The Chicago Radio Show ran from 1922 till 1932. In 1936 a smaller version was sponsored by Marshall Field & Company.
Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1929
Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1929
BY LORENZ WOLTERS
With the finest display of radio creations ever brought together under one roof Chicago’s eighth annual radio show—a million dollar exposition this year—opens tomorrow in the Coliseum. And until the doors close next Sunday night at 11 o’clock on the latest offerings of nearly 300 exhibitors, Chicago remains the capital of the ether-minded world.
Every inch of available space in the Coliseum, including the main building, mezzanine balconies, and north and south ballrooms will be occupied in presenting the latest in radio styles to crowds that will be record breaking, if early fall sales are a reliable index to the season’s radio interest.
Show visitors will be impressed with the fact that the radio industry has suddenly grown up. It has hit a steady, measured stride hitherto unknown. Each of Chicago’s previous expositions revealed products with revolutionary features unheard of at the previous show. Last year saw a general introduction of all electric receivers, the flowering of console or cabinet sets, and dynamic speakers.
The Screen Grid Tube.
This year brings a further perfection of these features and with them a definite and secure place in the radio sun for the screen grid tube.
The tube, it is claimed, has a capacity for increasing the circuit’s sensitivity, sharpening tuning, producing added volume and enhancing the tonal quality. And tonal qualities, one learns, are what sells radios this year.
Few demand long distance tuning any more. All of the well known types will bring in plenty of fine programs. Fine cabinets—and they are finer than ever this year at somewhat reduced prices—help sell the radio. They are likely to attract the eye, but the ear is the final arbiter. If the old set would give as fine a tone as the new ones many potential customers would not buy this year. Further improvement in speakers has helped radio in this major achievement of the year—the acquisition of the rich, clear voice of maturity.
The Radio Phonograph.
Of course, there are other features that will attract buyers. A remote control by which the set may be tuned from any part of the house, several devices for automatic tuning, including a visual tuning meter. Many of the new all electric sets are radio phonographs. This sort of set appears to have staged something of a comeback. If you are pleased with a certain radio selection you buy it for the phonograph and play it over, if it’s a dull day for radio, you choose your own music.
With approximately 75 per cent of radios purchased, or at least chosen by women, console cabinets and built-in speakers are more popular than ever. Women look at radio not only as an instrument for producing music and entertainment but also as a piece of furniture. Hence manufacturers are striving for cabinets that will satisfy the most exacting tastes. In speaking of their latest designs they employ such phrases as “old English,” pilasters of diamond matched oriental walnut plywood,” “Carpathian elm arched doors,” Gothic motif,” “exterior of Jacobean beauty,” and “Charles II motif.”
Set for Every Purse.
This year there appears to be a set for almost every pocket. A general tendency on the part of most manufacturers to get into the low priced field is manifesting. Here and there prices have been cut in half. With almost every offering one is sure to get much greater value per dollar than in any year since broadcasting began. Many console sets are priced from slightly more than $100 to $300, though one may spend considerably more.
In addition to the hundreds of receiving sets on exhibition visitors will find many late developments from radio laboratories and broadcast features to interest them. The RCA-Alexanderson system of television, though still in the laboratory stage, will be exhibited for the first time in Chicago and for the first time outside of New York City. A continuous demonstration of this new picture-radio will be under the direction of Austin Rahe of New York. Stars of the stage, screen, radio and distinguished persons in business and professional life will appear before the televisor, and arrangements have been made so that the spectators can see them in person and on the television screen at the same time.
W-G-N to Broadcast.
W-G-N and other powerful Chicago stations will broadcast programs from the huge Crystral studio in the Coliseum.
For the first time in the history of the Chicago radio show colorful broadcasts, originating here, will be put on the air by the National Broadcasting company and the Columbia broadcasting system.
The new musical instrument, theremin, operated entirely by radio waves, will be demonstrated for the first time in Chicago.
In the radio pageant of progress visitors may examine historic pieces of equipment used in the days of wireless infancy nearly thirty years ago.
Radio dealers who will come from all over the midcontinent region are looking forward to a banner year. A 50 per cent increase in business over the 1928-1928 season is predicted for them. Last year 2,000,000 sets were sold in the United States. If sales continue at the present pace is is estimated that 10,000,000 sets will be in use in the country by next June.
Chicago’s radio show is sponsored by the Radio Manufacturers’ association. G. Clqyton Jr. is general manager of the show and U. J. Herrmann is managing director.
Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1929
A MYSTERIOUS musical instrument, the theremin, played simply by moving the hands in the air above a polished mahogany cabinet, will receive its first public demonstration in Chicago at the radio show, opening tomorrow.
Theremin has no keyboard, strings, reeds or other mechanical aids for manipulation, and there is nothing but atmosphere between the player and the instrument itself.
One hand controls the tone and the other the volume, the position of each hand in relation to the theremin determining the tones produced. As described by Hubert S. Conover, ‘cellist of the Chicago Business Men’s orchestra, one of the attending a private demonstration of the theremin, “Music is produced as though the hands were striking invisible strings of some celestial instrument.”
Of course, it’s mysterious radio that is responsible for the seeming impossibility that takes place before the eyes and ears of the observer. When the human hand is brought into a sensitive electrical field, surrounding one of the slender rods protruding from the theremin, the field is so affected that audio frequency notes or sound, are produced louder or softer as the position of the hand is changed. These are amplified and passed through a loud speaker. The position of the other hand with reference to a second rod or antenna determines the volume, in graduations down to the faintest whisper.
Theremin is the invention of a young Russian scientist, Leon Theremin.1
Chicago Tribune, October 7, 1928
Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1929
LEFT: Television will be demonstrated for the first time in Chicago at the radio show. Stars of the stage of screen and radio, as well as distinguished figures in the business world, will appear before the televisor. R. D. Kell, assistant to Dr. E. F. W. Alexanderson, the inventor of the system to be exhibited, is pictured demonstrating television above.
RIGHT: Bonnie Blue, Chicago’s first television actress, will entertain daily during the radio show. Visitors will see and hear her blue songs over television with sound. Miss Blue is a Chicago girl.
Television, Vol. 1, No. 2, July, 1928
THE photograph herewith shows one of the newest television transmitters and receivers which was successfully demonstrated at the recent Radio Trade Show in Chicago. The managing editor of Radio News Magazine saw the apparatus in operation and stated that the reproduced image was very clear and brilliant. In general, this newest television system designedand built by two Chicago engineers, Mr. M. L. Hayes and U. A. Sanabria, is based on the Ives system demonstrated about a year ago by the Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City. Those interested in the details of this television system will do well to read the description of the Bell Telephone Laboratory televisor described in Vol. I, No. 1, of Television.
The photograph above shows the newest television transmitter recently demonstrated from broadcast station WCFL Chicago (Stevens Hotel). The apparatus was designed and constructed by two Chicago engineers, M. L. Hayes and U. A. Sanabria. The system is similar to the Bell Telephone Laboratory arrangement and large photo electric cells are used. These cells will be observed in the cabinet directly in front of the subject who is here ahoy= being televised. The amplifier cabinet is shown in the foreground on the table, together with a power amplifier just behind it. The amplifier is shielded electrically and mechanically.
Looking at the photograph we see that an intense beam of light from an arc or incandescent lamp passes from right to left, through a whirling perforated disc, the successive beams of light falling on the subject’s face. As the reflected light beams fall on one of the four huge photoelectric cells, observed in the cabinet directly in front of the subject, minute photoelectric currents are produced by the cell or cells affected by the reflected light beam at any particular instant. These weak currents from the photoelectric cells are then highly amplified by the vacuum tube amplifier shown in the center of the picture.
Eight stages of resistance coupled (thoroughly shielded) amplification are available in the amplifier, and jacks are provided so that any number of stages may be used as occasion requires.
When the amplified photoelectric cell currents emerge from the last stage of the amplifier, which should preferably be a power stage, this current is connected to a neon tube, which is placed behind a second revolving perforated disc. This receiving disc is rotated at exactly the same speed as the transmitting disc by a synchronous motor. The reproduced image is observed by looking through a diaphragm in front of the whirling perforated disc at the spot where the neon tube light is situated. As the constantly changing picture image currents arrive at the neon tube, the latter instantly regulates the amount of light given off in simultaneous fashion. The transmitting and receiving disc each have a similar spiral of The photograph above shows the newest television transmitter recently demonstrated from broadcast station WCFL Chicago. The apparatus was designed and constructed by two Chicago engineers, M. L. Hayes and U. A. Sanabria. The system is similar to the Bell Telephone Laboratory arrangement and large photo holes on them so that when a disc makes one revolution, the spiral of perforations has succeeded in completely scanning the image to be transmitted.
One of the newer developments of these enterprising inventors takes the form of specially perforated discs, each disc containing three spirals of holes. In this fashion each disc scans the picture three times in one revolution and the scanning is not in the usual sequence one, two, three, four, etc., but one, four, seven-for example. The second spiral of holes scans paths two, five, eight, etc, the third spiral three, six, nine, etc. It is claimed that much better definition and detail are obtained in this way.
The large photoelectric cells here shown were constructed at the University of Illinois by a research scientist and their performance is similar to that of the large Ives cells used in the Bell Telephone Laboratory demonstrations last summer. Television amplifiers require the use of resistance coupling to avoid distortion and the cutting off of certain frequencies, which would happen if ordinary transformer coupled amplifiers were used
1 Factory-made RCA Theremins were first demonstrated in music stores in several major U.S. cities on October 14, 1929 and were marketed primarily in 1929 and 1930. Theremins were luxury items, priced at $175.00, not including vacuum tubes and RCA’s recommended Model 106 Electrodynamic Loudspeaker, which brought the total cost of buying a complete theremin outfit up to about $232.00. This translates to about $3,217 in today’s currency. In the mid 1940s, Hollywood composers discovered the theremin and began to arrange scores that included its haunting sounds to convey disturbed states of mind or establish suspense. Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945) used theremin extensively in its score. By the early 1950s, the sound of the theremin began to appear in science fiction films, most notably The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).