KDKA Radio 75th Anniversary Paperweight (1996)
This paperweight marks the 75th anniversary of KDKA
Radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cast in a lucite block is a
section of the old KDKA tower, the first commercial radio tower in
the United States.
KDKA, as you may know, was granted the very first US broadcasting
license and began broadcasting in November, 1920. The
station's history included many radio firsts, such as
broadcasting Herbert Hoover's first radio address on January 25, 1921.
Erected in 1936, the KDKA tower was the tallest
US structure of its time, rising 1,900 feet above sea level,
and it remained in service until its replacement in 1994.
These mementos were available by contributing to
KDKA's fund drive for Children's Hospital of
Pittsburgh. Along with the paperweight, you got an informative
brochure recounting the station's history and its long affiliation
with Children's Hospital.
Regulars at this website would recognize several of the radio images in
the brochure. When Amanda Cohen of KDKA contacted me for permission to
use some images, I gladly agreed, and she generously sent me a copy
of the brochure and one of these paperweights.
This is one of the most unusual radio-related items that I own, down
to the weathered layers of orange and white paint (and genuine
corrosion!) visible around the edges of the tower section.
It's a kick to have a little slice of American broadcasting history.
I keep this item front and center in my display cabinet.
The March, 1996 issue of Antique Radio Classified
has a feature article
on this topic, with more historical information and ordering information
for the paperweights. (2009 note: since this fundraiser was conducted more than a dozen
years ago, I don't know whether they are still available.)