Edwardians: First Radio Broadcast

First Radio Broadcast

On Christmas Eve of 1906, Reginald Fessenden broadcast the first radio program from Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, Massachusetts. The Westinghouse engineers invented the vacuum tube detector (an amplifier) which led to the use of a synchronous rotary-spark transmitter (an early radio transmitter) for this first radio broadcast.

The broadcast was heard by ships at sea, and included a violin rendition of O Holy Night and a reading of a passage from the Bible. This is known as amplitude modulation or AM radio:

Making a Radio

After playing the girls the first radio broadcast I sat down with them to build a simple radio. ‘Simple’ was not the correct adjective. I looked at everything the kit provided and looked at the instructions. It was like reading Russian. I did not have a clue! So I sheepishly went and collected my husband and asked if he’d like to homeschool his little ones for a while…

The first picture is when Gary and the girls had built the inside of the radio and touched together two wires and the girls heard voices from the radio for the first time. Look at their faces! They were so awed and excited! I imagine that must have been the reaction to that first radio broadcast in 1906. The final radio. Cool uh?

First radio broadcast

Recording a Christmas Radio Broadcast

Having listened to the recording on YouTube, the girls recorded their own version of that first broadcast in 1906. We wrote it together and we chose the UK Blessing song and the Piano Guys version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel followed by the same Bible verse that broadcast all those years ago. Thomas then kindly recorded it for us and added some oldy worldly crackle to make it sound old. The girls had an enormous amount of fun and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with their big brother:

The actual recording:

So cool! Homeschool rocks!

For all my history posts have a peek at my History Page


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