January 1945 Radio-Craft
[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.
"Mediocre and half-baked
technicians will be just out of luck." So said Radio-Craft editor Hugo
Gernsback, writing in the January 1945 issue about the opportunities likely
to be awaiting radioservicemen. Surprisingly, at least to me - but I suspect
also to most of his readers at the time - Mr. Gernsback predicted that
the majority of post-war electronics technician jobs will be for other than
the kind of radio service work that existed before World War II. Major
advances in factory automation with both electrical and mechanical innovations,
when combined with recent advertising by consumer product manufacturers promising
all sorts of amazing home appliances and entertainment gizmos, will assure a
much wider and deeper (technically) variety of service work. Commercial, industrial,
and domestic was predicted to require more troubleshooting, repair and maintenance
savvy than merely swapping out vacuum tubes or tweaking potentiometers until
"it seems right." Hence, the opening comment. The included chart of expected
demand for household items shows that radios were not at the top of the chart
for items which had pent-up demand once the war was over and factories reverted
back to normal production rather than serving wartime requirements.
... Industrial electronic maintenance and servicing offers the radioman
a profitable new field which will doubtless eclipse broadcast receiver servicing
in the post-war world ...
The European war which is now drawing to a close, will return many thousands
of radiomen from our armed forces. Most of them will go into the electronic
and radio servicing field. We have many indications on this. During the past
year hundreds of letters received by Radio-Craft from servicemen indicate that
radio servicing will be one of the favorite occupations of former men of the
There are also thousands of ex-radioservicemen who were in this business
before they entered the armed forces. These, too, in large numbers, will also
wish to get back into their former line of work.
It is safe to predict that for many years to come, after hostilities cease,
radio servicing will be profitable to those who give real service and are expert
For some time to come, in the very nature
of things, not everybody will rush to a radio store trying to buy a new radio
receiver. A recent survey just to hand, shows, surprisingly, that other home
appliances will be much more in demand than new radios. The following tabulation
The reason for this, as the survey explains, is that the great publicity
which radio manufacturers have given to post-war radio sets has no doubt caught
the imagination of the American public. That means that people will not be so
anxious to exchange their present sets for a 1942 model even if it is brand
new. They feel that they will wish to wait for new type FM receivers, television
combinations and others.
To the serviceman this is a grand opportunity in servicing the old set which
John Q. Public wishes to hang on to until the newer improved sets come out.
It also means that from one to two years after the European war has ceased,
the old sets will need a tremendous amount of radio servicing and overhauling.
This is a real chance for the serviceman, because he will no doubt be much
better paid in the post-war period than he was prior to 1942. He will have steady
work, too, for a long time and an abundance of jobs.
Radio servicing will, in many ways, be far different than it was in 1942.
During the past years there has been tremendous progress in radio and particularly
in electronics. There will be many new types of jobs during the next few years
which never existed before. Many of our plants have taken to industrial electronics
and there are few of them today that do not have some kind of electronic appliance.
Sometimes these plants are in smaller cities or isolated in such a manner that
the electronic manufacturer who originally supplied the device is handicapped
in doing a quick repair job. That means that if the future radio serviceman
has a good grounding in industrial electronics, he will no doubt be called in
to do an electronic servicing job. A good tip to the future serviceman is to
make himself acquainted with the plant managers in his locality so that if anything
goes wrong he or the superintendent will know for whom to send in case anything
happens to the electronic devices. The reason for this is that most industries
- except the very large plants - will not have enough work to keep an electronic
engineer on the job all the time, but they will need a good maintenance man.
If they know that the outside independent serviceman can be relied upon, the
job will go to him, or to the man who is best qualified to do this intricate
It must be understood that all these ripe and profitable plums, will not
fall into every serviceman's lap. That is not the way modern business works!
The old-time radio serviceman certainly was not qualified for this important
type of work. He will have to take on a complete up-to-date electronic education.
No superintendent or plant manager would call in anyone to make repairs until
assured of his competence. For that reason the post-war radio serviceman must
be far better educated along radio and electronic lines than his predecessor
Mediocre and half-baked technicians will be just out of luck. The post-war
service-man must be an expert in his line because no one but an expert will
be trusted to make vital repairs when the entire operation of the plant may
depend on his judgment. That is the reason why the post-war serviceman must
be able to absorb every bit of radio and electronic literature he can lay his
hands on. He must have all the latest books on the subject. More than that,
he must get acquainted with every possible electronic industrial appliance.
That means that he has to send to practically every electronic manufacturer
in the country for his literature and not only acquaint himself with the various
models, but he must know all the ins and outs of each model. This, of course,
means a good deal of work and a lot of study, But it can be done by any intelligent
man who applies himself to it. There are rich rewards for this type of post-war
Posted March 10, 2021