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Amazing Wireless Phone

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You think the wireless phone you use in your car is 21st century technology....right? Think again. The February 1917 issue of American Motorist (an AAA publication on Google Books) carries an article entitled "Telephoning by Wireless from an Automobile."

 

To quote the article "....it is as simple and easy as talking across the dining room table"....well maybe not! First there was the telephone which weighed "not more than fifty pounds." Try holding that to your ear. :o

 

Then there was the matter of the aerial. You had to walk out 18 feet and put a post in the ground, then string a wire from the telephone to the post.

 

You then put on the "headgear" (was it Bluetooth ready?). The system was "not affected by static." It doesn't mention dropped calls.

 

The good news is that "...the pleasure and convenience of the motorist will be greatly enhanced during the next few years by the use of this new system of wireless" .........well maybe a little more than a "few" years!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road

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Sounds even less practical than Chrysler Corp's. 1950s "Highway Hi-Fi" underdash record player!

 

Now that's one I don't remember! Chryslers were for the wealthy. Our friends drove Plymouths. Must have played 45's. <_<

 

Thanks for the comeback!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Ta da, Highway Hi-Fi, spied in a 1957 Chrysler 300C a couple weeks ago:

 

5763002553_0c4a6b5783.jpg

1957 Chrysler 300C convertible f by mobilene, on Flickr

 

Jim,

 

Wow! I have a couple of my 45's from those days. Now I just need to find a Chrysler to play them! :lol:

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Jim,

 

Wow! I have a couple of my 45's from those days. Now I just need to find a Chrysler to play them! :lol:

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

If I recall the details correctly, Chrysler's "Highway Hi-Fi" would not play just any 45 or LP. One had to purchase special discs that were quite thick and heavy and played at a low speed (16 RPM?), much like old Muzak commercial recordings did (Remember them? Back in the '70s I worked at a supermarket that still had an old Muzak record player setup.). The tonearm pressure must have been immense to keep those discs from skipping as the vehicle went over bumps!

Oh, and I believe the option was available in any Chrysler, De Soto, Dodge, or, yes, even a low-end Plymouth! Not many folks sprang for it though, as it obviously didn't catch on.

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If I recall the details correctly, Chrysler's "Highway Hi-Fi" would not play just any 45 or LP. One had to purchase special discs that were quite thick and heavy and played at a low speed (16 RPM?), much like old Muzak commercial recordings did (Remember them? Back in the '70s I worked at a supermarket that still had an old Muzak record player setup.). The tonearm pressure must have been immense to keep those discs from skipping as the vehicle went over bumps!

Oh, and I believe the option was available in any Chrysler, De Soto, Dodge, or, yes, even a low-end Plymouth! Not many folks sprang for it though, as it obviously didn't catch on.

 

You are 100% correct. Here is a link I found that describes the beast.

 

"Record" Player

 

It seems you had very few choices as to music. Of course this was before FM was popular, so maybe it had some value. But it sure looks like someone pushed the concept beyond the capability of the technology, like the 1917 car "telephone."

 

Thanks for this piece of auto history!!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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You are 100% correct. Here is a link I found that describes the beast.

 

"Record" Player

 

It seems you had very few choices as to music. Of course this was before FM was popular, so maybe it had some value. But it sure looks like someone pushed the concept beyond the capability of the technology, like the 1917 car "telephone."

 

Thanks for this piece of auto history!!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

What! No Elvis? Bill Haley? Little Richard? Not even any white-bread Pat Boone? Then I saw that the system was developed by CBS/Columbia, so obviously the selections were limited to Columbia artists. And in 1955-56, Columbia was definitely not out there signing up rock'n'roll or rhythm and blues artists (thanks to Mitch Miller, among other things). But again, I digress...

Back to the 1917 'car phone': I wonder if any of these actually sold? They sound a whole lot like an early military field radio, which was developed at the tail end of WWI (circa 1917), but was certainly not very 'mobile'.

Even the WWII field radios, which are familiar to anyone who's ever seen a WWII movie, were still pretty big and clunky. Those poor radio operators who had to hump those things across Europe and the Pacific needed strong backs!

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What! No Elvis? Bill Haley? Little Richard? Not even any white-bread Pat Boone? Then I saw that the system was developed by CBS/Columbia, so obviously the selections were limited to Columbia artists. And in 1955-56, Columbia was definitely not out there signing up rock'n'roll or rhythm and blues artists (thanks to Mitch Miller, among other things). But again, I digress...

Back to the 1917 'car phone': I wonder if any of these actually sold? They sound a whole lot like an early military field radio, which was developed at the tail end of WWI (circa 1917), but was certainly not very 'mobile'.

Even the WWII field radios, which are familiar to anyone who's ever seen a WWII movie, were still pretty big and clunky. Those poor radio operators who had to hump those things across Europe and the Pacific needed strong backs!

 

Right again. The 1917 wireless "telephone" was a radio transmitter and receiver.

 

And to also digress, I won't need to see a World War II movie B). I recall real Army surplus stores after the war (that's WWII for the youngins). You could buy aircraft gauges and altimeters, ammunition boxes, tents, field glasses, life preservers, bayonets, folding shovels, K rations, canteens, batteries, clothing, and just about anything else used by the military, including walkie talkies. Of course they were gigantic by today's standards.

 

Everything was dirt cheap and it was a candy store for a kid. Of course it couldn't last. Eventually they ran out of the real thing and started to manufacture cheap imitations for sale as "Army surplus."

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Right again. The 1917 wireless "telephone" was a radio transmitter and receiver.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

At least it sounds like it didn't have roaming charges!

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Right again. The 1917 wireless "telephone" was a radio transmitter and receiver.

 

And to also digress, I won't need to see a World War II movie B). I recall real Army surplus stores after the war (that's WWII for the youngins). You could buy aircraft gauges and altimeters, ammunition boxes, tents, field glasses, life preservers, bayonets, folding shovels, K rations, canteens, batteries, clothing, and just about anything else used by the military, including walkie talkies. Of course they were gigantic by today's standards.

 

Everything was dirt cheap and it was a candy store for a kid. Of course it couldn't last. Eventually they ran out of the real thing and started to manufacture cheap imitations for sale as "Army surplus."

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

Yeah, those WWII Surplus stores outfitted a lot of Boy Scout troops!!! I remember one in Portland, Maine, that also sold surplus trucks and jeeps - and if you wanted a tank, the guy probably could get one for you.

 

Alex B

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Yeah, those WWII Surplus stores outfitted a lot of Boy Scout troops!!! I remember one in Portland, Maine, that also sold surplus trucks and jeeps - and if you wanted a tank, the guy probably could get one for you.

 

Alex B

 

How 'bout a B-17? :lol:

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How 'bout a B-17? :lol:

 

Funny thing, there is a news piece today describing a 90+ guy who collected Army surplus and had a B-17 cockpit he apparently got as Army surplus! And I had forgotten you could buy Norden bomb sights too.

 

Now to bring this thread back to road trips....my first auto travel tent was purchased at an Army surplus store in San Jose, California. It was a long long way from today's light weight, easy to set up tents. And I also got canvas cots with hardwood frames, a big jeep water can, a canteen (dented and obviously used), and a bayonet that had a blade at least 7 inches long. I also bought jellied gas in little pea green cans used to cook. Cabella's had nothing on real Army surplus stores!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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I also bought jellied gas in little pea green cans used to cook. Cabella's had nothing on real Army surplus stores!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Cooking with napalm! Love it--must've "smelled like victory", to sort of quote Robert Duvall... B)

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At least it sounds like it didn't have roaming charges!

 

LOL!

 

 

I'm not sure which technology I like better ... the 1917 "wireless telephone" or Chrysler's "record player".

 

Of those two, I HAD seen the "record player" previously. Quite the interesting contraption...lol.

 

 

 

Cort | 37.m.IL.pigValve.pacemaker | 5 Monte Carlos + 1 Caprice Classic | * meet_07.30.11_Cold.Treat *

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