1948 Election Wire Recording

Peirce 260 wire recorder After the tumultuous 1948 election, someone made a political mix tape—half an hour of radio highlights from election coverage—on a small spool of very, very thin wire.  →

Edwin H. Armstrong

Edwin Howard Armstrong was a giant in many respects. That picture was given to us by the gentleman on the left, who was Mr. Charles R. Underhill. He started Armstrong on his distinguished career because Armstrong lived in the neighborhood of Mount Vernon, in New York. And Underhill lived a couple houses away… and very quickly, young Armstrong found out that Underhill was the man to go to find the answers to questions that bothered him.  →

Karl Ferdinand Braun

Braun shared the Nobel Prize in 1909 "in recognition of contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy", and later invented the cathode ray tube. He went on to be one of the founders of the Telefunken Company. And Telefunken was, of course, a giant competitor of Marconi.  →

Cable Equipment

This is cable equipment, and Cyrus Field, of course, is the guy who started the cable business, stretching the first cable across the Atlantic…in 1858.  →

Commercial Receivers

In the North Room, here, are broadcast receivers of the period 1920 to 1925, starting with the Atwater-Kent down at the far end, and running down to Zenith on this end, alphabetically arranged.  →

Crystal Receivers

Moving ahead to the early 1920’s when the broadcast radio boom began, here are some examples of early crystal sets.  →

Amos Emerson Dolbear

Dolbear had an elevated antenna, and essentially what he was doing was exciting the area around his antenna electrostatically, and the electrostatic field went out.  →

Earphones

Jumping from crystal sets, one has to realize there were no such things as loudspeakers. So, when you listened you used earphones, of which there were many varieties.  →

Thomas A. Edison

Now we come to Edison, who was the most remarkable guy, with over a thousand patents. I don’t know if anybody else has that many…  →

Electrical Experiments Before 1900

Looking at the South side of the North Room, the length of the counter is arranged chronologically, starting with the earliest devices, the Benjamin Franklin period, and so forth.  →

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden

From Brant Rock on Christmas Eve in 1906, Fessenden became the first person to broadcast musical and vocal programs over the air.  →

Reginald A. Fessenden

Reginald Fessenden, very, very early, was experimenting with electrostatic effects… wireless, if you will. And he was doing it really before Marconi started doing it.  →

Induction Coils

Straight spark gaps…there’s a variety of them in here…there are also induction coils…and this is a Crooke’s tube. And here is the first example of a cathode-ray tube, a Braun tube.  →

Loose Couplers

Jumping ahead to wireless, the early receivers were frequently referred to as loose couplers.  →

Guglielmo Marconi

Moving, now, over to this stiff aristocrat, Bill Marconi. What Marconi was, was a powerful organizer and a business man, and a pretty grabby guy, if you come right down to it, and he succeeded in building giant wireless stations all over the world… tremendous stations…  →

Mechanical Television

Baird Television Cutaway Quite a few people experimented with forms of television in the early 1900s. In the "camera" for these TVs a very bright light went through holes in a spinning disk, reflected off an object, and went into a selenium cell that converted the light to an electrical signal.  →

Meters

This is a window of various kinds of electrical measuring instruments.  →

Vance Phillips Collection

This is a collection of detectors made by Vance Phillips, who is the gentleman in the picture on the right. He was a W6GH.  →

Ship Radio Room from the 1920’s

This is a replica of a 1920’s ship radio room, or wireless cabin. The transmitter is a World War I Navy Standard, 1 Kilowatt Kilbourne & Clark Quenched-Gap spark transmitter.  →

Spark Transmitters

Here is a wireless receiver…these are the antennas…this is the coherer right here, and the bell is the tapper.  The transmitter is over there…a spark coil connects to it. This is a very early Marconi Jigger…Marconi used the term “Jigger” to describe an induction coil.  It has taps for different amounts of induction.  And it’s … Continue reading "Spark Transmitters"  →

Telegraphy

Going down the central hall in the wireless building, there are twelve display cases dealing with electrical communication. The first, naturally, is the telegraph, and in it are examples of telegraph instruments going as far back as Samuel Morse’s first days.  →

Television

Now we come to television. This is a scanning-wheel television, where there’s a pinhole here. The size of the picture is about an inch-and-a-quarter by an inch-and-a-quarter.  →

Tubes

Going here, this is the beginning of the vacuum tube era. Now, there are some very significant things in this particular window.  →

Underhill descendants visit the museum

On July 6 we had a visit from descendants of Mr. Charles R. Underhill, author, engineer and mentor to Edwin H. Armstrong, the inventor of regenerative and superheterodyne radio circuits and FM radio. In the Wireless Building we have a display of Mr. Underhill's books and other memorabilia.  →

Wireless Building History

Eldredge's Cow Barn 1963 The Wireless Building started life as a barn. After a thorough cleaning and major renovation, the stalls have become exhibits.  →