August 1946 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.
for a long time ran a "Radio-Electronics Monthly Review" column which reported on
some the major happenings in the industry. At the time, editors did not have instant
news availability like we have today via the Internet, so discovering items like
those included in this August 1946 issue required subscribing to news wire services,
receiving tips from readers and industry communications departments, reading multiple
newspapers and magazines, etc. Notable here is the recognition that amateur radio
hobbyists - aka "Hams" - pioneered operation in the microwave realm of the electromagnetic
spectrum. Probably the most relevant story here, however, is the passing of John L.
Baird, aka "the father of television," who died on June 14th at his home in Sussex,
England. He was a relatively young 58 years old. In 1946, most people probably
were familiar with the names Marconi as" the father of radio," Morse as the inventor
of his eponymous code, Bell as the inventor of the telephone, Goddard as "the father
of rocketry," etc., but I'm guessing not many associated the name "Baird" - or any
other for that matter - with television.
Radio-Electronics Monthly Review
Flying Magnetometers were highly
successful submarine detectors, it was revealed last month by Bell Telephone Laboratories.
Though radar could not discover a submerged submarine, the great mass of iron affected
a detector of magnetism as strongly through water as through air. Magnetometers
were trailed in a torpedo-shaped fuselage as close to the surface of the water as
possible, their appearance giving them the name of "flying doodle-bugs."
Peacetime applications may be more extensive than wartime uses, Bell officials
believe. The new device is to be put to work as an aerial prospector, for non-metallic
as well as metallic minerals. The new device fulfills a long-standing dream of geophysicists
in that it provides means for a quick large-scale survey of geological structure
which scientists feel may be an important key to our natural resources.
The method is considered so promising that those in charge of Naval Petroleum
Reserves have employed the method extensively in exploring for geo-logical structures
which may contain oil. Some 40,000 square miles in this country and Alaska, including
part of the latter's Naval Petroleum Reserve area No. 4, have already been
In this connection, it is pointed out that the device does not actually detect
oil deposits, but by mapping geological structures, indicates those peculiar areas
in which oil is usually found.
Just how sensitive the device is can be appreciated from the fact that during
the research a new employee of Bell Telephone Laboratories inadvertently caused
considerable confusion when she neglected to mention that a small bit of an ordinary
sewing needle which had broken off in her finger some years before had never been
Extreme precautions had to be taken throughout the researches, even to the extent
of using only brand-new, non-magnetic tools. At times the workers had to conduct
their experiments in special clothing and in stocking feet, for some garments have
metal accessories and shoes have nails. Even dirty finger nails have been known
to disrupt the progress.
The first successful use of the new system of instruments occurred in tests conducted
in Iron County, Michigan, and later in the Adirondacks in a search for iron ore
deposits for war use. Subsequent tests indicated that in addition to its value as
a speedy preliminary survey tool, the new device also gives a more accurate appraisal
of the geological structure of an area than that obtained by ground parties using
conventional methods of magnetic exploration. Another advantage of the new device
is that it draws a continuous magnetic record of the terrain over which it is flown
and in so doing evens out small and relatively unimportant magnetic irregularities.
Radio Communication in the Super-high frequency field at 21,900
megacycles, a new record high for amateurs, was completed by two amateur operators
at Schenectady, N. Y., last month.
Dr. A. Harry Sharbaugh, Jr., and Robert L. Watters, both scientists in the General
Electric Research Laboratory, communicated across 800 feet, using high frequency
waves approaching the length of the longer light waves.
First amateur invasion into the super-high frequencies of wartime radar was reported
a few months ago at 5,300 megacycles when the Federal Communications Commission
first assigned these bands to amateur operators. 21,000 mc is the highest "ham-band"
below the 30,000-mc ceiling, above which amateur operation is unrestricted.
John L. Baird, "father of television," died June 14 at his home
in Sussex, England. His age was 58. He had been actively engaged in work and research
up to the beginning of his final illness.
Mr. Baird gave the first demonstration of true television before the Royal Institution
of Britain in January, 1926. In 1925, he successfully transmitted television images
across the Atlantic. A selected group of experts sat in the-basement "shack" of
Robert M. Hart, amateur radio operator of Hartsdale, N. Y., and saw the images of
a man and woman televised from Baird's London laboratory. In. September, 1929, the
British Broadcasting Company began a regular television service with the Baird system.
His early work with television was carried on in spite of the worst two obstacles
an inventor can face - lack of money and lack of prestige. Poor and unknown, he
was in 1923 down to his last ten dollars. A meeting with an old friend, Capt. O.
S. Hutcheson, resulted in raising enough money to carry his experiments on to success.
Work was being carried on by other television experimenters in the meantime -
notably by C. Francis Jenkins and Lee DeForest in America. Moving pictures in silhouette
form were sent by these experimenters, but it remained to Baird to transmit the
first real "live" television images.
Mr. Baird has other inventions to his credit, and during the war invented the
noctovisor, a device for seeing in the dark by infrared rays. A new Baird color
television system was described in Radio-Craft, December, 1944. Called by him "Telechrome,"
it produced color pictures without moving mechanical parts. His latest television
improvement was demonstrated at London's Savoy Hotel a week before the inventor's
death. Scenes from the British victory parade were televised on the world's largest
direct-viewing screen - 21 by 23 inches.
Posted October 5, 2022