Radio World Illustrated Weekly, 1929

Radio Amuses Youngsters and Relieves Governesses! proclaims this cover from Radio World, an illustrated weekly magazine of the 1920s. The photo shows four well-behaved little girls, sitting quietly on either side of a portable radio, entranced by its sounds.

The caption goes on to say:

Governesses of the present younger generation do not have to imagine that their charges will be wandering all over the park, when they bring their portable loop set along. The kiddies take turns with the phones, and the governess sits back safe in the knowledge that she can peruse her book or do her knitting without wondering where "Lolita or Eugenia" are now.

If you have ever used a radio of this sort, you know that the photo is somewhat contrived. In the first place, tube-powered radios from this era are heavy! Unless the governess brought along a wheelbarrow, it's hard to imagine how she got this set to the park in the first place. Secondly, these sets were not only fragile, but very expensive, costing several months of pay for the average person. Perhaps a Rockeller would leave that large, gossamer antenna within easy reach of a small child, but few radio owners of the time would chance it.

And, finally, this is a tuned-regenerative frequency (TRF) set, judging from the knobs on the front. TRF radios were difficult to tune, requiring delicate adjustments of multiple tuners. The moment that any of those well-behaved girls fiddled with a knob, the enchanting melodies would turn to static or squeals and the governess's rest would an end.

Despite some implausibilities, it's a charming photo. This magazine is similar to the Radio Index magazine found elsewhere in our Literature section.

Mainly concerned with programming, it includes feature articles about radio shows and personalities, as well as comprehensive lists of stations then on the air. However, it did include a sprinkling of technical information, such as the article also mentioned on the cover: How to Stop the Re-radiation Pest.

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