Vintage Radio

Credit P. Litwinovich collection

In this occasional series, WSHU Chief Engineer Paul Litwinovich explores aspects of vintage radio. The subjects will range from the radio sets themselves to the people and technology that made it all possible. He'll talk about collecting, dating, and restoring these relics of yesteryear. Each article features a different vintage set with information about its place in the development of the electronic age. Some of the sets featured are from his own collection. 

Comments and questions are welcome.

Wikipedia Images

In this article I’ll look at two things that, unless you are a serious ham operator or an absolute radio geek, you probably are unfamiliar with.

First, we will take a look at a very rare phenomenon first noted by radio listeners back in 1933. It generated several theories, but the correct one was only verified experimentally in recent times.

Second, we will look at a government-funded project that, while built for other purposes, was used to confirm the phenomenon 75 years later. 

Photographer Unknown / WLW tour brochure

Powel Crosley Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 18, 1886. He would go on to become a leading industrialist and lead a colorful life with many achievements, including starting his own car company, Crosley Automobiles, and owning the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Even though this is a column about radio, I can’t help but mention at least some of his many accomplishments. 

Courtesy of Andrea Electronics Corporation

When I decided to write about Frank Andrea, I thought that like Atwater Kent, David Sarnoff, Edwin Armstrong and others, that the research involved would be a cake walk, given his success in the radio business and his involvement in early television. But alas, Frank would at first prove to be more of a challenge. Online information about him was basic and sparse and I found that a lot of it contained at least some inaccuracies. Since he had established radio factories on Long Island, the local connection to the WSHU listening area makes the story even more interesting.

P. Litwinovich collection

With the advent of KDKA, the first licensed station broadcasting to the public, the radio industry enjoyed a steady and at times phenomenal growth.

P. Litwinovich collection

In bygone days, before all of the computerized wonders of modern technology, one of the favorite gifts that one could receive during the holiday season was a shiny new radio. The recipient's age was of no matter, it could be a bright red Catalin table radio for grandma, a Snow White radio for little Susie, or a Lone Ranger set for little Johnny.