In which we peruse and ponder some electronics articles published in a daily newspaper circa the 1920s.
You may recall my making mention of my chum Rick Curl on occasion. Rick lives in Birmingham, Alabama -- about 90 miles south of Huntsville, which is where I hang my hat.
Like me, Rick is a collector of the weird and wonderful when it comes to electronics in general and gizmos and gadgets in particular (unlike me, Rick can usually get them to work). Every month or so, Rick comes up to Huntsville to pick up circuit boards and suchlike, in which case he will drop into my office to say "Hi" and to delight me with some electronic doodad he's run across.
On his most recent trip, Rick brought a scrapbook that was owned by his Grandfather. Peering into this scrapbook is like looking through a window into the past:
The entire scrapbook is filled with newspaper cuttings from the Birmingham News. And not just any old cuttings about how to fry your grits or what hats men are wearing this season – these cuttings were all electronics-related. The first one I glanced at was copyright 1922:
Remember that these are from the regular daily newspaper, but they aren’t trivial – they're more at the level you would expect to see in an electronics hobbyist magazine circa the 1950s and 1960s.
It makes you think. In those days, electronic systems like radios were few and far between – the fact that they were rudimentary by today's standards doesn’t mean they were easy to understand – but average folks were gorging themselves on these articles (the paper wouldn’t have published them if there wasn't an audience). By comparison, today electronics pervades the fabric of our lives, but you wouldn’t expect to see any form of "how it works" article in a newspaper because so few folks would be interested.
Truth to tell, I'm not sure what to conclude about all this – what do you think?
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