Antique table radioAuthor: Hans van den Boogaart
Around 1920 the wireless radio became available for the rich people.
Now, this was a revolutionary development. The world became smaller and was present in the people’s houses. Who didn’t remember as a little child that you were looking at the back of that magical box trying to find the man whose voice was coming out of the front?
Of course, nobody besides the owner was allowed to even point her or his finger towards the radio. Bear in mind that you could buy your self a car for the same money. Tuning in the desired station was a complicated matter using several tuning knobs. When finally the right station was found the correct settings of the knobs were written down so making it easier to find the station the next time. Extremely long wire antennas (sometimes running trough the whole house from cellar to attic) and a big fat accumulator for the filament were essential parts to get the whole circus running. Turning down the volume was simply done by degreasing the filament voltage. Who didn’t remember or, at least heard about, the “howling Mexican dog”? Charming! Some of these radio’s even did have a knob for tone control, quite a comic feature since one was feeling as rich as a king by just FINDING some music.
Time went on and the radio became more and more easy to operate. Even the cable remote control was introduced. Real electro motors, remotely operated, were connected to the volume control and the tuning knob.
An absolute milestone was the introducing of the Frequency Modulated band, better known as the FM band.
A remarkable difference between the United States and Europe was the frequency range of this new band. While as from the introduction in the U.S.A. the band went straight up to 108 Mhz., in Europe this was done in three stages started with 100 Mhz. via 104 Mhz. and than finally to 108 Mhz.
So, this is why you find many European radios with FM bands up to 100 Mhz and 104 Mhz.
Trough the years many radio’s became more and more sophisticated, more complicated output stages, pre sets, multi functional tone control and multi loudspeakers were just a few of the new features.
With the invention of the transistor a new milestone was reached microelectronics became a fact, still bringing tears to the eyes of the true tube lovers.
But, times went for the better! If you like to buy yourselves a top high end amplifier these days you will end up with a…..tube amplifier, so after all justice is back.