QUESTION: What is one meaning derived from the word "radius," from which the word radio comes, in its original Latin?
A). Tall grass
B). Beam of light
D). High tower
Radio today is completely unlike its predecessor a mere one hundred years ago. Back then, signals were weak and the transmitters were not especially impressive. They had poor sound quality at best - many people listened to them through headphones since speakers were pretty horrible. There was certainly no music on them and no entertainment to speak of, really. Today, of course, radio is everywhere. You can listen to it over the airwaves or in smart devices, with or without commercials. There is talk radio, news radio, and of course there are stations that play music: pop, rhythm and blues, country, rock 'n roll, rap, classical, jazz, world, you name it and there's a station out there playing it. But it all had to start somewhere.
What makes telling the story of radio challenging is that no one person can be given complete credit for its development. It took decades of experimentation during the nineteenth century by people whose names have been absorbed into the modern vocabulary of technology before there was such a thing as radio: Hertz, Watt, and Volta were just three. Eventually, though, wireless transmissions were successfully sent over the airwaves. Enrico Marconi's name has become deservedly and indelibly linked to that major accomplishment, but so is that of Nikola Tesla - two great innovators of their day, but only one of them also an accomplished marketer.
So, why is the American Treasure Tour blog talking about radio, when we are best known for our automatic music collection? It has to do with a new addition to our happy family - the John O'Malley Collection of Radios. Join us over the next few days as we talk about some of the wonderful new pieces you can see in our Music Room, brought to us from the family of Mr. O'Malley, whose life work of assembling together this wonderful array of radios dating between the 1930's and the '50's is now permanently a part of the Treasure Tour.
ANSWER: B). Beam of light.