October 1954 Popular Electronics
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
October 1954 arrived with
the first-ever issue of Popular Electronics. Editor Oliver Read wrote this introductory
note describing the magazine's grand plans for providing its audience with a sampling
of as many facets of electronics as possible, with projects for the do-it-yourself
type (many needed to be at the time), related hobbies like amateur radio and radio
controlled airplanes, military and commercial applications, short stories, tutorials,
and an endless supply of advertisements offering just about anything your budget
could afford. It turned out to be a pretty nice magazine, and many of the well-written
articles are still useful in today's world of nano-everything circuits - the fundamentals
haven't changed much: voltage still equals resistance times current.
Interestingly, Popular Electronics' parent publication,
Radio & Television News, announced in August of 1954 that the first
edition of Popular Electronics would appear in September, but it never
Meet Popular Electronics - An Editorial
From modest basement shops and attic experimental laboratories have emerged the
fundamental ideas that have resulted in the fastest growing industry of our times
- electronics. Our vast radio communications systems - spread like a giant web over
the entire world - keep us informed of news almost as soon is it happens. The radio
"ham," using simple electronic equipment, communicates with his fellow hobbyists
throughout the world as simply as the housewife talks to her neighbor via telephone.
A large group of medics watch a delicate operation on a color TV screen. Every
detail seen by the operating surgeon and the color camera is observed in isolated
rooms. Instructions and comments of the surgeon are heard clearly from the loud-speaker
An airplane is lost and is forced down at sea. Its call for help is heard by
or made known to the FCC monitoring stations. A "fix" is made by electronic direction
finders and the position of the lost plane is flashed to nearby vessels which then
proceed to the rescue.
A hostile airplane is spotted on a radar screen. Interceptors are dispatched
to engage the enemy. Radio navigational aids protect us as we fly in an airliner
and bring us to a safe landing on a fog-bound runway.
These are but a few of the thousands of applications for electronic devices that
serve to protect life, limb, and property and that provide means of education and
entertainment never dreamed of by our forefathers.
Many electronic devices are born in the great laboratories of the industry - but
a greater number of pioneer developments have emerged from the experimenter's bench
and the ham shack. So-called tinkerers or gadgeteers have contributed many valuable
ideas and important discoveries that have led to valuable patents.
The problem of maintenance of electronic devices, especially home units such
as radio, television, and hi-fidelity equipment has been a real bottleneck and will
become an even greater problem as we reach sizable production of color television.
A vast field of opportunity in electronics awaits the individual who will learn,
by simple experiments, the fundamentals of circuitry, components, and equipments.
Others will become indoctrinated with electronics at a hobby level. The fascinating
hobby of radio control finds thousands of youngsters and oldsters meeting frequently
to fly their airplanes and to sail their boats. And many a garage door is opened
and closed by radio impulses from simple devices made in the home shop .
One of the greatest hobbies in the world - amateur radio - has been tremendously
stimulated by relaxed requirements to qualify for a coveted license. A new "novice"
class license is attracting thousands of newcomers to this world-wide hobby.
Industry has recognized the importance of training new engineers, scientists,
and technicians and our trade schools have produced thousands of technicians and
other specialists. But many thousands more are needed to meet the ever-increasing
demand for new blood in industry.
Those of us who have grown up with electronics have been forced to keep pace
with new developments at an ever-increasing rate.
Circuitry has become more complicated through the years. Television
and industrial electronics, telemetering and computing, and now color TV have necessitated
a higher level of approach for technical magazines. This, unfortunately, has deprived
thousands of people interested in electronics of a regular source of information
written in simple, understandable terms. POPULAR ELECTRONICS is the answer to the
demand for a monthly publication devoted entirely to electronics at a practical
and hobby level.
POPULAR ELECTRONICS is, as its title implies, devoted to the science of electronics
at How-It-Works, Why-It-Works, How-To-Do-It and How-To-Use-It level.
Its writers and editors have all grown up with electronics. They have all cut
their eye teeth in radio, TV, and communications as experimenters and hobbyists.
They appreciate, from long experience, that "practical know-how" is all-important
and essential to success in the fascinating science of electronics. They include
experimenters, hams, short-wave experts, radio-control enthusiasts, instructors,
technicians, editors, and engineers.
We think you will like POPULAR ELECTRONICS. We believe this to be a magazine
designed to give you the best possible understanding of electronics. We will welcome
all suggestions, ideas, and criticisms.
From our readers will come hundreds of features, gadgets, hints, and kinks. These
will be carefully read and studied. If these are well illustrated (4 x 5 or 8 x
10 glossies) they will be considered for publication. Those accepted will be paid
for at attractive rates, on acceptance.
And, among our readers will be found many experienced color photographers who
are electronic hobbyists. Color transparencies (4 x 5 verticals) accompanied by
a tie-in feature article will be considered. These will bring special rates of payment.
We will appreciate your help in telling your friends about POPULAR ELECTRONICS.
Perhaps they too will be interested in this leading science of our times. And, finally,
won't you please tell us how YOU like POPULAR ELECTRONICS? ... Oliver Read
Posted July 29, 2019
(updated from original post on 11/6/2011)