Sunday, October 9, 2011

Welcome to Old Radio Week



Yes, yesterday's mystery person was  Guglielmo Marconi, who is generally remembered as the inventor of the radio and wireless communication. I say "generally remembered" as others could equally lay claim to that distinction. There were many people working on this at the same time, and the actual inventor could be disputed. Certainly Tesla played a large role, and the work in creating a working radio relied on the theoretical and practical work of innovators going back at least a hundred years.

Today's picture is from 1940, and shows a father and his daughter listening to an old radio. The picture was taken in California.

21 comments:

  1. I remember gathering around with my family and looking at the old radio and listening to "The Shadow".
    Yes we would look at the big box against the wall just like a person would if it was a TV.
    And the dials were very touchy.

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  2. Look at that beautiful radio!

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  3. I have lots of fond memories of the radio bringing the world into our home. Listening to "The Soap Operas", Quiz shows and the kiddie shows on Saturday morning. And then there was (it must have been) Dec. 7th 1941, sitting in the dark,listening to FDR declaring war because of Pearl Harbor. I was only six at the time, but I remember Mama saying something about a "black out".

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  4. My Dad's parents had a radio like that. Never saw it turned on. As a kid I turned on my transistor radio to listen to storyteller Jean Shepherd (the writer and narrator of the film A Christmas Story).

    John

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  5. This Is Your Hit Parade, The Grand Ole Opry,Louisiana Hay Ride, The Shadow, Lum and Abner, Terry and the Pirates. We used our imaginations back then.

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  6. Fiber McGee & Molly, The Lone Ranger, Helen Trent, Cisco Kid, Amos & Andy, Arthur Godfrey, and does any one remember The Cinnamon Bear? From Thanksgiving to Christmas eve we listened each day, after school to a chapter and hoped against all hope the silver star would be returned before Santa came. Good days!! My children gave me a copy of The Cinnamon Bear for christmas last year. It was a sweet moment!! I am hoping that tv, internet, facebook will give our children and grandchildren such memories.lam

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  7. Does anyone know how much a radio like that cost back then?

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  8. I couldn't tell the manufacturer from the photo, but a google search suggests that radios of that size were being sold by Philco for between 49.95 and 69.95 and Zenith had one that looks similar for 69.95.

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  9. one thing I remember from those days was that it was not hard for my parents to get me to bed. My room was close enough to the livingroom that I could still hear the radio. I did not have to see anything because I learned by listening and yes the imagination filled in the rest. lam

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  10. thanks for sharing.
    it looks like he's an irrigation farmer with his boots.
    I enjoyed listoning to the big radio from 1945 1952 when we then purchased a tv.

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  11. PJM this will be a great week on OPD. Nice to read all the comments about radio. We so soon forget radio was once only way information could be broadcast to the masses. Not only for news but entertainment as well.

    As a radio amateur I enjoy contacting other stations all around the world. I use Morse code to communicate via high frequency radio.

    Follow back to my blog to see a transmitting antenna I built myself.

    regards,
    Mike W8MDE

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  12. I look forward to this week! Listening to the old Philco upright at night, picking up stations from all over the country.

    As a boy, I was given a few castoff radios by others in the family and I was able to make modifications to pick up shortwave bands on a couple of them.

    I discovered the ridges on my fingers quite by accident one day when I pulled the plastic knob off my parents' kitchen radio.

    Back in the day, they had one side of the power line connected directly to the radio chassis. I touched the metal shaft while in contact with the sink and got a moderate but startling shock.

    That's when I first noticed my fingers had those funny markings. I was scared I had done something horrible to my fingers!

    I still have my grandfather's Atwater Kent Model 10C which dates back to the mid 1920's. One day I may get up the nerve to apply power to it. I would love to hear it play.

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  13. I remember the old radios well. Many were battery operated. In the1930's, Al Jolson had a 15 minuite daily show that I recall listening to.
    I got my amateur radio license in 1951, W9NDX. I built my own transmiters and operated code.

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  14. i do love all the modern conveniences such as my ipod touch etc but my radio as simple as it may be is still the most dependable item i have , the radio will be around for a long time , though i do miss the far away stations on the AM dial. as a kid i would fall to sleep finding the mysterious stations from far away states on my transistor radio . try to find an am radio they are almost extinct . Todd from NC.

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  15. My Grandparents had a huge radio. About six feet long and maybe 4 feet tall. My dad has it. If my brother doesn't want it, I'll need to figure out how to haul it back to Montana someday. (Not too soon, I hope.) I love just looking at it simply because it's such a beautiful work of art. And it still works. My dad had a brand new switch put in it, but otherwise I believe all the parts are original. You can get overseas stations in on that bad boy.

    On a side note, there was a station that played old radio shows when I was a teenager, and I'd listen to them. My favorites were Fiber McGee and Molly, Life of Riley and The Night Beat. Good stuff.

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  16. www.otr.net/ may still have hundreds of the old radio programs available free online. It is called Old Time Radio.

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  17. What a sweet picture. I bet that little girl waited all day to sit on her daddy's lap and listen to the radio.

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  18. Ah, No stoop, no squat, no squint! I can remember listening to the baseball games with my dad when the operator would send the play-by-play via Morse Code (I assume that's what all those clicks were about) and the local announcer would somehow make it all come alive.

    I used to drive a green Hornet, and I could pretty well guess a person's age by their reaction when I told them that. (Gosh, even admitting to driving a Hornet dates me, doesn't it?)

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  19. I'm the same as a lot of these people. This photo reminds me of listening to radio shows with the old man. Good times.

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  20. He's still wearing his work boots. I can imagine him rushing in after a long hard day's work just in time to catch his favorite show to listen to with his little girl. How sweet. As a young boy, my husband learned the fundamentals of radio from Mr. Marconi, himself!

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  21. If anyone has any interest in those old-time radios, or is looking for someone with the parts and knowledge to rebuild one, there's a guy named Al Jesperson who owns a little shop in south Minneapolis called Great Northern Antiques. Does most of his work off the web I think, so he must have a website. Google "Great Northern Antiques 55417" and you should be able to find him.

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