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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 19, 2018 12:53 am 
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Location: Radio Heaven, North Carolina, near Charlotte, 28106-3015
An amazing job on an amazing radio.
I highly encourage you to build a web page to document the restoration of
this rare set.
Lots of photos and details of what you had to do to bring it back.
I look forward to examining it in person.

.

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73, Ron w4ron
http://radioheaven.homestead.com/menu.html


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 19, 2018 2:36 am 
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Location: Monroe, NC 28112 USA
Hi Merrill,

Yeah send them on. The only hitch is that you MUST also include the
TIME to do whatever is needed.... I seem to be using up all the time that is around here already...

I've got to ask you if you have any info on Cascade radios made in Wisconsin... I've already checked out radiomuseum.org and the WARCI club site.

I need iron clad evidence that any of their sets used cathode follower RF amplifiers...

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Feb Mon 19, 2018 4:17 am 
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Hello Robert ,
what great job that cabinet is very nice far the router bit I am lucky to have friends with machine shop also the use of some great woodworking tools
working as a shop teacher helps


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Wed 24, 2021 4:21 am 
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I know this is an old post, but I too have a GE prototype from the 20s albeit nothing as complicated and important as this one might be.

I forget who, but many years ago somebody told me that GE's paperwork on their 20s radio prototypes were donated to the Schenectady Science Museum (now known as "miSci" or the "Museum of Innovation & Science"). The prototype that I have was given to my grandfather by the company (they were going to toss it). He was friends with Salvatore Cascio (artist behind most of GE's atom & space age era marketing artwork) who had become the Schenectady Science Museum's art director in retirement, or something along those lines. Its been so many years that I have looked into this stuff & the people I had talked to about it are all dead today. I have one of Cascio's paintings and it needs about $3k in conservatorship work after the two of us were victims of a probable-DUI driver 10 years ago.

I have been meaning for years to take a trip out there to see if what I was told is true & to see what papers they have pertaining to my set. Its possible that it would give some clues as to what the engineers were trying to accomplish, who was involved, etc. for mine. For yours It would be curious to know for example what the deal was with that antenna coil.

My prototype, #1061 housed in a RadiolaV case. Its in my will to go to the miSci when I die, if 1- they have the relevant paperwork and 2- want it. AWA is my planB in case that doesn't pan out. Smithsonian and Henry Ford Museum are my plans C and D respectfully.

Somewhere, there's documentation on these sets.


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Wed 24, 2021 2:40 pm 
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Bethlehem, PA eh? That is my problem as well being here in the Carolinas. The person (me/you) interested in a particular artifact are far too distant from the likely repository of relevant data. I remember the days when John Anderson was serving as historian for GE in Schenectady. He died quite some time ago. I would think that maybe Eric Wenaas the author of Radiola... Would know more about navigating for source info on GE radio history in recent years.
As for the 1925 prototype I conserved/restored/remanufactured, I have not been told if any new information about that radio has been unearthed in the past 3 years.

How about posting a few snapshots of your item?

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Wed 24, 2021 5:07 pm 
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I am going to have to pull it out of storage to photograph it later. I know pictures of it have circulated online before, maybe 20-30 years back, taken while it was still my grandfather's and in his house. I actually passed through Schenectady a few months ago but didn't have time to stop to do research. If I knew for sure the papers were there and accessible I'd be tempted to sleep in my car in the parking lot if I had to.


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 25, 2021 5:04 am 
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So some pictures and a story.

I have Sample No. 1051. The story goes that it was built by Dr. Baker.

Baker, as in Dr. Walter Ransom Gail Baker was one of GE’s earliest radio innovators and eventually became vice president of the company. He was involved in radio at the company from 1916 on and WRGB is named for him.

When GE built their Syracuse plant, Electronics Park, Baker himself more or less designed the whole facility down to hand picking the plants used in the landscaping. His vision for the plant was to be an actual park-like environment, and had a full apartment (with fireplace and all) in one of the buildings so he could live on site. You can find pictures of his office on the library of congress website:

Image

Link for above: https://www.loc.gov/item/2018748228/

Image

Link for above: https://www.loc.gov/item/2018748229/

Notice the Capehart (?) console in this shot.

Dr. Baker was a sentimental type, like many in this hobby are, and had kept some of the prototypes & production sets he thought were most important to the history of the company’s involvement in radio on display either throughout the plant’s buildings or in his apartment. This radio sat on display in his apartment.

That is, until the company decided to sack him. Baker was sent overseas for an international conference that was going to negotiate TV broadcast technical standards. While the conference was going on, the company contacted him and basically told him he was fired and forced him into retirement.

The heartbroken Dr. Baker never collected his things from his office & apartment and died soon after.

Those belongings were boxed up and dumped into one of the Syracuse storage facilities (off site but nearby) and were basically forgotten and left untouched until the late 1980s/early 1990s when GE started closing as many of their locations as they could under Jack Welch’s tenure. My grandfather at the end of his career was part of the team that had the job clearing out these storage facilities which, as a general rule, really meant “toss the stuff in dumpsters and make sure guards keep anyone from stealing from it” while management ignored pleas for preservation. My grandfather expressed interest in the radio, his boss asked their boss who asked their boss and they decided to just give it to him. He kept it in his shop until dementia started badly eating his brain, at which point he asked me to take it with instructions on making sure nothing bad would ever come to it.

I believe it predates 1923. My grandfather was told that it was a first radio GE/RCA ever made, which I don’t believe is true as they surely had working production models before the RadiolaV era that this dates to. Now maybe there is something lost in the translation and it was a prototype to the “first radio using some kind of specific circuit feature” or something like that. I have not made any attempt to draw a schematic for it, and to be honest I hate even touching it because I try to be as delicate as possible around it. Previous to tonight I haven’t even laid eyes on it in three years because I have had it so carefully boxed & crated up from my most-recent move.

The base has plug receptacles for a loop antenna, a 6v power source, a bias (C supply?) and two of the tube plate (B supply?) voltages. One of the coils has a break and started unwinding and was taped in place when it was pulled out of the storage facility (so, ~30+ years ago). As far as a I know that is the only substantial defect to the artifact. I would love to hear it play but, I don't want the task of taking that coil out for rewinding and, like your approach to the AWAs, saw it as not needing a functional restoration to preserve it.


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 25, 2021 2:53 pm 
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Location: Monroe, NC 28112 USA
Wow! Have you shared this info with the AWA Museum? I have not

I immediately see the sponge rubber shock mounts like in the Radiola II. The brass and zinc cases built in this style go back to at least 1919 for military and commercial products I think. I have one of the olive drab predecessors of the Radiola V. On top shelf of this photo... The Radiola book says that they first appear at radio shows in March 1922. Looks like your prototype is a first-pass attempt to get rid of the massive tuning condenser and huge audio transformers. But I can imagine that by the time this was made, management was already thinking that Westinghouse was far outstripping them in making a cost effective, consumer product.

Proper cleaning is always a good thing. A broken wire might be properly repaired if for no other reason but to prevent further displacement. But work by a novice even with good intentions could cause lasting harm to the artifact.

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 25, 2021 6:55 pm 
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I have not shared the information or pictures with the AWA.

Usually it is in a cleaner state, but it had to be packed for a rushed-move and I haven't even built a place to display it yet which is why its still dusty. The new place is still under extensive renovations (down to the studs kind of deal) so I am probably going to crate it back up for now until I am ready to properly display it again.

Its been posted online a few times in a few places by a few different people.

Dr. Baker must have felt it was important enough in the evolution of the era's designs to display it, but where it fits in and what it accomplished I'd probably need the lab notes to know. Supposedly that science museum has them.

I would not be surprised if the set you worked on was at the Syracuse plant and were rescued by an employee who did not want it to be trashed & did not have permission to save it (that sort of thing was rampant at the end of the plant when cleaning house was going on). This might explain why the AWA has no record of how they got it & who gave it to them. It may have been taken without going through the official red tape and then donated with a "pss, let's not leave any record of who gave this to you so the company can't get back to me about it!" My grandfather was terrified that one day the company would come around asking for mine to be returned even though he had gotten permission from middle management to keep it.

I have a number of GE artifacts that were properly given to my grandfather by the company after asking for it. But that was the exception. *usually* things of great historical significance were sent to landfills (especially during Jacks tenure, I am not blaming him per say that's just the mindset of higher management at the time chronologically), requests by employees to donate certain things to museums were *usually* denied, and if there was more than a handful of people wanting something to be saved they'd have armed guards watch the dumpsters to make sure they weren't. It was quite demoralizing, to say the least, especially in the context of what was going on with the company at the time (pulling out of manufacturing and switching the company into a "financial institution"). Of course today its easy to say with hindsight that the engineers had the right idea and the bean counters' direction for the company was a blunder, but from say 1988 to 2008 the company was a very sound investment with very good returns.


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Fri 26, 2021 9:41 am 
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sgath92 wrote:
I have not shared the information or pictures with the AWA.

Usually it is in a cleaner state, but it had to be packed for a rushed-move and I haven't even built a place to display it yet which is why its still dusty. The new place is still under extensive renovations (down to the studs kind of deal) so I am probably going to crate it back up for now until I am ready to properly display it again.

Its been posted online a few times in a few places by a few different people.

Dr. Baker must have felt it was important enough in the evolution of the era's designs to display it, but where it fits in and what it accomplished I'd probably need the lab notes to know. Supposedly that science museum has them.

I would not be surprised if the set you worked on was at the Syracuse plant and were rescued by an employee who did not want it to be trashed & did not have permission to save it (that sort of thing was rampant at the end of the plant when cleaning house was going on). This might explain why the AWA has no record of how they got it & who gave it to them. It may have been taken without going through the official red tape and then donated with a "pss, let's not leave any record of who gave this to you so the company can't get back to me about it!" My grandfather was terrified that one day the company would come around asking for mine to be returned even though he had gotten permission from middle management to keep it.

I have a number of GE artifacts that were properly given to my grandfather by the company after asking for it. But that was the exception. *usually* things of great historical significance were sent to landfills (especially during Jacks tenure, I am not blaming him per say that's just the mindset of higher management at the time chronologically), requests by employees to donate certain things to museums were *usually* denied, and if there was more than a handful of people wanting something to be saved they'd have armed guards watch the dumpsters to make sure they weren't. It was quite demoralizing, to say the least, especially in the context of what was going on with the company at the time (pulling out of manufacturing and switching the company into a "financial institution"). Of course today its easy to say with hindsight that the engineers had the right idea and the bean counters' direction for the company was a blunder, but from say 1988 to 2008 the company was a very sound investment with very good returns.


I can also remember hearing from someone years ago, whom lived in the Syracuse area that he, and a number of others, went dumpster diving at the plant and rescued a number of early radio items, as well as paper documents, from dumpsters. Having armed guards around the clock is expensive, they don't pay them to guard "garbage", especially if the stuff was headed to the scrap metal yard. Then again things can be salvaged at the other end as well.


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Fri 26, 2021 1:58 pm 
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Location: Monroe, NC 28112 USA
Your recollections are not uncommon....
I spent 20 years in an industrial instrument development lab. Over and over for 10 years or more I could not get the manager of production inventory to notify me when obsolete stock was being scrapped. Many times I would be ordering parts for my lab knowing full well that production used to have the exact same parts in their inventory! Some said that the manager found it easier to scrap the items than to transfer ownership of whatever to another department. Yeah.... Built-in bean counter inefficiency.
Robert


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 Post subject: Re: GE Radio Engineering Department Receiver Section 1925?
PostPosted: Nov Fri 26, 2021 6:39 pm 
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Arran wrote:
Having armed guards around the clock is expensive, they don't pay them to guard "garbage", especially if the stuff was headed to the scrap metal yard. Then again things can be salvaged at the other end as well.


They absolutely did it, not for all dumpsters just when they knew there was a lot of interest in what was in a specific load.

I'll give you a specific example that many now-deceased individuals I was friends with had told me.

Towards the end of the plant's existence they did away with company parties. Previously the company would host and pay for retirement parties, xmas parties, a summer picnic type get together, etc. The first year without that the company tore its hvac out of some of the buildings in preparation for selling them off (IDK if they were not up to code or what the reason was). So they had several dumpsters full of metal.

The employees figured "hey if you're going to throw all that metal out, why not sell it as scrap metal and that would create enough money for one last summer picnic?"

Middle management & higher management said no, and put armed guards on those dumpsters knowing there was widespread interest in their contents.

You have to remember, they already had the guards in their employ because this plant did a lot of classified DOD contracts. Its not like they had to go hire people to watch them. Usually with facilities being closed for offshoring or businesses going out of business, the last employees to loose their jobs are the security teams. Everyone else can be long gone and you still need to make sure the buildings are okay, that no disgruntled furloughed employees try anything, etc.


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