July 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.
I learned a new word from
this Radio-Craft article: "chemurgic," which refers to
chemurgy, the science of
creating products such as soybean gear shift knobs and cellulose movie film from
agricultural raw components. It has nothing to do with the story other than to
describe the town in which the subject, Wesley Rushing, lived. As the title
suggests, Mr. Rushing established and thrived at a radio repair business built
while confined to bed with a crippling illness. He worked an average of 10 hours
per day and repaired two hundred radios each month. Although not a veteran
himself due to his sickness, the story was offered as a means of support to the
thousands of returning World War II veterans who suffered disabilities in
battle. Today's handicapped veterans need and deserve similar encouragement, so
if you have a can-do story, please submit it to one of the trade or hobby
magazines; it will be greatly appreciated by many.
Radio Repair in Bed
By Ruby Moore Huff
Prior to Pearl Harbor, the island invasions, D-day and the crossing of the
Rhine an article of this type had no place on Radio-Craft's table of contents.
With the ever-increasing flow of handicapped veterans returning to home hospitals
or civilian life, much time must be given by trade journals and technical periodicals
to help the lads who form that stream. They paid for their fate with a precious
contribution to victory, now it behooves us to help lead them to something that
will be a means for them to find the self reliance that the maimed condition
This repairman was not able to stand side by side with the fellows who paid.
Probably, though, the victory that he won over his condition will give some
of the disabled boys a buoyant push that he could not have given as a comrade-at-arms.
With that hope we pass his story to the attention of any who may benefit from
The 100% chemurgic city of Laurel, Mississippi, has the distinction of having
one of the most expert radio repairmen in the South. This man, Wesley A. Rushing,
has been bed ridden for seven years. He is a self-made expert in radio servicing.
He spent his childhood on a farm about eight miles from Laurel and attended
school in the rural district. Later he entered high school in Laurel. In registering
at that school, he was classified for a course in General Science. That, to
young Rushing, meant little more than just a means to earn a credit, until the
class reached a chapter in the text that gave an explanation of radio. The instructor,
a Miss Cobb, gave a demonstration of the lesson so clear that the lad, who had
never had a close-up view of a cabinet - much less a chance to see the "innards"
of one - had an awakening. Then and there a genius was brought to being. He
decided that he too could do things with wires, tubes and dials. He did tinker
with them for a time and spent many hours at stores and shops where radios and
radio parts were sold. The work seemed so complicated to him that he let the
bug-bear of needing quick money side track his interest, and found an easier
way to get a livelihood. He did not get enough courage to tackle radio again
until after he was disabled.
For several years after repairman Rushing became ill, he was not allowed
to work or worry about anything. The gritty little man made a fight to improve
his health. By the time he could turn in bed, the desire to know more about
radio revived. He could not go to the city library to read about radios or go
to the places that handled them, but he did not despair. He ordered several
instruction books on radio repairing. He not only studied those books but insisted
on testing out each lesson. His determination and their desire to give the sick
man something to look forward to, caused his wife and father to take an interest
in the hobby. They purchased the items of equipment that he requested and set
them up for him, in reach of the bed.
The first piece of testing equipment that he had installed was a Supreme
(Model 502) combination of tube tester, voltmeter, ohmmeter and condenser checker.
He gradually accumulated supplies enough to make repairs on radios for his friends.
The work that Rushing did on such jobs stood up so well and gave so much satisfaction
that the news of his ability to do a good repair job passed around. That grapevine
advertising soon brought him more work than he could well handle while the customers
The equipment and procedure of Rushing's servicing are of simplified technique,
but from the crude work bench by the side of his bed grew the Rushing's Radio
Repair Shop. The shop has for its slogan the well known "Satisfied Customers
Are Our Best Advertisement." He is a firm believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson's
way of detailing the grapevine news circuit. "If a man can write a better book;
preach a better sermon; or make' a better mouse trap than his neighbor, though
he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."
Be that as it may, the room where the repairman was working was stacked with
all types of radios.
With the set-up shown in the photo, he works an average of 10 hours per day
and repairs two hundred radios each month. Mr. Rushing works on any type, but
he unhesitantly stated that he preferred RCA. (No plug ... just his choice.)
"When asked how he went about repairing, he detailed a routine in the following
1 - Plug the set into the outlet ... if it lights up the line-cord is O.K.
2 - Apply audio signal to second detector.
3 - If signal is reasonably audible, the audio amplifier is working.
4 - Check back with RF signal generator through the successive stages until
signal goes dead, indicating the defective stage.
5 - Pull from cabinet.
6 - Locate trouble, the faulty stage, by voltage or resistance test.
7 - Check supplies to see if parts needed for that job are on hand.
8 - When trouble has been corrected and the works replaced in the cabinet
... retest. And check!
9 - Never start a second repair job until the one on the table is completed
or completely repacked to await repair parts.
10 - Set repair prices and collect charges when delivered: that eliminates
details of bookkeeping and assures cash on hand at all times.
Mr. Rushing states that aside from purchasing price of his lot and modest
little building, the installation of his working equipment cost around one hundred
fifty dollars. On the bench beside his bed are the Model 502, Victor signal
generator (Model 42), solder, soldering irons, screw drivers and incidentals;
also telephone. He uses that equipment, but states that a repair set-up could
(in case of necessity) start functioning with much less, say, voltmeter, ohmmeter,
tube tester, signal generator and a few incidentals picked up from a five-and-ten
counter. It doesn't matter so much what elaborate assortment of tools are strewn
on the bench, so long as the worker has that essential stick-to-it-ive-ness
- because the work is tedious. He gave out that bit of information because he
felt that many returning veterans, who had been disabled; would like to get
into established trade for which their training may have fitted them; but hesitate
to undertake the venture on the account of the capital that they believe it
To those handicapees who wish to try the adventure of setting up for radio
repairing his advice is: Go at it now! The pre-war sets are giving way and quite
a span of time may pass before the post-war machines can replace them.
Mr. Rushing's advice is to avoid much confusion by learning the simpler art
of the present trade accurately and do your work well, before you go into a
flurry over the new fangled features promised for post-war radio.
Let us hope that this article will help many a disabled person fight that
post-war battle of gaining self-confidence and earning a good living (for thar's
dough in them thar radios, much more than in them thar Apple Carts.)
Note: The seat by Mr. Rushing's bed is where his wife or brother sits to
hand him tools and plug in the testing instruments, The brother - a returned
war veteran - is also learning the trade.
Posted January 25, 2021