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1925 __ Automobile Radio
Comment : The electrifying effect of radio was changing the World and nowhere was it more evident than in the United States. Radio was bringing everything into focus and the true spirit of Roaring Twenties or Jazz Age was being felt on all fronts by 1925. A big market was born. Another market opened up for batteries, battery chargers and battery eliminators. Explanation: in terms of supplying power to a radio set, the “A” battery was that which powered the filaments of tubes. The current requirement was on the order of two or tree amperes at 5 Volt, a 6 Volt storage battery was generally used. This high current drain meant frequent charging of the storage battery. The owner had to purchassed a charger. The function of the “B” batteries was to supply the plate voltage to the tubes. Typically, ten to twenty milliamperes of current were drawn from a 90 to 180 Volt “B” battery pack, depending on the number and types of tubes in the set. These “B” batteries (also called dry batteries) would last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before replacement was necessary. The radio manufacturers also did considerable advertising in the automobile magazines. This encouraged courtship between the automobile and the radio and is very interresting, since some radio makers, (De Forest, and RCA, to name a few), offered innovative portable receivers about this time. With self-contained batteries and built-in loop antennas, it wouldn’t have taken too much imagination to rig one of these sets for use in the car. The sales volume fell dramatically following the stock market crash of october 1929. The firms were in immediate trouble. In general, automobile manufacturers sought to offer more products for less money. The competition was fierce. In the field new ideas were coming fast. Screen grid tubes (2 volts low current drain tubes) and RCA’s decision to license other radio manufacturers to use the Superheterodyne circuit. (Patented by Edwin Armstrong in 1919, RCA kept control of the patents until 1931). (Pol Beghon)Automobile radio was becoming popular. The Automobile Radio Corporation had been formed in 1927 by C. Russell Feldman to produce Transitone radios for installation in automobiles. The early Transitones had two-dial tuning and took up a lot of dashboard space. Priced at over $150, they sold poorly. Philco became involved with Automobile Radio Corporation in mid-1930. By August, they were not only selling Transitones through Philco dealers, but they were also building a single-dial unit for Automobile Radio. In December, Philco purchased the Automobile Radio Corporation, creating a new subsidiary exclusively for automobile radio – the Transitone Automobile Radio Corporation. Shortly afterward, Philco introduced a new Transitone auto radio, the Model 3, which was priced below $100. When Philco purchased the Automobile Radio Corporation, it also acquired that firm’s elegant office furniture. Skinner refused to allow it into the Philco offices. He was quoted in Fortune magazine as saying, “This is a factory. We don’t believe in fancy furnishings.”. (Philco website)Attempts to integrate that new medium broadcasting into cars commenced quite early. As I described on page 56 of the book "Radios von gestern", portable radios and radios for use in an automobile were one and the same. An early example is the two-valve portable receiver by British Thomson-Houston that was displayed on January 29th, 1920, at the London Radio Exhibition. We should not forget that for other type of communication Lee DeForest did some demonstration with a car on the World Exhibition 1904 in St. Louis. But here we concentrate on published Broadcast programs which had begun at least in 1912 by Chales Herrold, San Jose and 1913 in Belgium. Initially, it was portable battery radios that were individually adapted for installation into a car. The radio that George Frost, President of the "Lane High School Radio Clubs" in Chicago, had installed in his Ford-T-Model in 1922 is one of those receiving wider recognition. Another example, also dating back to 1922, is the "Marconiphone" radio installed in a "Daimler" that could be seen at the "Olympia Motorshow" in England. Some cities experimented with radio receivers in early patrol cars (http://www.radiomuseum.org/forumdata/users/1146/Chicago-Squads-Attention.PDF) in an attempt to reach officers wirelessly. Also for military pourposes car radio was an issue. You will see in the attachments how transmission was done. On the same page of "Radio World" from 28th October 1922 there are the two photos below with the title: "The Dashboard Special makes 40,000 Mile Tour, Equipped with Radio". Based on the "Radio Collector's Guide 1921-32", we carry the Airtone 3D (http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/radio03_airtone_3d.html) by "Radio Auto Distributors" for 1925 as a production model. There is also the Batt. 115-1926 (http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/all_americ_batt_115_1926_batt.html) by the All American Mohawk Corp (Lyric) from 1926. It must be said that I do have my doubts about both accounts in respect of the exact year. It can justifiably be argued that these and the "Transitone TH-1" from 1927 are the first mass-produced car radios. The year and date for the first production run of a "real car radio" remains still a bit of a mystery considering what's known about the subject at this time. However, it's safe to claim that the product "car radio" came into existence latest in 1927. Car radios from the late 1920s and into the early 1930s feature almost all the same appearance characteristics: A fair-sized tin box (shielding) which contains the receiver, a speaker and sometimes the power supply plus a control element that is connected to the radio portion via a flexible shaft. (Ernst Erb)
Urls : http://users.skynet.be/antique.autoradio/First_Radio_USA/First_Radio_US_eng_01-25.htm (last visited ) http://www.philcoradio.com/history/hist3.htm (last visited ) http://www.radiomuseum.org/forum/first_car_radios_history_and_development_of_early_car_radios.html (last visited )

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