Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Light Or Sound?

In April 1925 Canadian inventor Ted Rogers introduced the first AC-powered radio to the world.  Before this innovation people had to make do with batteries.  Now someone could hook up a radio to the electrical system in their home and never worry about recharging again.

This was before the adaptation to the two prong wall plug.  In olden times things were a bit screwy with appliances: everything used the same socket type invented for light bulbs. 

Check out the accompanying illustration of a commemorative stamp recalling Roger's achievement.  To create the stamp part of an old ad was used, the image of a woman who has removed a light bulb and is connecting her Roger's Batteryless Radio.  But I wonder if there were at least a few homes with only one socket per room (maybe one socket in the whole house).  Someone had to decide whether to read or listen at night.  I wonder how many arguments that situation stirred up.

"I don't want to read by that damn kerosene lamp!  Anyway, radio is a lot of foolishness, not good for your mind.  Nothing more than a passing craze for stupid people."

Of course that prediction was a bit off.  There are plenty of radio stations still on the air, including 1010 AM in Toronto that started broadcasting in 1927.  Its call sign is CFRB, the last two letters designating Rogers Batteryless radio.  After all, as Ted Rogers figured out, if you make a radio, you have to make sure people have a reason to buy one.

-- Hat tip to Dale Speirs, editor of Opuntia zine, for clueing me in on the stamp and old ads.


Doug said...

Now I've learned something. I hope you're happy, Ray.

X. Dell said...

The things we take for granted. Back in 1927, they were only a step removed from crystal sets.

Your scenario at the end reminded me of a 1938 grindhouse flick about the futuristic societal decay brought about by television.

I guess each technological generation gets to hear these arguments over and over.