December 1933 Radio-Craft
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
When the concept of radio refrigerators was presented in a 1933
edition of Radio-News, it was not quite what has become reality
today. At the time, the Radio Electrical Exposition had recently
been held in Madison Square Garden and the world was just getting
used to the miracle of radio waves - and refrigerators for that
matter. Radio-refrigerators never did make their way into the consumer
market. Fast-forward 80 years and now we're seeing the advent of
radio-refrigerators re-emerge, only in a completely different format.
This time, rather than playing shows from local commercial broadcast
stations, these appliances are communicating with Wi-Fi routers
to allow owners to check on status and contents from remote locations.
In other news, the editors report on a scheme to use a remote-controlled
airplane, signaled by a Tesla spark gap transmitter, to drop bombs
inside tornados in order to break up and stop their destructive
presence (that drawing of a low-wing, single-engine
monoplane that looks a lot like a Piper Cherokee was way ahead of
its time). There is also a photo of Marconi's original
lab notebook sketch of his idea for a regenerative receiver circuit.
It is usually very worthwhile to have a look back in time to see
what was developing and being foreseen.
The Radio Month in Review
Radio is now such a vast and diversified art it has become
necessary to make a general survey of important monthly developments
throughout the field. Radio-Craft analyzes these developments, and
presents here a review of those items which are of interest to all.
New York Radio Show
No, gentle reader, this combination radio refrigerator
was not at the 1933 Radio Show. It may be there next year.
Tesla radio-controlled airplanes will bomb tornadoes
out of business.
Armstrong's original regenerative sketch, invented
Ed Wynn the actor - and No. 3 Broadcast Chain originator.
Territory embraced by the Amalgamated Broadcast System.
Senatore Marchese Guglielmo Marconi and his wife as they
appeared on landing in New York.
© (International News)
The new Broadcast Noise Robot creates anything from the
roar of 10,000 baseball fans to the crash of two automobiles.
The new Radio Typewriter now ready for the market. News
and static are equally enjoyed by it.
The Radio Electrical Exposition in Madison Square Garden came
to an auspicious ending on Saturday, September 30th, after having
run for ten days, Sunday included. The show was a great success,
it is claimed by the exhibitors, because more than 200,000 passed
through its gates. According to the management, the show drew over
$1,500,000 in business for the exhibitors, and they are so heartened
that they will run another show in 1934, to be held September 19th
Loitering around the show, the editor tripped over dozens of
refrigerators in his search for radio sets. It was a grand show
for refrigerators and, once in a while, he could discern in the
offing some radio sets. The only thing that was missing was a combination
refrigerator and radio. The whole ground floor was at least 80%
refrigerators, with 20% radio sets thrown in for good measure. This
should not be considered a harsh criticism of the show, because
it was not a Radio Show primarily, for the pure, unadulterated radio
shows of former years had blown up; and the depression made it necessary
to combine radio and electricity, which the exposition did successfully.
As far as we could find out, not a radio parts manufacturer was
Tesla Tames Tornadoes
And now comes the veteran 79-year-old scientist, Nikola Tesla,
the world's greatest living inventor, who says that he has found
means to tame the tornado, which annually takes toll of thousands
of human lives, not to speak of the millions of dollars of property
Paying a visit to Hugo Gernsback, editor of this publication,
the other day, Dr. Tesla disclosed his plan which, by the way, is
published with a great many Illustrations along with his original
article, in the December issue of Every-Day Science and Mechanics
Tall, gaunt, and sparse, the ascetic great inventor retains a
keen interest in applied science. His recommendation, in a few words.
is to use radio-controlled robot airplanes, which can be controlled
from the ground. The airplane is sent up and directed straight toward
the funnel of the tornado as soon as one is reported. Should a tornado
start at sea, the same thing can be accomplished by Government patrol
ships, which will dispatch radio-controlled robot airplanes tornadoward.
The trick, according to Dr. Tesla, is to drop a huge charge of explosives
right into the mouth of the tornado funnel. This is to be accomplished
by distant watchers, who spot the airplane when it is directly above
the funnel and release by radio impulse an explosive charge which,
dropping into the funnel, destroys the whirling vacuum of the tornado
and stops its progress before further damage can be done .
Every radio fan worth his salt knows what regeneration means.
It means additional power, more sensitivity, to radio sets.
Short-wave fans, particularly, cannot do without regeneration. But
who is the inventor of regeneration?
Last month, the now totally bald, but youngish looking Edwin
H. Armstrong walked in on the editor of this publication. For the
first time in 12 years he smiled. For the first time in a dozen
years he consented to talk about a sacred and taboo subject - Regeneration.
Reason: there has been a 12-year battle about it between Dr. Lee
deForest, the inventor of the 3-element vacuum tube and Major Edwin
H. Armstrong. Recently, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit handed down its verdict, making Armstrong* the sole and
undisputed inventor of regeneration.
Armstrong showed that he first invented regeneration in the year
1913, and he conclusively seems to prove now, that he and not deForest
is the real inventor. Of course, the Supreme Court has not as yet
rendered its verdict, and on the other hand, the controversy may
never go to the Supreme Court.
The radio fraternity will now arise en masse and shout congratulations.
*The decision was rendered in favor of the Radio Engineering
Laboratories, Inc. against the Radio Corp. of America. A. T. &
T. Co., and de Forest Radio Co.
Ed Wynn Chain a Dud
With a great amount of fanfare and noise throughout the daily
press, and colorful noises at the headquarters of the newly-born
Amalgamated Broadcasting System, the newest national broadcasting
chain made its debut on September 25th. It is Ed Wynn's long-heralded
"third chain." Most of the noise was made on the 11th floor of the
vast A.B.S. quarters at Madison Ave. and 52nd St., New York. We
say most of the noise and hullabaloo was in the broadcasting offices;
because very little of the noise percolated into the ears of the
chain's prospective listeners. We expect a real broadcasting chain
to have millions of listeners, into whose ears the noise, or sound,
will finally settle.
Alas and alack, the new A.B.S. chain is not destined to do so.
The reason is that the chain is a chain in name only, and, from
what we can see, it will never amount to much for some very simple
and elementary reasons.
All of the stations, with the exception of two, are in trade
parlance so-called "graveyard" stations; that is, they are so far
down in the broadcasting spectrum, that broadcast listeners are
unlikely to tune in any of them, even though Ed Wynn himself were
to broadcast all day long - which he probably won't. Not only are
all of the stations except two - WHDH, Boston and WLBZ Bangor -
down in the graveyard, but they have no power either. All of them
put together don't come anywhere near having half of the power of
one such station as WABC, WJZ, WEAF or WLW. Most of these stations
cannot be heard for more than 25 miles, if so far; and in congested
districts like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, these "repeaters"
on out of town station wavelengths can be heard only a few blocks.
Heterodyning, they have birdy whistles, or a program of unintelligible
The idea of a third chain is O.K. if the promoters had the stations;
unfortunately, the chain has no stations to amount to anything and,
when they talk of a "national outlet," as their high-pressure advertising
department no doubt will, it will be found that the outlet is not
functioning. The only people who will listen to the emissions will
be the advertisers; and, in our opinion, as former owners of a fairly
decent broadcast station, the advertisers will not get results.
With no exception the A.B.S. goes to the identical cities now
adequately served by National Broadcasting Co. and Columbia, where
both veteran chains control good station outlets. A.B.S. covers
no new territory, no new towns, performs no discernible service.
The new chain does not use American Telephone and Telegraph Co.'s
'phone lines to link together its out of town radio stations; instead
it uses Western Union wire lines. Broadcasters have tried this cheaper
method time and again, but have found out that they are noisy and
can't be properly balanced. Broadcast engineers in the know never
use them except in dire emergency.
If the third chain is simply a scheme to sell stock, it may succeed
in this, but the poor investors will be stuck, as usual.
We have all sorts of respect for Mr. Ed Wynn as a comedian but,
as a broadcaster, we believe he has pulled a serious boner, and
has been deluded by promoters.
Stations of the Amalgamated Chain
Marconi in the United States
Marconi returned to the United States, last month, on a special
invitation to the Century of Progress in (Chicago. Senatore, now
the Marchese (Marquis) Guglielmo Marconi and the Marchesa Marconi
arrived at New York on the Italian liner Conte di Savoia on September
Piloted by David Sarnoff, head of the Radio Corporation of America,
to the new Radio City, just opened, Marconi had to run the gauntlet
of some twenty-odd radio scribes who corralled him in one of the
rooms in Radio City and lambasted him with radio questions, mostly
Marconi graciously let it be known that he came to the United
States "to learn something about wireless."
Sarnoff disputed this point of the illustrious one-eyed inventor
by .stating that "no one in the United States can teach Marconi
anything about wireless."
After having divested himself in good humor of the radio reporters,
Marconi was taken to the roof of Radio City, where he was duly photographed
- returning to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel later, where he spent the
night. He then embarked for Chicago, where he arrived on October
Here, a great tribute was paid to Marconi, as the father of radio,
at a luncheon given in his honor at the Museum of Science and Industry.
From this he rose, at Mr. Roosevelt's invitation, to greet the President,
with whom he was photographed. Subsequently, returning to his own
luncheon, he said: "The money aspect of the development of radio
must not be forgotten. For example, my first experiment in broadcasting
across the Atlantic cost more than $200.00."
In concluding the ceremonies, Rufus Dawes, president of the exposition,
presented a special medal to Senatore Marconi at the Century of
Progress; while a light-beam from the star Capella, picked up by
a telescope in Florence, Italy, and sent by radio and telegraph
to Chicago, switched on the floodlights of the Fair. The inventor
then flashed around the world, by wireless, the letter "S," which
thirty years ago he sent so dramatically across the Atlantic.
A tremendous crash is heard, the grinding of metal upon metal,
splintering of glass, the screams of the heroine; then, the siren
of the traffic cops, the roar of hundreds of actual voices of the
dear populace. Shots are fired at the hit-and-run driver responsible
for the crash.
These are the noises that issue forth from your loudspeaker,
as you sit in your study and listen to the latest radio presentation.
Vaguely, you picture in your mind's eye a large room in which all
these noises are manufactured, with hundreds of people being employed
to bring it all about.
You are due for a disappointment; because, the next time, if
you have a friend at one of the key stations of a large broadcasting
net, you may step into the studio where all the noise originates,
and you will find that here "bedlam reigns" silently. Everything
is very prosaic, and at the most there are only three or four people
in the studio, speaking in moderately low voices. Where, then, is
all the noise coming from?
If you look closer, you will see a long table with about ten
phonograph turntables; one operator sits in front of them. The turntables
are all rotating. The operator merely depresses a push-button, which
brings the phonograph pickup down on a precise spot of a certain
phonograph record when the cue is given. This one phonograph record
may give the exact reproduction of the automobile crash, Depressing
the next button, the pickup descends upon the spot which unloosens
pistol shots. The next will give a marvelous reproduction of a roaring
crowd. Meanwhile, the operator who pushes the buttons does nothing
but wear a pair of phones and listen to the output of the phonograph
discs. You see, all the pieces have been recorded from actual crashes,
actual crowds, actual shots, etc. When required, an impresario simply
orders whatever "noises" he wants; this is much simpler, much less
costly, and the noises can be used at any time later on. This new
scheme has been developed into perfection by the Camden, N. J.,
plant of the Radio Corporation of America, and is now in use.
The ease with which the sound effects can be injected into the
program by this method is just one more example of the remarkable
development of broadcasting in the past few years.
Once upon a time, you used to send out-of-town messages by the
dot-and-dash method, as practiced by Western Union. Last year, the
great and powerful American Telephone & Telegraph Company perfected
their "Teletype" machines, which they rent to you. Owning the wire
system themselves, they rent you the Teletype machine, which is
nothing but a typewriter, to which a telegraphic transmitter has
been attached, and a similar machine is placed in your Chicago office
for the paltry sum of $1.20 for 3 minutes and 40¢ for each additional
minute. A New York merchant can now send all the messages he wants
to his Chicago office, day after day. He couldn't afford to do that
by sending straight messages by Western Union or Postal Telegraph.
Not to be outdone in this line of endeavor, and to make the operation
still cheaper, a number of radio enthusiasts have been working on
the radio typewriter for years.
Clyde Fitch, well known to readers of Radio-Craft, and inventor
of the Tropadyne radio circuit, has been active in the development
of radio typewriters; and last month Radio Industries started manufacturing
them in a Binghamton, N. Y. plant.
The chief outlet at the present time is the U. S. Army and Navy.
It is expected that large factories, brokers, etc., will use the
radio typewriter presently.
Mr. Fitch recently demonstrated it in New York, where it was
operated between uptown and downtown offices on 5 meters, and worked
to a charm. It seems to be foolproof with the exception of one old
bugaboo - and that is static. Old Man Static, when he gets going,
is liable to print some letters that were not intended originally;
but, unless the static is exceedingly bad, it doesn't make much
difference, because you can easily spot the incorrect letters. Anyhow,
even ordinary wire telegrams contain misspellings traceable not
to static but to clerical mistakes.
Posted February 9, 2015