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Antique Radios

After the Titanic disaster of 1912, all ships were required to have radio transmitters and two operators, and all transmitters had to be licensed.  RCA incorporated in 1919 to control patents of GE, AT&T, Westinghouse, and United Fruit.   Regular radio broadcasts started in the early 1920s with the number of stations and their transmission power steadily increasing. It was an era of firsts: the first radio commercial, the first opening of Congress to be broadcast in 1923, and the Democratic National Convention in 1924. RCA licensed other companies to produce receivers including Philco, Zenith, Emerson, and Sylvania. 1922 saw the first live studio audience during a radio show. NBC was formed in July 7, 1926, owned by RCA, GE, and Westinghouse. It wasn't long before popular radio shows began to dominate home life in the 1930s, including the Lone Ranger and Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour. Comedians exploded onto the scene making the big step up from Vaudeville to radio, including Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly. Promotional advertising dramatically increased the sales of toothpaste, cigarettes, floor wax and anything else the adventurous advertiser was willing to display to an audience hungry to be entertained. Many star performers incorporated the product into their shows so that the audience's attention could not be diverted from the commercial message.

As transistor radios developed and exploded into the 1950s, giving everybody the chance to carry his own music with him, a separation occurred between the world of adults and youths. The dividing line was music over the air. In earlier decades, separation between young and old was limited by the availability of clubs and the curfew imposed by parents. Now, children and youths could snuggle beneath their blankets and listen to their favorite radio shows and musical groups, dominantly rock and roll. During these early decades many sets were produced only to be discarded to become rare and valuable novelty radio collectibles. 




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