the Golden Age of Radio (admittedly a subjective term), electronics
innovators were generally as likely to be hobbyists (amateurs) as
they were to be professionals with college degrees. In fact, according
to this open letter from Eugene F. McDonald, president of Zenith
Radio Corporation, in 1939, his company recognized the fact that
most of their best ideas came from amateur radio operators, and
that their engineering staff was populated overwhelmingly with Hams.
Accordingly, the letter was a solicitation to amateurs to submit
their ideas to the company to give designers not just valuable technical
information gleaned from real-world experimentation (aka the School
of Hard Knocks) but also insight into what type of equipment the
Ham world would like to have made available for sale.
March 1939 QST
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
it be great to still see the foundational electronics brands start
re-appearing on store shelves again (yes, and online, too)? Would
it mean anything to you to still be able to buy a made-in-America
television or radio from RCA, Zenith, Westinghouse, Crosley, Farnsworth,
or Sylvania? If you're visiting from Germany, how about a Braun
or a Klein & Hummel? Here from Spain? How would a spanking new
Magnadyne sitting on the table scratch an itch? Find some of your
own country's vintage equipment manufacturers here on the
Radio Museum website.
Amateurs - Your Thoughts May be Worth
Amateurs - Your Thoughts
May be Worth Money
(Zenith Radio Corporation
Zenith Radio Corporation
To Radio Amateurs:
This is an
invitation to every "ham" in the world.
in magazines, newspapers, etc., tell you how to spend your money.
This is not that type of message.
have always contended that the credit for most of the major developments
we have in radio have been due to the American amateur. The radio
industry's enormous laboratories have done little but refine that
which the amateur discovered. The Zenith Radio Corporation is always
ready to reward amateurs who send us suggestions that we have not
before had, if we adopt them.
We haven't an engineer in our
laboratory over forty years old - they're all ex-"hams," progressive
and very much open-minded. To them nothing is impossible. We have
found that it is not always the fellow who knows all the rules of
why things won't work that produces real results. As a matter of
fact, the contrary is usually true.
If you want to see an
example of development, drop into a Zenith dealer's store and examine
the Wavemagnet model of radio, just put on the market, using no
antenna, ground or battery. This is not a set built for "hams."
This job was suggested by an amateur and the improved shielded loop
was refined by our laboratory. If you know how to build this loop
better, tell us and, if your suggestion is novel and we adopt it,
we will reward you.
So, you see this was not an ad telling
you how to spend your money. It is just an invitation for more of
you to correspond with us on further developments.
E.F. McDonald, Jr.
Posted October 23, 2013