Our First Radio

It was in the early days of the Twenties that my father, Guy Winslow, then President of Lasell Junior College, took his four children in the Lasell limousine to Tufts to buy their first radio. Tufts was selling these early crystal sets, and my father, a scientist himself, was eager to own one.

It was a strange little wire-wrapped cylindrical object with a small crystal and a "cat's whisker" which could pick up signals from WGI, Tufts radio station. There was no loud speaker. For hours on end, we passed the single set of ear phones from person to person to listen to the disembodied voices.

Our father who had graduated from Tufts in the mid-1890s, told us that Professor Amos Dolbear, of the Physics Department at the college, had obtained a patent in 1882 on a device to send wireless signals after he had succeeded in sending a radio message from a building on campus to a building about a mile away. In 1915, AMRAD (the American Radio and Research Corporation) had been formed and soon erected a 306 foot radio tower on the north side of the Tufts campus. When America entered World War I, all private stations had been shut down by the government, but by 1922 when we got our radio, the station was operating again.

Fortunately improvements in radios came rapidly, but we never forgot the excitement of our first set. It was one more reason to be proud of Tufts, which eventually all four Winslow children would attend.

Written by Donald Winslow in 2007.