Wednesday, June 07, 2006 06/07/06-the Radio

In today's excerpt, the radio becomes the most successful product in America as part of the new age of electricity:

"By 1896, electricity had become such an accepted part of life that people were familiarly referring to it as juice...(and) electrical products began to come onto the market.

" product was more successful than the radio. Radio, in the form of radio-receiver, entered the language in 1903. Earlier still there had been such specialized forms as radiophone (1881) and radioconductor (1898). As late as 1921 the New York Times was referring to the exciting new medium as 'wireless telephony.' Others called it a 'loud- speaking telephone' or simply a 'wireless' (as it is still often called in Great Britain). When a leading golf club, the Dixmoor, installed radio speakers around the course so that its members could listen to church services (honestly) while playing their Sunday- morning round, it referred to the system simply as a 'telephone.' Radio in the sense of a means of communication and entertainment for the general public didn't enter the language until 1922, and it took a decade or so before people could decide whether to pronounce it ray-dio or rah-dio."

Bill Bryson, Made in America, Perennial, 1994, pp. 225- 6


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