Monthly Archives: April 2015

Light Up Every Room In The House! 1935 Free Electricity

FreeElectricity80 years ago, Milwaukee residents didn’t have to worry about conserving electricity. The Electric Company was giving it away for free, as announced in this ad in the Milwaukee Journal, April 30, 1935. It was free, that is, as long as you used more than you did the previous month:

You see signs of it wherever you go–free electricity is flooding every neighborhood. In thousands of homes, lights are burning day and night–electrical appliances are being turned on–families are enjoying the pleasure and convenience of unlimited electric service. Hundreds of stores are lighting up for better business. Never before has the entire community taken up an offer with such enthusiasm!

During your Free Electricity period, use absolutely as much electricity as you please. Light up every room in the house. Keep a night light burning. Turn on the electric heater to take off the chill. Operate your radio. Use your electric range, vacuum cleaner, toaster, percolator, and other electrical appliances to your heart’s content. Remember–there’s no limit!

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Hallicrafters TV in Cuba, 1952


The magazine Radiomania y Television gives an interesting look at pre-revolution Cuba.  This Hallicrafters TV ad appeared in the January 1952 issue.  In addition to the equipment ads, it gives an interesting look at the programming, which appears to have been mostly produced in Cuba.  In addition to about two dozen standard broadcast stations, the island had one FM station (CM2IL on 102.7 MHz) and two TV stations, CMUR-TV, channel 4, and CMQ-TV, channel 6.

Interestingly, the Hallicrafters dealer seems to have an indirect connection with the revolution.  As seen in the ad, the exclusive Hallicrafters dealer was Cia. Cubana de Refrigeracion Electrica, S.A.  About this same time, the bookkeeper at the company was one Reinaldo Boris Luis Santa Coloma.  At some point, he lost his job for trying to organize a union, and later got a job at Sears.  At some point in 1952, he was at the law office of a young attorney named Fidel Castro, where he met his mistress and the mother of his child.

The next year, he was one of 135 revolutionaries who, along with Castro, attacked the Moncada Barracks, which is widely regarded as the start of the Cuban Revolution.



The Army Hour, NBC Radio, 1945


The family shown in this photo appeared in an ad for the NBC network in the April 1945 issue of Tune In magazine.  They are gathered around the family console, which is adorned by a photo of their young serviceman. The ad notes that NBC acts as a two-way pipeline between the men of the armed forces and their families back home. Not only do the servicemen tune in to their favorite NBC broadcasts via the regular network and shortwave, but NBC also broadcasts for the people at home the “Army Hour,” a weekly production of the War Department and NBC.

The picture was undoubtedly taken at 3:30 Eastern War Time on a Sunday afternoon, when the Army Hour was broadcast.

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U.S. Telegram Regarding Armenian Genocide, 1915


In 1915, the United States was neutral, and the Russian government urged it to use its good offices to prevent the genocide by the Ottomans of the Armenians.

Ambassador Morgenthau. Wikipedia photo.

Ambassador Morgenthau. Wikipedia photo.

A hundred years ago today, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan
sent this telegram to Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador in Constantinople. It reads:

Russian Ambassador has brought to our attention an appeal made by the Catholicos of the Armenian Church that this Government use its good offices with the Turkish Government to prevent the massacre of non-combatant Armenians in Turkish territory.

You will please bring the matter to the attention of the government, urging upon it the use of effective means for the protection of Armenians from violence at the hands of those of other religions.

The Russian Ambassador calls attention to the fact that there are many Mussulmans in Russian territory and that these enjoy immunity from religious persecution.



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Elbe Day 1945: U.S. and Soviet Forces Meet

Today is the 70th anniversary of Elbe Day, April 25, 1945. On that day, U.S. Army Lt. Albert Kotzebue and three other men in his reconnaissance platoon crossed the Riber Elbe. There, they met forward elements of the Red Army under the command of Lt. Col. Alexander Gardiev. The arranged photo shown above was taken shortly thereafter, and shows Lt. William Robertson of the U.S. Army and Lt. Alexander Silvashko of the Red Army.

Russian commemorative coin, 1995.  Wikipedia, Photo by Банк России. Original uploader was Permjak at ru.wikipedia.

Russian commemorative coin, 1995. Wikipedia, Photo by Банк России. Original uploader was Permjak at ru.wikipedia.


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The Martyrdom of Armenia, 1915

Montebello_Genocide_Memorial_2012 (1)

Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument, Montebello, California, by ai pohaku ( [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. –  Matthew 24:9

The association of Mount Ararat and Noah, the staunch Christians who were massacred periodically by the Mohammedan Turks, and the Sunday School collections over fifty years for alleviating their miseries—all cumulate to impress the name Armenia on the front of the American mind.  — Herbert Hoover.

The first genocide of the twentieth century struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered.

The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism. And more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia. It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the enthusiasm generated at the end of the Second World War has dissipated and is now disappearing. It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by. We have not yet learned that “war is madness”, “senseless slaughter”

Pope Francis

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide.  A hundred years ago, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were rounded up in Constantinople and executed.  Over the next year, as many as 1.5 million Armenians would die at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.  The genocide is being remembered today, but what is lost in many of the accounts is the fact that it was the Christian Martyrdom of more than a million saints.

The Armenian Genocide was very much a case of Christian martyrdom. In some sense, Armenia can be thought of as the first Christian nation, having been converted by St. Gregory the Illuminator in 301 A.D.   But during St. Gregory’s evangelization of the country, he encountered many Christians. It is believed that three of Christ’s disciples, Thaddeus, Bartholomew, and Jude, successfully preached the Gospel and were martyred there.  Indeed, there’s even one tradition (probably apocryphal) that holds that the “there were some Greeks” of John 12:20 were actually Armenians who returned to spread the Gospel.  But in any event, the Christian heritage of Armenia is one of the oldest in the world, and it was clearly a primary reason for the genocide almost 1900 years later.

In 1916, the British Parliament published the “Blue Book” documenting the events of the Armenian Genocide. The report was entitled The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916 : Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Falloden by Viscount Bryce and compiled by Arnold Toynbee. Here are some excerpts:

Among the massacred were two monks, one of them being the Father Superior of Sourp Garabed, Yeghishe Vartabed, who had a chance of escaping, but did not wish to be separated from his flock, and was killed with them.

(p. 96).

In some cases safety was bought by professing Mohammedanism, but many died as martyrs to the faith.

(p. 102).

Sirpouhi and Santukht, two young women of Ketcheurd, a village east of Sivas, who were being led off to the harem, by Turks, threw themselves into the river Halys, and were drowned with their infants in their arms. Mile. Sirpouhi, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Garabed Tufenjjian of Herag, a graduate of the American College of Marsovan, was offered the choice of saving herself by embracing Islam and marrying a Turk. Sirpouhi retorted that it was an outrage to murder her father and then make her a proposal of marriage. She would have nothing to do with a godless and a murderous people; whereupon she, and seventeen other Armenian girls who had refused conversion, were shamefully illtreated and afterwards killed near TchamliBel gorge.

(p. 325).

‘No, I cannot see what you see, and I cannot accept what I cannot understand.’ So the ox-carts came to the door and took the family away. The wife was a delicate lady and the two beautiful daughters well educated. They were offered homes in harems, but said: ‘No, we cannot deny our Lord. We will go with our father ‘

(p. 354).

In a mountain village there was a girl who made herself famous. Here, as everywhere else, the men were taken out at night and pitifully killed. Then the women and children were sent in a crowd, but a large number of young girls and brides were kept behind. This girl, who had been a pupil in the school at X., was sent before the Governor, the Judge, and the Council together, and they said to her: ‘Your father is dead, your brothers are dead, and all your other relatives are gone, but we have kept you because we do not wish to make you suffer. Now just be a good Turkish girl and you shall be married to a Turkish officer and be comfortable and happy.’ It is said that she looked quietly into their faces and replied: ‘My father is not dead, my brothers are not dead; it is true you have killed them, but they live in Heaven. I shall live with them. I can never do this if I am unfaithful to my conscience. As for marrying, I have been taught that a woman must never marry a man unless she loves him. This is a part of our religion. How can I love a man who comes from a nation that has so recently killed my friends? I should neither be a good Christian girl nor a good Turkish girl if I did so. Do with me what you wish.’ They sent her away, with the few other brave ones, into the hopeless land. Stories of this kind can also be duplicated.

(p. 355).

The men were finally convinced of the uselessness of their efforts when one of the younger and prettiest girls spoke up for herself and said: ‘No one can mix in my decisions; I will not “turn” [change her religion], and it is I myself that say it’

(p. 357).

Mr. A. F., a colporteur, had been willing to embrace Islam, but his wife refused to recognize his apostasy, and declared that she would go into exile with the rest of the people, so he went with his wife and was killed.

(p. 378).

Again and again they said to me: ‘Oh, if they would only kill me now, I would not care; but I fear they will try to force me to become a Mohammedan.’

(p. 403).

When we consider the number forced into exile and the number beaten to death and tortured in a thousand ways, the comparatively small number that turned Moslem is a tribute to the staunchness of their hold on Christianity.

(p. 413).

And how are the people going? As they came into B. M., weary and with swollen and bleeding feet, clasping their babes to their breasts, they utter not one murmur or word of complaint; but you see their eyes move and hear the words: ‘For Jesus’ sake, for Jesus’ sake !’

(p. 478).

Let me quote from W. Effendi, from a letter he wrote a day before his deportation with his young wife and infant child and with the whole congregation—”‘ We now understand that it is a great miracle that our nation has lived so many years amongst such a nation as this. From this we realize that God can and has shut the mouths of lions for many years. May God restrain them! I am afraid they mean to kill some of us, cast some of us into most cruel starvation and send the rest out of this country; so I have very little hope of seeing you again in this world. But be sure that, by God’s special help, I will do my best to encourage others to die manly. I will also look for God’s help for myself to die as a Christian. May this country see that, if we cannot live here as men, we can die as men. May many die as men of God. May God forgive this nation all their sin which they do without knowing. May the Armenians teach Jesus’ life by their death, which they could not teach by their life or have failed in showing forth. It is my great desire to see a Reverend Ali, or Osman, or Mohammed. May Jesus soon see many Turkish Christians as the fruit of His blood.

Before the girls were taken, the Kaimakam asked each one, in the presence of the Principal of the College, whether they wanted to become Mohammedans and stay, or go. They all replied that they would go. Only Miss H. became a Mohammedan, and went to live with G. Professors E. and F. F. had been arrested with other Armenians, but in the name of all the teachers some £250 to £300 were presented to the officials, and so they were let free.

(p. 370).

It should be remembered that their were righteous Muslims.

Fâ’iz el-Ghusein, a Bedouin of Damascus, wrote this:

Is it right that these imposters, who pretend to be the supports of Islam and the Khiidfat, the protectors of the Moslems, should trangress the command of God, transgress the Koran, the Traditions of the Prophet, and humanity? Truly, they have committed an act at which Islam is revolted, as well as all Moslems and all the peoples of the earth, be they Moslems, Christians, Jews, or idolators. As God lives, it is a shameful deed, the like of which has not been done by any people counting themselves as civilised.

It is the responsibility not only of the Armenian people and the universal Church to recall all that has taken place, but of the entire human family, so that the warnings from this tragedy will protect us from falling into a similar horror, which offends against God and human dignity.

Pope Francis


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Emergency Telephone Hookup


It’s a relatively trivial matter to hook up two telephones so that you can talk from one to another. Virtually any old telephone can be used, and it’s simply a matter of placing a battery (the voltage is not critical) in series. So if you need to hook up two telephones to talk, it’s about as easy as it gets.

It’s more difficult, however, to figure out a way to make the other telephone ring. The telephone itself operates off DC. The ringer sounds when an AC voltage is applied. And there’s no particularly simple way of generating that AC voltage. The easiest way to solve the problem is to run a second circuit with a bell, buzzer, or light. If you want to talk to the other station, you push a button, a bell (separate from the phone) sounds at the other end, and the other person picks up the phone.

The ingenious arrangement shown above shows a way to wire it all up so that a single circuit can handle both the bell and the telephone line. When one station wants to call, he pushes the button to signal the other station. Then, both sides put the switch on position 2, and they can talk. This circuit, and all the details for constructing it, are found in the April 1966 issue of Radio Constructor, a British electronics magazine.

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FM Comes to Milwaukee, 1940


75 years ago today, April 22, 1940, FM radio came to Milwaukee, when W9XAO came on the air at 1:00 PM on 42.6 megacycles. The station was owned by the Milwaukee Journal, and was the sister station of WTMJ, the paper’s standard broadcast station. According to the April 21 issue of the newspaper, the station was “the first FM station west of the Alleghenies.”

The paper used a number of pages touting the advantages of FM radio. Of course, listeners would require a new set to tune in the new band, and a number of manufacturers and retailers advertised their sets. The least expensive model was Stromberg-Carlson model 525-H for $59. This radio was actually a tuner only. It could be plugged in to the phonograph jack of an existing radio.

The station at some point received a commercial license and operated under the call letters W55J. After the war, the station moved to 102.1 on the modern FM dial with the call sign WTMJ-FM, but ceased broadcasting in 1950. WTMJ-FM returned to the air in 1958, on 94.5 MHz. The station is currently still owned by Journal Communications, but now uses the call sign WLWK-FM.

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

The first full-time announcer at W9XAO was Don Stanley, who came to Milwaukee from KGLO in Mason City, Iowa. He went on to become a west coast announcer for NBC radio and television from 1946-1992.

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Our Facebook Contest! is running its first ever contest. The winner will receive a copy of the book U-Boats Against Canada: German Submarines in Canadian Waters by Michael L. Hadley.

During World War II, German subs operated in Canadian waters, as far up the St. Lawrence River as 172 miles from Quebec City. They sank ships, laid mines, and even set up a secret weather station in Labrador. My earlier post about that weather station was based largely upon this book. The book is very well written. It reads like a novel, but is extremely well researched with extensive footnotes.

The book is out of print, but you will receive a used copy (a former library book from Wheaton, Illinois) in excellent condition. To enter, simply follow these two steps:

  1. “Like” us on Facebook. Just click on this link and then click the “Like” button on top of the page.  (If it says “Liked,” then you already have this step taken care of.)
  2. Go to the contest announcement, which appears on that same Facebook page. I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Post your guess as a comment to that Facebook post, and whoever is closest will be the winner. In case of a tie, the first guess wins.

The contest ends at 11:59 PM Central Time on April 25, 2015.