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MUSEUM OF YESTERDAY




 

You are now in the Museum Of Yesterday Communications Collection. There are curremtly eleven pages of information, so please take the time to view each page. The museum contains many collections, but you will find that the Communications Collection is our most extensive offering.

To exit the Communications collection gallery, please click here

Here are shortcuts to go directly to any gallery: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1112

A sample QSL card from our founder's "Ham" radio station, K5HTZ.

QSL cards are sent through the mail to confirm that listeners or operators of other stations have actually established radio contact with the subject station.

Be sure to watch the new Ray Potter video series "Vintage Electronics" featuring Museum of Yesterday founder John DeMajo. Click here:

 

Be sure to read Professor DeMajo's article entitled "SURVIVAL AND THE CASE FOR OLD RADIOS"
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A WORD TO EDUCATORS AND HISTORIANS:

PLEASE NOTE THAT PHOTOS AND INFORMATION PRESENTED ON THIS SITE ARE VERIFIED AS HISTORICALLY ACCURATE. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION IS EITHER INCLUDED, OR IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. IN ADDITION TO PRESENTING THE MUSEUM TO VIRTUAL VISITORS AND COLLECTORS OF ANTIQUE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, THE SITE IS DESIGNED TO BE USED BY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS IN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE LEVEL COMMUNICATIONS COURSES. THE MUSEUM STAFF WELCOMES QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FROM INSTRUCTORS AND STUDENTS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN SUCH CARRICULUM.


The theatre pipe organ was rendered obsolete in 1929 with the advent of talking pictures. Many theatre organs and organists, however, went on to play a vital role in the production of radio programs during Radio's "Golden Age." For a comprehensive listing of all known pipe organs and organists associated with radio stations,

The museum's own Wurlitzer radio studio pipe organ,
in a scene reminiscent of the studio setup shown in the old photo above

Be sure to check out these MP3 samples of radio themes that were created on the organ shown above. The announcer at the beginning and end of each sample is authentic from transcriptions of the original shows as indicated, but the organ music on the tracks was performed by our chairman and founder, John DeMajo, and dubbed into the original old recordings.

ONE MAN'S FAMILY from NBC Radio 1945

WLW's Moon River broadcast from 1949

The official RCA "On Air" sign from the museum's WOLD-AM broadcasting studio.

Please note that for your listening pleasure, the museum provides a feed to an authentic "old time radio" station originating from radio KCEA in Menlow Park, CA. You can listen to this feed by clicking the "on air" sign above. KCEA's format includes original old radio show broadcasts and authentic music from radio's "Golden Age."

 
VIEW A TIMELINE OF THE
DEVELOPMENT OF RADIO

   

FOR EXAMPLES AND INFORMATION OF "GOLDEN AGE" RADIO PROGRAMS

 
"BACK IN THE OLD DAYS"
A mid-1960's view of the electronics laboratory at the college in Louisiana where our founder and chairman received training.
 
Farnsworth Model GK-267 "arm chair" radio-phonograph
 

For those who were alive in the early years following World War II, we were fortunate to have experienced one of the greatest periods of wealth, social and technological development in the history of our country. From 1945 through the beginning of the Korean conflict, America experienced an unleashing of technology that had developed as a result of war efforts. Early in that period, television had not yet entered the average home in America, but everyone knew that this wonderful new medium of "radio with pictures" was coming fast. Prior to the 1950s, the average American family still huddled around their radios for entertainment in the home, and prime-time on the major networks was still well invested in live radio productions.

The family of our museum founder, John DeMajo, was typical of that early "baby boom" era. Evenings at home in the DeMajo household usually involved gathering around the family's Farnsworth GK267 radio-phonograph set as the evening's prime time shows, such as "The Adventures of Beulah," "Mr. Keene Tracer Of Lost Persons," "Doctor Christian's Office," and "Life With Luigi" entertained audiences. The quality and variety of program content had come of age as radio writers and producers knew that they would soon be facing competition from Television. During that era, some of the most creative shows were produced and broadcast.

Ten years later, live radio broadcasting had vanished, having been replaced by the unprecedented growth of Television as the new home entertainment medium. Our founder fondly remembers those prosperous years that followed the end of World War II, and his interactions as a young child with his family gathered around the Radio. It is that appreciation for the medium of Radio, often referred to as "The Theatre Of The Mind," that inspired Mr. DeMajo to assemble the collection of communications equipment, documents and memorabilia that constitutes the Radio History Collection of the Museum Of Yesterday

 
The photo above is a Christmas 1947 shot of the family room in the DeMajo home in New Orleans. The family's Farnsworth GK-267 arm chair radio-phonograph is visible at the lower left corner of the photo. Sadly, the family home, as shown in the photos above and below, was destroyed by the flooding of New Orleans that accompanied Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
A 1962 photo of the ham shack at Radio K5HTZ which was then based in New Orleans. Equipment included a Hallicrafters SX-140 receiver and a Knight-Kit T-60 phone/cw transmitter from Allied Radio in Chicago. Morse Code was copied using a 1935 Underwood "Noiseless" manual typewriter. The station, which was owned and operated by our founder and chairman who was a high school student at the time, successfully worked 20 countries on 40 meter CW using the equipment shown here. Below is an original QSL card from Radio K5HTZ, printed by World Radio Laboratories, a major supplier of Ham radios and services in the mid-1900s. More information on World Radio Laboratories and Allied Radio, makers of the Knight T-60 transmitter above, can be found on Page 7 of the communications collection galleries.
 
 
BELOW: A 1970s era photo of our founder climbing the 60 foot Rohm transmitting tower of Station K5HTZ in New Orleans. Atop the tower was a tri-band Yagi for 20, 15 and 10 meters. The tower stood tall until the year 2005 when it was toppled by Hurricane Katrina.
 
"The destruction of New Orleans in 2005 gave rise to the founding of the Museum Of Yesterday"

Following the Hurricane Katrina destruction of the DeMajo family's home and business holdings in New Orleans, the remaining family members elected to relocate well outside of the flood prone Gulf Coast of Louisiana. It was during that transition that the concept of "The Museum Of Yesterday" was born.

Pictured above is a view of the new K5HTZ "ham shack" now located at the Museum Of Yesterday in suburban Richmond, Virginia, along with a closeup of the rig below. The station operates on a Yaesu FT-757GX all mode transceiver into a Cushcraft 160-10 Meter all band vertical antenna. The station is located approximately 90 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, and about 200 feet above sea level, so our RF propagation is excellent up and down the East coast and over into West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The shack is fully equipped as an emergency operations center, and it is outfitted with a multi-fuel emergency generator, stand-by air conditioning system, and facilities to communicate on all ham bands and most emergency radio frequencies in time of disaster. Having weathered Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, our founder has spared no cost or effort in order to make the museum's new "communications center" able to function in just about any emergency situation.

 
Here are previews of the radio galleries in the museum
The "OLD IRON" gallery contains classic examples of Depression and WW-II era transmitters and receivers.
 
The "Americans At Home"gallery above houses our early home entertainment and telephone history collections.
 
Display containing some of our rare crystal sets and early audion receivers.
A portion of the museum's Morse Code display including telegraph devices from Western Union, the Railroad Industry and early spark and CW transmission via radio.
 
A small sampling of the radio components on display
 
The view above is broadcasting Studio "A" which is the museum's fully functioning, early 1930s radio studio replica. The studio serves as the production center for broadcasts from WOLD Radio, the museum's low-power antique radio broadcasting facility. Below: Another view of WOLD Radio's Studio "A" as we prepared for a re-creation broadcast of a "Golden Era" radio program .
 
No authentic recreation of a "golden era" network radio show would be complete without the familiar NBC chime signature. This set of NBC chimes was originally used by a local NBC affiliate station that produced network feed programs in their studios. To experience the NBC Chimes in action, click the photo above.
 
Meet Professor Heindrick Von Kilowatt. He will be your guide to a better understanding of the history and science that you will be seeing in the museum's extensive collection.
 
We now begin our journey through the history of Radio
Note: All items represented on this web site as being part of the museum's permanent collection, are actual items owned by The Museum of Yesterday project, and which are housed in our collection at our headquarters in suburban Richmond, Virginia USA. Historic photographs represented herein, are either owned by us, or used with permission of the owners.
 
Copyright 2016, The Museum Of Yesterday, Chesterfield, VA USA