EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
This is national radio month (May) and it is interesting to recall that it was just 50 years ago this year (1965) that Findlay took a major step in the wireless communication field, via installation of apparatus that took advantage of the invention of Marconi, the famed Italian scientist of a few decades previously.
In September 1915, the C.F. Jackson Co., with stores in Findlay and Norwalk, announced that they were installing wireless telegraph apparatus at both stores. The apparatus was to be used principally for direct communication between the two stores. The Findlay store was located in the large building at the southwest corner of South Main Street and West Sandusky Street. The Jackson Store, which was of the department type, opened early in the new century and was operated until the 1930s.
In addition to the private use of the wireless station, correct time at regular intervals was to be received from government sources. The first message went out from Findlay, Oct. 18, 1915.
The operating room of the Jackson station was in the offices of the store, located on the second floor. Towers were erected at a height of between 25 to 30 feet to bear the antenna.
It is interesting to observe that the Jackson wireless station of those early days was only a few feet from the location today (1965) of the present studios of radio station WFIN.
A special Washington birthday message was sent out from Washington, D.C., Feb. 22, 1916. The purpose of the broadcast was to test the preparedness and skill of the 25,000 amateur licensed operators in the United States.
The message was received in Findlay at the C.F. Jackson store and by private station operators, M.L. Shoupe, Roy Shoupe and G.B. Wyatt.
With the entry of the United States into World War I, the amateur wireless station owners all over the country were notified to dismantle their stations. Paul Laub, 500 W. Lima St., was the first operator in Findlay to receive orders to dismantle his station. He was a senior in high school and had about $150 invested in his station.
Hugh Houck and Edwin Tarbox, also owners of wireless amateur stations, and the large station of the C.F. Jackson Co. department store also were later ordered to “cease and desist” because of the war, together with others here.
The amateur radio operators of Findlay called a meeting on Jan. 21, 1921, to form an Amateur Radio Club. The meeting was held at the Day Cycle Shop on East Sandusky Street. Officers elected were Frank Day, president; Roy Shoupe, vice president, and Edwin Tarbox, treasurer.
Some Findlay people may well remember that the first “radio music” they chanced to hear came from an automobile.
On April 26, 1921, Edward H. Mitchell mounted a set in his automobile and drove it about the city. Sam Belford had charge of the sending set located at the Electric Construction and Motor Co. store on South Main Street and was sending music to Mr. Mitchell.
The sets were owned by the Electric Construction Co., whose store stood on a portion of the property now occupied by the Marathon Oil Co. The local station was clearly heard at Mount Blanchard, Carey and Fostoria.
During the latter part of 1921 and in January 1922, concerts being broadcast from the Westinghouse Radio Broadcasting station at East Pittsburgh, Pa., were being received in Findlay.
A popular singer at that station was Mrs. Rose Leader-Chislett, of Pittsburgh, a former Findlay resident. On Jan. 15, 1922, Eugene Livingston had a station set up at the Collingwood and Edwards Garage on Broadway to receive the concert in which Mrs. Chislett sang.
The faculty and students of the Washington School through hard work and the generosity of patrons and friends had secured the means by April 12, 1922, to install a modern radio outfit at the school. Voyle Hybarger had charge of the installation of the radio. The Washington was the first public school in the city to possess such equipment.