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1916 __ Radio concerts — The Audion
Lee de Forest (1873-1961)
Comment : De Forest inaugurates radio concerts three nights a week and the first news broadcast by radio from an experimental station at High Bridge, New York. In november, he broadcasts results of the Woodrow Wilson-Charles Evans Hughes presidential campaign. (Barry Mishkind, “The Broadcast Archives”, www.oldradio.com)By the beginning of 1916, de Forest had finally perfected his Audion for its most important task - that of an oscillator for the radiotelephone. Earlier in Palo Alto, he had made his tube perform as an amplifier and sold it to the telephone company as an amplifier of transcontinental wired phone calls. Returning to his home in New York City, by late 1916 de Forest had begun a series of experimental broadcasts from the Columbia Phonograph Laboratories on 38th Street, finally abandoning his version of the arc transmitter and using for one of the very first times his Audion as a transmitter (photo right) of radio: "The radio telephone equipment consists of two large Oscillion tubes, used as generators of the high frequency current" ("Election Returns Flashed by Radio to 7,000 Amateurs," Electrical Experimenter, Jan, 1917, p 650). One early broadcast received mixed reviews: "Columbia phonograph records played from the laboratory of the company at 102 West Thirty-Eighth Street were distinctly heard in the receiving room of the (Hotel) Astor, with the exception of a few interruptions by the powerful naval wireless apparatus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, when the warning of a storm was heard intermittently with the music" ("Election Returns Flashed by Radio to 7,000 Amateurs," Electrical Experimenter, Jan, 1917, p 650). One month later, de Forest told a New York Sun reporter that he, using a ‘wave length’ of 800 meters, "will be setting another record by giving the first public concert by wireless in history" ("Air Will Be Full of Music Tonight," New York Sun, Nov 6, 1916). A few months later, de Forest moved his tube transmitter to High Bridge, New York, where one of the most publicized pre-WWI broadcasting events took place. Just like Pittsburgh’s KDKA would attempt exactly four years later in 1920, de Forest used the most public of events for his broadcast. This time it was the Hughes-Wilson presidential election of November, 1916: "The New York American installed a private wire and bulletins were sent out every hour" ("Air Will Be Full of Music Tonight," New York Sun, Nov 6, 1916). This time the listener reports were more positive: "Seven thousand wireless telephone operators withing a radius of 200 miles of New York City received election returns from the New York American. They heard not only election returns, but music as well. Between the bulletins, music was sent thru the clouds. The crowds heard ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ ‘Dixie,’ ‘Columbia, Gem of the Ocean,’ ‘America,’ ‘Maryland,’ ‘Yankee Doodle’ and all the other anthems, songs and hymns that American’s love" ("Election Returns Flashed by Radio to 7,000 Amateurs," Electrical Experimenter, Jan, 1917, p 650). Because it happened in New York, was listened to by a large audience, and received so much press attention, it was one of the single most important pre-World War I events in radio broadcasting. (Mike Adams)A Concert by Wireless - Lee de Forest gives amateur operators a treat over the 'phone.Thousands of amateur wireless operators within a radius of 100 miles of New York heard a wirelss telephone concert given recently at the De Forest experimental laboratories at Highbridge. The entertainment lasted for more than half an hour, and operatic selections and popular music were poured into the telephone to be sent out in wireless waves to every listening ear in and about the city. Phonographic records were used and a special record was put on to oblige an operator "somewhere in Flushing". Notice of the concert had been sent out several days ago, and so that amateurs were waiting with receivers clapped to their ears for the signal that would tell them that the performance was about to begin. All that the operators had to do to enjoy the music was to tune up to the wave length of the sending station. Walter Schare was in charge of the concert, and after the first few selections had been played on the phonograph expressions of thanks from the unseen audience began to sputter into the receiving instrument. From Yonkers came a hearty vote of thanks, and one enthusiastic Staten Islander insisted on sending messages of appreciation several times. The concert is one of a series planned at the laboratories. Indeed, it is the plan of Lee De Forest to establish a sort of wireless newspaper to which every amateur with an instrument can subscribe. In this way news can be telephoned and the interesting happenings of the day can be sent to listening ears "hot off the wire". We are informed that the test will continue every evening from Monday to Friday inclusive, at 8:00 o'clock on a wave length of approximately 800 meters. The De Forest Company would deem it a great favor if those hearing the concert would report by mail. (In QST, Jan. 1917, p. 26 ; see also Apr. 1917, pp. 72-74 Cited by Alan Douglas, "Radio Manufacturers of the 1920's: A-C Day Dayton to J. B. Ferguson", Sonoran Publishing, 1995, p. 168)
Source : Adams, Mike (1996), "The Race for Radiotelephone: 1900-1920",originally published in the AWA Antique Wireless Association Review, Vol 10, 1996.
Source : Forest, Lee de (1923), “Concerning my invention - The Audion”, In“RADIO BROADCAST”, Vol. 2, NOVEMBER, 1922, to APRIL, 1923, Garden City, N. Y., DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY, 1923, pp. 253-254)
Urls : http://www.leedeforest.org/awa.html (last visited ) http://www.oldradio.com/ (last visited ) http://www.archive.org/stream/radiobroadcast02gardrich/%23page/252/mode/2up (last visited )

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