The following article is from Chicago the World’s Youngest City published in 1929, written by B. J. Grigsby, President Grigsby-Grunow Company.
HOW CHICAGO TOOK LEADERSHIP AS A RADIO CENTER
Scarcely more than eight years ago radio as a device for furnishing entertainment in your home was practically unknown. Up to that time its use had been confined principally to government enterprise, to the safeguarding of navigation and to amateur experimental effort. Under those conditions it was perfectly natural that the radio industry, as constituted at that time, should offer but little lure for the investment of capital either in Chicago or elsewhere.
But when, in the autumn of 1921, radio for home use came into being and the public responded so tremendously to what it had to offer, an entirely different picture was presented. It immediately became apparent that radio was destined to be not only one of the great industries of America, but one which would attract the best brains and the keenest capitalists in the country. From the very first, Chicago has had a dominant part in the development of the radio industry. In keeping with the “I Will” spirit of this great city, which means that Chicagoans do nothing by halves, some of the greatest radio plants in the world were founded in Chicago. Because of its central location and many other advantages, it was only fitting that Chicago take the lead as a radio center. Chicagoans as a whole seemed to become “radio-minded,” almost over night; and even in the early days of the manufacture of radio devices there appeared to be a wealth of brains and initiative available for building up radio industries in Chicago.
Chicago Daily News Building
Broadcasting Station WMAQ
“We must answer questions.”
One concern in Chicago, recognized as the largest in the world, is making every part of a radio outfit including chassis, speaker, cabinet—making radio receivers complete at the rate of 6,000 console sets per day. With other radio concerns engaged in producing materials for various other branches of the industry, there can be little to argue about as regards Chicago’s standing as a leader in the field of radio. Accurate comparative figures are difficult to obtain; but the amount of business done by radio concerns in Chicago, as compared with what is done in other cities, is far in the lead.
Chicago investors in the radio industry believe that radio science is really in its infancy. This may seem an astounding statement to one who has not given deep thought to the matter. In view of the tremendous amount of business already done in the radio field, and because of the tremendous publicity given to it, the average layman is accustomed to think of the industry as rapidly approaching its peak—if indeed the peak has not already been reached. But such is not the case. Under the searching gaze of the statistician, we find that although America has quickly become “radio conscious,” there are uncounted millions who have yet to purchase their first radio receiver; and there are other uncounted millions who yet are to know the thrill of owning a modern radio set which is as different from the original type of receiver as a modern automobile is different from a “one-hoss shay.”
Finishing Radio Cabinets in the World’s Largest Furniture Factory
What of the future of radio? Television, for practical use, yet a mystery, still is in the offing, to be solved commercially. Probably when a real, practical television set for the home is developed it will be developed by Chicagoans, or rather by Chicago capital. A Chicago radio manufacturer already has established foundations in many colleges for the development of new things in radio. He is creating in Chicago one of the greatest scientific laboratories ever yet approached by laboratory organizations, either in the radio industry or any other field of endeavor. Out of this progressiveness on the part of Chicago capitalists are certain to come new things in radio that perhaps some day will be as startling as was the radio principle itself, when it first burst upon a waiting world. From all of which it may be seen that Chicago, never backward in anything, has taken the lead in radio development; and unless some unlooked-for calamity arises, Chicago intends faithfully and consistently to maintain that leadership.