Radio – The Original ‘Wireless’ Device

Radio 1Given the choice between television or radio I would favour radio any day of the week.

I grew up with the classic comedy series such as the Goons, Tony Hancock, Round the Horne, The Navy Lark and I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again to name but a few. I have even been known to drop into the BBC iPlayer on occasion just listen to some of the classics.

But be that as it may, the ‘wireless’ has a place in the history of the last century as the gathering and dissemination of news and the coverage of world events became faster and more efficient.

Radio iRadio is the technology of using radio waves to carry information, such as sound, by Radio 2systematically modulating some property of electromagnetic energy waves transmitted through space, such as their amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width.

When radio waves strike an electrical conductor, the oscillating fields induce an alternating current in the conductor.

The information in the waves can be extracted and transformed back into its original form.

Radio 3Radio-Times 1923The use of ‘radio’ as a standalone word dates back to at least December 30, 1904, when instructions issued by the British Post Office for transmitting telegrams specified that Radio-Times 1951“The word ‘Radio’… is sent in the Service Instructions”.

This practice was universally adopted, and the word ‘radio’ introduced internationally, by the 1906 Berlin Radiotelegraphic Convention, which included a Service Regulation specifying that “Radiotelegrams shall show in the Radio-Times 1939preamble that the service is ‘Radio'”

Radio 4The switch to ‘radio‘ in place of ‘wireless’ took place slowly and unevenly in the Radio-Times 1937English-speaking world.

Lee de Forest helped popularize the new word in the United States.

In early 1907 he founded the de Forest Radio Telephone Radio-Times 1977Company, and his letter in the June 22, 1907 Electrical World about the need for legal restrictions warned that “Radio chaos will certainly be the result until such stringent regulation is enforced”.

Radio eThe United States Navy would also play a role. Although its translation of the 1906 Berlin Convention used the Radio-Times 1969terms ‘wireless telegraph’ and ‘wireless telegram’, by 1912 it began to promote the use of “radio” instead.

Radio cThe term started to become preferred by the general public in the 1920s with the introduction of broadcasting.

Radio-Times 1966Did you know that the term ‘Broadcasting’ is based upon an agricultural term meaning roughly ‘scattering seeds widely’?

Radio abBritish Commonwealth countries continued to commonly use the term ‘wireless’ until the mid-20th century, though the magazine of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the UK has been called Radio Times since its founding in the early 1920s.

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