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Copyright: 1996 - 2024

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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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Plug-Ugly Eliminator
May 1946 Radio-Craft

May 1946 Radio-Craft

May 1946 Radio Craft Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Craft, published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

"Plug-Ugly Eliminator" could refer to a couple possible devices. One might be some sort of cover for hiding electrical cords and plugs where the go into a wall socket. It might also be a move decorative type plug than the standard kind on the end of a line cord. What the Plug-Ugly Eliminator actually is, is an overly complex contraption allowing a radio listener to turn off a radio for a predetermined amount of time when "commercial announcements in which he may have no interest or which may even be offensive to him" begins playing. The "Plug" part of the name is another name for a commercial. Maurice Kay's Plug-Ugly Eliminator, which appeared in the May 1946 issue of Radio-Craft magazine, is another items where if had occurred in an April edition, you might think you were being pranked for April Fools. The drawing certainly has the characteristicss of a Rube Goldberg creation.

Plug-Ugly Eliminator

Plug-Ugly Eliminator, May 1946, Radio-Craft - RF Cafe

Working diagram of the apparatus which is claimed to be radio's greatest improvement.

By Maurice A. Kay

The object of the invention is to provide a means by which a person listening to the radio can be relieved of listening to commercial announcements in which he may have no interest or which may even be offensive to him.

It operates by the listener pressing a button whenever the announcer begins his commercial. This shuts off the current to the set and eliminates the commercial. After a predetermined time interval, the current is automatically turned on without effort by the listener and the broadcast is resumed.

Many persons turn off their radios whenever a commercial announcement comes on. Especially those obnoxious ones - babies crying, whistles and fog horns blowing, etc., etc. Often the person either forgets to turn the radio on again or turns it on while the announcer is still proclaiming.

To perform the operation described above, I use an apparatus consisting of a baseboard which supports a case in the top of which is located a switch. The switch has a stem which when pressed closes an electrical circuit. The switch is so constructed that it is open unless restrained by pressure on the stem.

Block diagram of the commercial eliminator - RF Cafe

Block diagram of the commercial eliminator.

The inventor shows how the eliminator operates - RF Cafe

The inventor shows how the eliminator operates (left). Inside view of the device (right).

Mounted on the baseboard is a cylinder adapted to receive a pump piston which slides horizontally therein. The piston has a rod which projects through a cover in the cylinder. A spring tends to force the piston forward so that the upper end of the piston rod strikes against the stem of the switch and closes the circuit. Normally the spring holds the switch closed by pressing on the stem of the switch through the piston and the piston rod.

A regulating valve is provided at the bottom of the cylinder regulating the flow of air to the space inside the cylinder. By screwing this valve in or out, the rate at which the air can enter the cylinder may be regulated.

Secured to and moving with the piston rod is a bent arm, one end of which is attached to the piston rod. The other projects through a slot in the case. This slot has a notch formed therein. This bent arm has at the end a finger button and a pointer which registers on a scale.

When the listener hears the announcer start a commercial, he simply presses the finger button. The bent arm to which the finger button is attached pulls down the piston rod, causing the switch to open and abate the nuisance. As the piston is forced downward, the air is forced outward through the valve and around the sides of the piston. When the button is released, the spring forces the piston back. This motion creates a vacuum below the piston which resists further movement until sufficient air enters the cylinder through the valve and partially balances the pressure on both sides of the piston. The piston rod continues its travel until the upper end closes the switch after an interval of, say, 45 seconds after the button is pressed by the listener. The listener may regulate the length of the interval by adjusting the valve. He can, without adjusting the valve, regulate the length of the interval by varying the distance he pushes the button down, being guided by the calibrations on the scale. The listener can turn off the set permanently by placing the finger button within the niche on the slot.

The apparatus if small and portable. By using wires of sufficient length, the apparatus may be placed by the listener in any convenient location without moving the receiver, or the apparatus my be made an integral part of the radio receiver.

The device is connected to the radio by means of a "series" plug fixed to the terminals of the wires leading to the commercial eliminator. This series plug fits into the electric wall outlet near the radio. The plug from the radio is then fitted into the series plug. Thus the current to the radio is controlled through the switch in the eliminator. When the eliminator is not operated the current is controlled by the switch on the radio itself as in normal operation.

 

 

Posted May 12, 2021

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