Sep 29, 2008

Sept. 29, 1920: Radio Goes Commercial

(Wired) - 1920: The Joseph Horne department store in Pittsburgh advertises ready-made radio receivers that can pick up a local broadcast station. Commercial radio is just weeks away.
Frank Conrad was assistant chief engineer of the Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh. He'd been interested in radio since 1912. To settle a $5 bet (about $110 in today's money) about the accuracy of his $12 watch, Conrad built a radio receiver to hear the time signals transmitted by the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Conrad won the bet, but that's not the point. Notice that he had to build his own receiver. Just like the days of home-brew computers later in the 20th century, that's what aficionados of the emerging technology had to do in those days. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress