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American Radio and Research Corporation (AMRAD) Records

 Collection
Call Number: UA022

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Scope and Contents

This collection contains photos, correspondence, and some other general records of the Amrad Corporation as well as physical objects.
Scope and Contents This collection contains photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and some other general records documenting the Amrad Corporation as well as objects, including rectifying tubes, a rectifier, a rectifier jumper, copper capacitors, and a bezel.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1915 -- 1947
  • 1915 -- 1982

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Arrangement

This collection is organized in one series: AMRAD

Extent

1.0 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

The American Radio and Research Corporation (AMRAD) was formed in 1915 by Harold J. Power. Power, a 1914 Tufts graduate, had extensive knowledge of wireless sets, and had served on J. P. Morgan’s yacht as a wireless operator during his school vacations. Upon graduation, he formed a small company with three other Tufts graduates which aimed to improve existing wireless receivers. After receiving backing from J. P. Morgan, Power became the General Manager and Treasurer of AMRAD, with additional employees and several student volunteers. Using Morgan’s financial resources, he constructed a small building on Tufts campus with a 300 foot transmission tower atop it. By 1917, AMRAD was manufacturing receivers for the military, as well as broadcasting regularly on the station 1XE. Though the station was shut down along with other amateur stations during the war, they continued to sell receivers to the military and resumed broadcasting in 1919.

In 1920, AMRAD vacated their original facility and moved downhill across the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks, building a concrete structure on the Stearns estate. Faced with an oversupply of manufactured receivers from the war, they began advertising their equipment in magazines. Using a volunteer group made up of AMRAD employees and Tufts students, AMRAD consistently broadcast on Station 1XE several evenings a week. By 1921, this had become daily programming and took on a more professional quality: 1XE broadcast several well-known guest speakers, and ran a program titled “the Tufts College Radiophone Lectures,” which consisted of Tufts professors delivering a fifteen minute lecture from the AMRAD station to an audience of 100,000.

The company was plagued with financial worries during the early 1920s. Few of the programs broadcast generated any revenue, and the company suffered from poor management decisions that took on debt. The company faced a growing negative reputation: orders placed for their receivers were often late or went unfulfilled, and products which had not actually been produced appeared in magazine advertisements. Few of the programs on 1XE generated any income, and J. P. Morgan stopped investing in the company, due to a lack of profit. In 1925, AMRAD went bankrupt, and the station went off the air. It continued to manufacture products until 1928, when it was acquired by the Crosley Radio Corporation.

Custodial History

The materials were collected by Russell Miller while preparing his history of Tufts University, Light on the Hill. All materials were organized by subject and no attempt has been made to recreate original order. Additional physical objects donated by Thomas Hart.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University Repository

Contact:
35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States
617-627-3737