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FW: car radio query
73, de Hakim (N1ZFF)
From: Hakim Madjid [mailto:HMadjid@mindspring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 4:12 PM
To: Donna Halper
Subject: RE: car radio query
Well like anything else it may have be arguable that Motorola was the
absolute first with a car radio, I think they made the first really
practical one, in the late 1920s. As you probably know, the company was
known as Galvin Manufacturing at the time, 'Motorola' being just the trade
mark for the radio rather than the name of the company. The way things
worked, is that the Motorola car radio was strictly an after-market add-on.
The Galvin Co., put togther a network of authorized dealer/installers Just
like today's after market car audio shops].
Natrually, as with any Next Great New Thing in our own day, the car radio
business in the 1930s would attract it's share of entreprenurs trying to get
in in the action. Of course in the midst of the Great Derpression, business
would probably not be all that easy.
As far as Delco was concerned, obviously GM, Ford, and Chrysler wern't all
that happy about their customers going to the aftermarket for car radios,
[they really still aren't today]. So obviosuly when they saw that this was
getting popular, they would want do develop their own product.
The magazine Collectible Automobile, ran an article on the early history of
car radios. I can't remember if it was last year or in 1999, however.
Incedentally, back then, there was legislation being debated to ban car
radios as a driver distraction. Sound famliar?
73, de Hakim (N1ZFF)
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Donna
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 2:25 PM
Subject: car radio query
I got asked to do a sound byte or two for an upcoming History Channel
piece, and I wanted to ask the engineers on this list a question. We have
all run into the issue of disc jockeys claiming to be first in history to
do something, claiming a song was written about them, claiming they did
something unique-- and later it turns out to be untrue. Ditto for stations
which (like KDKA) say they were the first station in the world to
broadcast-- which is totally false-- but which many books still state as a
fact. Sooo, in the interest of accuracy, the question was put to me about
the importance of Motorola in the car radio field. My sense was that in
the early 30s, when car radios began gaining more prominence (and when some
major engineering problems had been handled), Motorola was one of a number
of companies trying to break through and get some publicity, but that the
public did NOT know it as the best or the first or whatever. Motorola's
publicity, of course, tells a different story, but I have pored over many
reels of microfilm and while I find stories about the much better funded
General Motors Radio Company (in which RCA and Westinghouse owned shares),
and about inventor Leo Fenway's company and Delco and several other names,
I find little about Paul Galvin and Motorola till much later. Yet in
William Lear's various writings (he worked with Galvin in the early 30s),
and in Motorola's history, the impression that Motorola made a major and
immediate impact is given. So, if none of the major newspapers or
magazines wrote word one about the company in the early to mid 30s, and if
the company was in fact a little guy amongst giant corporations, how did
Motorola become synonymous with car radios????? Anybody got a theory?