Loam is the ideal type of gardening soil.
By Greg Clark, March 4, 1922
Hundreds of People in Toronto are Now Using This Latest and Greatest of the World’s Marvels.
Music Travels 1,000 Miles Instantaneously
Sound Is Much Clearer Than by Ordinary Telephone and by Amplifier Much Louder Than Phonograph.
Darius, the king of the earth, standing in dismay upon the bank of the swift Danube, with his mighty army back of him, summoned a certain Egyptian, who had a voice louder than any other man in the world…
And Darius commanded him to call across the river, a mile broad, to the King’s allies on the further shore, to come with ships and rescue him.
And lo, the shout was heard!
A boy of sixteen, sitting at a sort of telephone switchboard in his attic den, in Toronto, turns a black knob on the board —
“– number on the program,” says a man’s voice, suddenly. “Miss Jane English will sing, ‘Caro Nome’ from Rigoletto.”
The boy turns from the instrument board:
“Chicago!” says he.
A piano strikes a few chords. Then a smooth soprano voice sweeps into the attic room, singing the famous aria.
You don’t believe it?
Neither would have Darius, king of kings, with his loud man who could yell a mile.
For that piano and that voice, from a room in Chicago, are sounding through five hundred miles of space into this wireless amateur’s den in Toronto. And it is coming so fast through space that the time between the striking of the piano keys in Chicago and your hearing it in Toronto is too small a part of a second for the human mind to grasp. Rap your table twice in succession as swiftly as you can. That is ten times slower than this girl’s voice leaping five hundred miles through the starry night.
The young fellow at the instrument board turns the black knob, fiddles with some switches.
The room is filled with crackling, whistling sounds. Then silence; and clearly, staccato, come Morse signals, dot, dash, dot –
The boy listens:
“International code: that’s a ship on the Atlantic ocean calling a coast station.”
Turning and tuning; again whistles rising and falling, again rushing, crackling sounds as this Toronto boy searches through the vast night sky with his miraculous antennae; then a sudden silence; and out of it, the clear sound of a jazz band playing one of the latest popular dance tunes. You can hear the saxophone doing its fancy tooting, the trick drummer, and all –
“Chicago again?” you ask.
“No,” says the young operator, “Newark, New Jersey. I think.”
You listen. The band stops. A man’s voice, clear, quiet, remote as in a phonograph or telephone, but lacking both the rasp of the phonograph and the metallic buzz of the phone, announces that the next number on the program will be so and so.
“No,” says the boy. “That’s Springfield, Massachusetts.”
What is all this?
Reader, it’s the most astonishing thing in the world. It is the wireless telephone. It is the sending of the human voice and of instrumental music or any other sound through hundreds of miles of space at instantaneous speed.
You stick up a wire in the air. With an intricate electric apparatus, you shoot electric waves bearing your sound into space. And anybody else with a wire in the air, by tuning their apparatus to receive your waves, which are of a particular length, can hear your sound. Wireless started with the dot-dash system. By adding the telephone principle, you can hear a hundred times better than by telephone. For there are no metal wires to foul the sounds: Just clean, limitless space.
And what is the music?
These are wireless concerts put on every day and night of the week by the Westinghouse Electric Company at Pittsburg, Chicago, Newark. N.J., and Springfield, Mass., for any who wants to, to hear.
At these points, musical artists, public entertainers of all kinds, are brought together, and perform in front of a transmitting device which “broadcasts” the performance over the whole of the eastern half of the American continent. Public speakers also give short addresses on educational themes. There are said to be 20,000 amateur wireless operators in the States. There are, at a conservative estimate, 300 in Toronto, all of whom can hear these concerts in the distant American cities.
G. W. McClain, son of T. W. McClain, of 342 Brunswick avenue, allowed The Star Weekly representative and artist to attend concerts in four distant cities of America the other night. First, Pittsburgh, then Newark, then Springfield and Chicago. As quick as thought.
Young Mr. McClain has one of the most advanced amateur sets in Canada. With it he has heard signals from Nauen, Germany; the Eiffel Tower, Paris; from the Hawaiian Islands, and he frequently is in connection, not by voice, but by straight signals, with amateurs in Chicago, and points as far away as Kentucky. The night the Weekly was present, he got in touch with a man in Indiana, and they exchanged greetings, the Toronto man informing the Indiana man that he was just letting some astonished newspapermen hear concerts in cities a thousand miles apart.
It is all just in the beginning. Every month sees improvement. Young Mr. McClain attended the Dempsey-Carpentier fight by wireless. He heard the bells ring. He heard the crowds shouting and cheering, and the voice of the operator at the ringside, telling of each move in the fight.
The Marconi Company in Toronto puts on a concert in their King street office every Tuesday night. On that occasion, locally, the listener can not keep the head-set on his ears, it is so loud. And the amplifier (Mr. McClain uses an ordinary wooden phonograph horn), fills the house with the Marconi music by local musicians, louder than any phonograph.
Mr. McClain, Sr., had a euchre party at the house one Tuesday evening, and he ran a wire down to his drawing room, attached the amplifier horn, and had the Marconi concert during the card party, as no phonograph ever performed; as if the musicians themselves were in the next room.
Editor’s Note: Early radio was not unlike early home computing of the 1970s. It was dominated by amateurs, who were doing their own broadcasting and listening (with few regulations, so that transmissions could travel large distances with no concern of overlap). Professional stations would develop during this time. There would be no indications of when or what might be playing, hence the need to “search” for whatever you could find. Some stations might only broadcast once a week, or during certain hours. It would not be until the mid-1920s that radio would move away from hobbyists with homemade kits, to radios sold in stores for easy purchase.
Jack Dempsey fought Georges Carpentier on July 2, 1921 for the heavyweight championship boxing title. It was called “the largest audience in history,” as 300,000 people were estimated to have heard it on the radio, and it was considered one of the first radio broadcasts of a special event in history.
An illustration from a story by Fred Griffin about passers-by helping a lady recover the beads from her necklace that broke.
This illustration by Jim came with an article on how race tracks are run.
By Greg Clark, June 16, 1922
“I don’t understand all this business about flappers,” said Aunt Melinda. “What is a flapper? I thought it was one of those absurd girls who wear their galoshes unbuckled and flapping about their calves.”
“Flappers! Flappers?” exclaimed Aunt Agg, who sets herself up as an authority on everything modern and effete. “Why, my dear, isn’t a flapper a girl”- (she pronounced it gyerl) – “whose skirts flap about her knees? I’m sure that is the derivation of the word.”
Grandma, who was listening with unconcealed astonishment to this conversation, I dropped her knitting and her hands into her lap and gasped:
“Why, I thought a flapper was one of these deaf and dumb persons who converse by means of flapping their hands!”
“Mother!” said Aunt Agg with scorn. “If you aren’t the old-fashionedest–“
“Well,” continued Aunt ‘Linda, who was one of those persevering conversationalists, “I can’t see what there is to make such a fuss over these innocent little girls. We scandalized you, didn’t we, mother, when we were girls…”
“Not you, my dears,” replied Grandma, “but some of our neighbors children…”
“I think we should pay less attention to these pretty, harmless children, and try to do something for these bold, golfing, motoring, horseracing women of mature years,” said Aunt ‘Linda. “They are the ones who are undermining the foundations of society, to use the minister’s words. Look at these photographs of the fashionable crowds at the races. Not a female there under forty.”
“No,” interrupted Aunt Agg, pointing to the picture, “there are several flappers.”
Aunt ‘Linda examined the picture.
“You are wrong. Agg. All the flappers have their backs turned to the camera, and all the women of forty are facing it. It simply means that they look like flappers from behind, but are all over forty.”
“Tee, hee!” giggled Grandma. “That’s what we used to say about crinolines, that they made all women the same age from the back.”
“What is the sense,” went on Aunt ‘Linda. “of criticizing the youngsters when the gaudiest women we see downtown on our shopping trips are dowagers of near fifty? Who was it we saw smoking cigaret in the dining room of the Prince Edward last New Year’s but a fat woman on the verge of sixty? Think of our neighbor who goes off dragging her golf implements with her two friends every afternoon, all women of mature years, and I doubt not that out at the golf club they indulge in cigarets between every bout.”
“Indeed, I am told,” said Aunt Agg, “that the women have bottles full of cocktails in their cupboards out at these golf clubs.”
“I recall,” remarked Grandma in an absent manner, “when cocktails were first invented.”
Grandma started guiltily and dropped a stitch. Her face flushed a little, and the shiny look that came into her eyes when she was about to become difficult now appeared. She hitched her rocking chair to face her two daughters.
“Girls” said she, “I have no patience with you middle-aged people. Young folk and old people have some redeeming qualities; youth has the charm of innocence, age the charm of sophistication.”
“I have just invented a new classification of the unfair sex: flappers, floppers and fleepers. The flappers are the young girls, whose skirts flap, whose galoshes flap, whose brains flap airily, bless them, in the lightest breeze that blows. The floppers are the middle-aged girls who flop about the lawns of society like large, sleek seals, who flop about the golf courses, flop about hotels and tea rooms, or whose tongues flop continually about the follies and frailties of their sisters old and young. We old ones are the fleepers, who fleep and cheep und wheeze our last few paces down the easy slope.”
“And of the three, the most disagreeable are the floppers.”
As usual when Grandma has one of her difficult spells, her knitting got into an awful tangle.
Now Aunt ‘Linda silently moved over and commenced unravelling the mess. Aunt Agg rose coldly and said-
“I think I’ll go and make a tray of tea.”
“Then, Agnes,” said Grandma, “would you bring up off the mantel that big box of candled cherries that grandson Eddie sent me?”
Editor’s Notes: This is another article from the early 1920s, that shows society’s confusion over the transformation of women’s roles. The characters focus scorn on flappers, young women who smoke, drink, and publicly enjoy themselves, the complete opposite of Victorian or Edwardian manners. Even in this article, it is unsure where the term “Flapper” came from.
“Grandma” mentions crinolines, the hoop-skirt type of fashion popular in the 1860s, presumably when she was young.
Margot Asquith was the wife of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, who was Prime minister from 1908-1916. The poor progress of the First World War was blamed on him and he was forced out of office part way through and replaced by David Lloyd George. Mrs. Asquith was not well liked by the press for her outspokenness during the war, and was considered by some as a partial reason for her husband’s downfall. This illustration by Jim accompanied an article by her about her visit to America in 1922.
Jim illustration from a story by Isadore Goldberg in 1922.
The Resty-Nook vacation spot shows up in this early example.