Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Radio News 1921

I picked up a small lot of vintage Radio News magazines from the 1920's and '30's and you know what that means. More scanning! The magazines are in pretty poor condition and leave little paper flakes everywhere and I'm afraid my scanning may be the death of them. First up is the August 1921 issue of "the 100% Wireless Magazine".

Frankly, the articles and ads for the most part aren't that interesting (to me anyway.  I'm sure someone out there would love the articles).  There are a lot of articles about building your own radios and the mathematics and electronics behind it.

The Dempsey-Carpentier boxing match took place on July 2nd, 1921.  Dempsey knocked Carpentier out in the 4th round.  The match was the first earn over $1,000,000 in revenue and also the first to allow women to attend the match.

Raising an antenna with a kite is a pretty good idea, but I wouldn't try it in a storm.  Ask Ben Franklin.

"When Romance Meets Up with Science" is a story of forbidden love suppressed and the defiant lovers who dared to defy the suppression of the love that was forbidden.  Oh, and how radio made it all possible.  I've copied the continuations immediately below so you don't have to flip through the magazine.

J. L. Leistra of Rotterdam, Holland shows off his home-made set ("Pretty neat, isn't it?")  He mentions it can only receive as "no transmitting is allowed here".  I wonder why.

"Radiofone Goulash" is a comic look at what the artist supposes will be "a Cross-Section of the Air When the Wireless Telefone Comes Into General Use."  I'm pretty sure I've never heard any of these phrases while riding in an elevator with someone who was on their phone.  However, the commentary below the cartoon came pretty close with "How Do You Get Me Now?"

Have a stammer?  They'll cure it without the sing-song or time beat.

Radio News, September 1921.

It's a "ground" for complaint because you see, one youth is using the frying pan as a ground point for the radio and the other has a fish he wants to fry. Heh.  Heh. Uhhhhh...

Not Dr. Moo. That's Mu as in μ used to designate the gain in a vacuum tube.

I was surprised to see this article on radio controlled automobiles.  I tried to find out more information, but couldn't get past all the toy radio controlled cars.

Tesla has become the darling of the pop science set as of late, particularly embraced by the Steampunk crowd. I think he had some great ideas and inventions (AC comes to mind), but some of his other inventions were really out there (not in a good way) such as his "Earthquake Machine" which was busted on Mythbusters. He was a fan of eugenics, didn't believe in the existence of electrons, was convinced he had received signals from "another world", thought shocking the brain of "dull" students would make them smarter and spent his final years paranoid and penniless.  Having said all that, doing some reading about him lead me to discover he had invented a radio-controlled boat in 1898, so that answers my question above.

I suppose worse things could be discovered barging into your son's room.

The ad showing the cover of the latest issue of "Science and Invention" intrigued me, particularly the "Sightseeing Captive Helicopter".

I found this color photo of the cover.

The first operational helicopter was invented in 1936, so I'm not sure if this was just speculation or something that was being developed.

How many questions could you answer?  When I read magazines like these, it always leads me to believe people were smarter back then.  New concepts and products were being introduced, but you get a distinct feeling they understood the underlying physics and mathematics. Even with our exposure to much advanced technology, how many of us understand how our technology works or could build it for that matter?


  1. Do you still have the August 1921 edition of Radio News? I'm researching early sports broadcasting and would love to find page 156 to finish the story! Thanks for any help you can offer.
    Best regards from London
    Neil D

    1. Hi Neil,
      I suspect I no longer have these issues, but I will look and if I can find them, I will scan and post the remainder of the article. I'll reply here if I do.


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