason; yet a closer analysis will show this conclusion to be ungrounded. In our own case, parts are priced after they have been in manufacture for a sufficient length of time for us to know exact costs. Once that price is set, it is seldom changed. Obviously, every year manufacturing costs drop considerably; so that a transformer that must be sold at $6.00 one year can be made to sell for not more than $4.00 a year or two later. Nevertheless, the older transformer must still sell for $6.00, even though it is not as good as the later model; since its manufacturing cost was the higher figure. Following this line of reasoning, which is the only correct one, the price of repair parts must necessarily bear a direct relationship to the original selling price of the radio - not to any subsequent close-out price. The dealer should, in all fairness, point this out when he sells any set below its normal value. A good second-hand Cadillac may be bought for $300, yet the repair parts cost as much as for a new machine.
Your claim that only in the last year or two have radio set manufacturers been supporting broadcasting, is not borne out by facts. We announced our own entrance into the radio industry by leasing a broadcast station (WBBM) for two years; and we still tie up indirectly with broadcasting though our distributors in many cities throughout the country. In addition, you will find the following outstanding manufacturers who have been actively sponsoring broadcasting prior to 1929: Atwater Kent; All-American, Amrad, Crosley, De Forest, Federal, Grebe, Philco, R. C. A., Zenith. We have purposely refrained from listing any manufacturer who has been broadcasting, directly or indirectly, for less than one year.
We believe that Radio-Craft is sufficiently widely read to command attention, and any editorial it features deserves consideration. With this in mind, we are sure that you will agree with us when we ask you to devote space in the pages of your magazine for
the refutations submitted by responsible radio manufacturers who are sincere in their belief that they are handling their service problems in an eminently fair manner.
J. N. Golten, Radio Service Department.
Every time a new model Philco radio is put on the market, a complete service manual covering that model is sent free of charge to all authorized Philco dealers. We also supply copies of these manuals to radio editors of newspapers and reliable magazines on request.
All service problems and the distribution of repair parts for Philco receivers are handled by the jobber. It is, of course, impossible for the factory to fill any orders for parts when they are sent in by unknown people. Quite often when parts are sent out in this way, they are used incorrectly, due to lack of knowledge, and the owner will then blame the trouble on us. However, if any Service Man is established in this business, and can show that he is well trained in this kind of work, I am confident that he can go to the nearest Phil co wholesaler and buy the parts needed by him. We leave this entirely up to the wholesaler, because he has a much better knowledge of service conditions and can investigate the Service Man's ability a lot better than we can here in Philadelphia. We would prefer to have a user of a Philco receiver that is
giving trouble take it back to the dealer from whom purchased; and, if this dealer cannot repair it, he will return it to the wholesaler, but never to the factory.
It has been our experience that a big majority of all Service Men who are working on all makes of receivers never get enough training on anyone to become proficient. The exceptions to this can get in touch with the nearest Philco jobber and I am sure he will give them all possible cooperation.
Philadelphia Storage Battery Company,
Robert F. Herr,
We feel that the successful dealer must be organized to serve his customer and keep him enthusiastic about his purchase. The customer is certainly entitled to receive merchandise that operates satisfactorily, and it is the responsibility of the dealer to make certain that this is the case. All successful enterprises are built on this principle. If the merchandise does not operate satisfactorily, the dealer must be in a position to make repairs either through his own organization or the organization of the manufacturer. Certainly the success of any manufacturer's products must depend upon the degree of satisfaction they give their owners.
The fact that no radio manufacturer yet enjoys a popular reputation for excellence of service through his dealers must be due to the relative youth of the radio dealer system, and that it takes considerable time to build up a dealer organization that is reasonably perfect in this respect. I have no doubt, however, that this desirable condition will be eventually attained, particularly as we recognize this as our ideal and are striving to accomplish it.
This is one of our reasons for not desiring to support the independent service organization, but to concentrate our efforts in an attempt to perfect service through our dealer organization. I agree that the dealer service organization is far from perfect at the present time; but I do not feel that the condition will be permanently improved by sacrificing principle to expediency. We want our customers to feel that we are 100% behind our product, and it is our humble opinion that this can best be accomplished by having control over the organization that serves the customer, rather than depending upon independent service organizations to accept a responsibility that is our own.
R. C. A.-Victor Company, Inc.
W. A. Graham, General Service Manager.
Our service information is published in a little paper that is sent twice a month only to authorized dealers, distributors and distributor's salesmen. About twice a year this service information is compiled and put out in pamphlet form, called the Crosley Service Manual, and this pamphlet is sent to all Service Men requesting service information. Although it costs money to prepare this, we do not charge for it, nor do we think a charge should be made.
However, we must have some kind of ruling covering the distribution of service manuals; therefore any man claiming to be a Service Man must write in on his business letterhead. We require that they have some sort of letterhead showing that they are engaged in the repair business; or in some business such as garage, automobile accessories, hardware, music store, electrical or music house.
When a Service Man writes in on a postal card or an ordinary piece of paper, requesting a service manual, we immediately write him, telling him that his request must come on a business letterhead, otherwise we cannot send him, the information requested. If we are included in some complaints, our refusal is due simply to the fact that the party writing in did not show evidence that he was in the service business.
There have been some cases where we received requests at a time when we were out of service manuals; but these people received letters, telling them to write again within two or three weeks, at which time we expected to have a new supply.
We have also had requests from Service Men for information on certain obsolete sets, and (as the models had been out of production four or five years or more) no service information was available, and we therefore informed them to that effect.
The Crosley Radio Corporation
D. J. Butler.
Our business is built largely on a foundation of loyal dealers. In fairness to the dealer, we cannot furnish instruction sheets indiscriminately to Service Men working independently of our dealers.
You are aware of the possibilities of careful servicing by the dealer with respect to the good will it builds up for him. It is fully established that much of his new business is obtained from recommendations brought to him through servicing. It will be seen that helping to build up a large number of independent servicing units would not be to his interest.
Frankly, we haven't much faith in the ability of the majority of independent Service Men. We are not referring to the established servicing concerns, but to the independent Service Man who in many cases is making a side issue of the job of servicing, and practices it after a regular day's work. The present tendency of numbers of young men setting up to do service work on their own responsibility is economically unsound, and we do not wish to encourage it. The situation will, of course, adjust itself in due time.
We have no desire to hold back any ambitious young man who earnestly desires to make servicing his livelihood; but the proper procedure for him is to obtain first of all a basic training at evening school or some other institution. Then to start in with a reputable dealer, later to branch out for himself if he so desires.
Undoubtedly there is rivalry between the independent Service Man and the authorized dealer. This is evidenced by the tone of the letters you submit which have been received by you from Service Men. But we are not persuaded that we are wrong in our present policy of furnishing instructions only to our authorized dealers. Where an outside Service Man can be of help to the dealer, the dealer will be only too glad to let him have instructions and data books. There are a number of good servicing concerns, and these firms will find no difficulty in obtaining the information that they desire; but it must come to them through the dealer with whom they are working. We invariably make this recommendation to concerns requesting this information, and we write the dealer in his vicinity at the same time.
The great majority of our dealers are doing a splendid service job and we are well satisfied with our present method of servicing of our Stromberg-Carlson receivers.
Stromberg-Carlson Mfg. Co.
Ernest S. Browning,
Chief of Service Department.
It is contrary to our policy to broadcast service bulletins on our radio receivers; likewise it would be contrary to our policy to offer them for sale to various radio Service Men. Inasmuch as we have only a few dealers across the country and do not desire many dealers, it is much better for us to have our radio sets serviced by our own dealers. Also, we give a very substantial guarantee with each set and, in order that the owners of our receivers may receive the full benefit of this guarantee, it is much better that they have our own dealers do service work.
Graybar Electric Co., Inc.,
General Merchandising Department
T is our policy to furnish to radio servicing organizations the necessary blueprints and diagrams for the use of their service departments. We do not furnish a complete manual for anyone except our authorized dealers and distributors. Each distributor renders factory service; and, if the dealer wishes to avail himself of service instructions, he has but to apply to his jobber, and they will issue instructions to him to come in and stay just as long as he likes, to secure the information.
It has been our policy in the past, to furnish service information to no one except our own authorized representatives. Of course, where we know that the company requesting this is so trained that they can render service, we furnish information in the form of diagrams, etc., for their aid.
L. G. Wilkinson,
We are glad at any time to furnish complete service data to any individual service representative requesting this information, and without charge. The writer has been in charge of service problems of this organization since its inception, and does not recall that we have ever refused to supply individuals or owners of our product with internal wiring diagrams and complete service data pertaining to particular sets on request.
At the present time we are unable to supply complete data on our products manufactured prior to 1924, due to the fact that our stock has become depleted. We likewise are not making a practice of repairing or furnishing parts for sets manufactured prior to 1924; because the demand does not warrant the expense involved.
A. H. Grebe & Co.,
F. B. Ostman,
Asst. Sales Manager.
We are not interested in selling our service manual to anyone. We supply same through our regular distributing channels, free of charge.
Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Co.
J. K. Utz, Manager Radio Sales.
It has been in the past, and probably will continue to be in the future, the policy of this company to send service data to independent service stations when they desire it. We make a charge for this material merely sufficient to cover the cost of production and distribution. The attached form letter this office uses to answer any requests from independent service stations.
There is much that can be said for and against the attitude of some manufacturers in distributing their service literature only to authorized dealers. However, this company has felt that service stations interested enough in their library to purchase the books they desire should have consideration.
The Amrad Corporation,
L. D. Trefry,
Manager Service Department,
(The form letter offers the Amrad Service Data Book at $1.50, postpaid, with a supplement in the form of blueprints of receivers for the past two years - Editor.)
Any Service Man in the United States can obtain a service manual on any model Steinite set ever made by going to the local distributor of Steinite products in his vicinity.
It has always been our policy to issue circuit diagrams and complete service data; as we feel that if the trade is properly informed, we will have less merchandise coming back to the factory for service. We shall be very glad to receive a copy of your survey and its analysis and, if we can assist you in your work in any way, we are at your command.
Steinite Laboratories Co.,
O. R. Coblentz,
Asst. General Sales Manager.
In order to protect the original purchaser against the possibility of sacrificing their 90-day factory guarantee, by having other than our authorized agents make the repairs, we have adopted a policy of releasing service data on current models to authorized Day-Fan distributors and dealers only.
We have been mailing service manuals which do not include data on current models, at a nominal cost, in response to all inquiries which indicate that the writer is a legitimate radio Service Man.
Where we do not have authorized distributors, who carry parts in stock, we make shipment on parts direct to the individual or service organization placing their order with us. In case the order or letterhead indicates that the parties concerned are legitimate dealers or service organization, a discount is allowed on all parts purchased. However, if we have an authorized distributor, our contract gives them exclusive rights to sell all parts within their territory. If they do not carry sufficient parts to make immediate shipment, that automatically and temporarily cancels their contract, and we make shipment direct.
General Motors Radio Corp.,
C. E. Greene,
When we appoint a new dealer, we send him as many service manuals as he thinks he will need; but we have never taken any steps to supply the independent Service Man with information about servicing Kennedy sets.
This, however, is not due to a lack of desire to cooperate on our part. Whenever we receive a request from someone for a service manual, it is sent to them without charge, regardless of whether they are connected with a Kennedy dealer or not.
However, if we were to go into supplying service manuals to Service Men not connected with any Kennedy dealer, I think we would have to make a small charge just to prevent them from being ordered by Service Men who are inquisitive rather than interested. Our service manuals cost us about 30c. each; but we would supply them to anyone, upon request, for say 10c. We are glad to cooperate with radio Service Men anywhere and everywhere at all times.
Colin B. Kennedy Corporation,
Asst. Advertising Manager.
We are always glad to supply complete information regarding our line to anyone requesting it. We have instruction sheets and diagrams covering all models and these are supplied at a cost of 25c net per copy. As our business is tied up very closely with custom builders and service stations, we probably cooperate with them closer than most manufacturers. We have even prepared and published at considerable expense a Sales and Service Course. This is supplied complete at a cost of $5.00 and those subscribing also receive a mass of information which is sent out from time to time, covering matters of interest to set builders and Service Men.
Hammarlund Mfg. Co., Inc.,
L. A. Hammarlund.
One manufacturer's service department writes as follows, in reply to our quotation of a paragraph in the letter of a Service Man who had commented on their courtesy:
"The point we are driving at is that, if you were to publish the fourth paragraph of your reader's letter, which reads as follows: 'In reply I received a very nice letter from their Service Department, together with blueprint and book of instructions, and discount offer for any parts needed,' we probably would be swamped with requests from all over the country for free information, and it would cause us considerable trouble in correcting the impression that the public received. We appreciate your offer to publish the letter praising our cooperation, and ask that you correct this one part."
Posted September 15, 2015
Radio Service Data Sheets
These schematics, tuning instructions, and other data are reproduced from my collection of vintage radio and electronics magazines. As back in the era, similar schematic and service info was available for purchase from sources such as SAMS Photofacts, but these printings were a no-cost bonus for readers.