Wireless for the Man-in-the-Moon

This page is dedicated to Bruce, my late elder brother, formerly of Halesowen, an avid restorer of vintage radios. A sometime dealer in such antiques and the author over a number of years of the "Browsing with Bruce" feature in "The Radiophile" magazine, he always liked to include a little humour in his otherwise down-to-earth descriptions of his restorations. His career was initiated by the gift of a crystal set, probably for his thirteenth birthday. Then, inspired no doubt by F.J.Camm et al, he constructed a series of one and two valvers. At the age of fourteen he was constructing radio sets from 'Sparks' Data Sheets' , winding his own coils and using a soldering iron heated in the gas ring. One set, a three valver, was so successful that it was used by our family for years. Later he provided us with a television set built from government surplus military items.

Over fifty years ago I acquired a most unusual book. It is a tongue in the cheek look at the then popular hobby of the home construction of wireless sets and was printed in 1933, the year my brother was born. Despite being humorous it also manages to describe the valve electron theory in an extraordinary way, in terms of mother ducks and ducklings, would you believe? I have used the Internet over five years to attempt to discover if another copy existed for sale, and I have only recently been able to find one, which rather strangely was not in the UK, but in Moe's ( most excellent ) Bookshop in Los Angeles, but which is now on my own bookshelf. You would be very lucky to find another as the only other existing copy seems to be the one located within the bowels of the British Museum. However, despite this rarity, an Antiques Road Show expert has assured me that the volume has but nominal monetary value.

I hold the opinion that such a long forgotten esoteric but amusing work ought not to be hidden from general view but should be shared with current members of the fraternity who would appreciate the humour contained therein. Although the book is rated as "of little value" it has occurred to me that its intrinsic value could be revealed here. I understand that Elsevier may own the Newnes rights and even though the statutory seventy years have passed and there is no caveat in the book , I have enquired of them (19.04.07) if my intention would be objected to, as after all it is most unlikely that it would ever be reprinted. The lack of a response during the ensuing months leads me to believe that there is no such objection.

"Decibel" was a regular contributor to that most cerebral of the former Newnes radio publications, Wireless World, and an author of several books about radio. Below are the frontispiece and preface to give you an idea of what his book is all about.

If you are now tempted to read the whole 128 pages of the book then Down load this PDF version (9MB). The quality will initially be seen as poor, but it improves greatly with the use of Acrobat's zoom feature. However, it should be noted that if I have arranged things correctly, you will not be able to print it.

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