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Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Seems like cars have 
always had radios,
But they 
Here's the 

One evening, in 1929, Two young men  named William Lear and Elmer Wavering 
Drove their girlfriends to a lookout point high above the Mississippi River town 
of Quincy, Illinois, to watch the sunset.
It was a romantic night to be sure, But one of the women observed that it would be even nicer if they could listen to music in the car.
Lear and Wavering liked the idea. Both men had tinkered with radios (Lear served as a radio operator in The U.S. Navy during World War I) and it wasn't long 
before they were taking apart a home radio and trying to get it to work 
in a car.
But it wasn't easy: automobiles have ignition switches, generators, spark plugs, 
and other electrical equipment that generates noisy static interference, making it nearly 
impossible to listen to the radio when the engine was running.
One by one, Lear and 
Wavering identified and eliminated each source of electrical interference.  When they finally got their radio to work, they took it to a radio convention in Chicago 

 There they met Paul Galvin, owner of 
Galvin Manufacturing Corporation.
He made a product called a"battery eliminator", a device that allowed battery-powered radios toRun on household AC 
But as more homes were wired for electricity, more radio manufacturers made AC-powered radios.
Galvin needed a new product to 
manufacture. When he met Lear and Wavering at the radio convention, He found it.  He believed that 
Mass-produced, affordable car
Radios had the potential 
to become a huge business.
Lear and Wavering set up 
shop inGalvin's factory, and when they 
perfected their first radio, they installed it in his Studebaker.
Then Galvin went to a local banker
To apply for a loan. Thinking it might sweeten the deal, he had his men install a 
radio in the banker's Packard.
Good idea, but it didn't 
 Half an hour after the installation, the banker's Packard caught on fire. (They didn't get the loan.)
Galvin didn't give up. He drove his Studebaker nearly 800 miles to Atlantic 
City to show off the radio at 
the1930 Radio Manufacturers Association 
Too broke to afford a booth, he parked the car outside the convention hall and cranked up the radio so that passing conventioneers could hear it.
That idea worked -- He 
got enough orders to put the radio into 

That first production 
model was called the 

 Galvin decided he needed to 
come up with something a little catchier. In those days many companies in the phonograph and radio businesses used the suffix "ola" for their names - 
Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola
Were three of the biggest.
Galvin decided to do the same 
thing, and since his radio was intended for use in a motor vehicle, he decided to call it 
But even with the name 
change, the radio still had problems:When Motorola went on sale in 1930, it cost about $110 uninstalled, at a time when 
you could buy a brand-new car for $650, and the country was sliding into the Great Depression.
(By that measure, a radio for a new car would cost about $3,000 today.)
In 1930, it took two men several days to put in a car radio 
The dashboard had to be taken apart so that the receiver and a single speaker could be installed, and the ceiling had to 
be cut open to install the antenna.
These early radios ran on their own batteries, not on the car battery, so holes had to be cut into the floorboard to accommodate them.
The installation manual had eight complete diagrams and 28 pages of instructions. Selling complicated car 
Radios that cost 20 percent of the price of a brand-new car wouldn't have been easy in the best of  times, let alone during the Great Depression 
Galvin lost money in 1930 and 
struggled for a couple of years after that. But things picked up in 1933 when Ford began offering Motorola's pre-installed 
at the factory.
In 1934 they got another boost when 
Galvin struck a deal with
B.F. Goodrich tire company 
To sell and install them in its chain of tire 
By then the price of the radio, with installation included, had dropped to $55. The Motorola car radio was off and running.
(The name of the company 
would be officially changed from Galvin Manufacturing to"Motorola" in 1947.)
In the meantime, Galvin continued to develop new uses for car radios.In 1936, the same year that it introduced push-button tuning, it also introduced the 
Motorola Police Cruiser, a standard car radio that was factory preset to a single frequency to pick up police broadcasts.
In 1940 he developed the firsthandheld two-way radio-- The Handy-Talkie 
for the U. S. Army.
A lot of the communications 
technologies that we take for granted today were born in Motorola labs in the years that followed World War II.
In 1947 they came out 
with the first television for under $200.

 In 1956 the company 
introduced the world's first pager; in 1969came the radio and television equipment that was used to televise Neil 
Armstrong's first steps on the Moon.

 In 1973 it invented the 
world's first handheld cellular phone.
Today Motorola is one of 
the largest cell phone manufacturers in the world.

 And it all started with 
the car radio.
the two men who 
installed the first radio in Paul Galvin's 
Elmer Wavering and William Lear, ended up taking very different paths in life.
Wavering stayed with Motorola.In the 1950's he helped change the automobile experience again when he developed the first automotive alternator, replacing inefficient and unreliable generators. The invention lead to such luxuries as 
power windows, power seats, and, eventually, air-conditioning.

Lear also continued inventing.He holds more than 150 patents. Remember eighttrack tape players? Lear invented 
But what he's really famous for are his contributions to the field of aviation. He invented radio direction finders for 
planes, aided in the invention of the 
autopilot, designed the first fully 
automatic aircraft landing system,and in 1963 introduced his most famous invention of all,
the Lear Jet,
the world's first 
mass-produced, affordable business jet.
(Not bad for a guy who 
dropped out of school after the eighth grade.)

Sometimes it is fun to 
find out how some of the
many things that we take 
for granted actually
came into 
It all started with a 
woman's suggestion!!

Thanks Graham

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