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 Post subject: Relationship Between Cunningham and RCA?
PostPosted: Dec Thu 25, 2008 11:39 pm 
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I once read about the relationship between the two, but forget the details. I seem to recall that there might have been some kind of corporate skulduggery involved?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 12:41 am 
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Same company.

Elmer T Cunningham had a DeForest license to manufacture Audion bulbs for amatuer and experimental use. Whne the RCA attempted to monopolize the market in the early 1920's, Cunningham was brought into the cartel by being offered a lucrative job with the RCA. He also insisted that he be allowed to market a certain percentage of the cartel's tube production under his own name.

RCA and Cunninham tubes were made in the same plants, on the same lines.

The fact that RCA and Cunningham were essentially the same company was kept quite a secret throughout most of the 1920's. Occasionally there might be a report in QST of an amatuer finding Cunningham tube in an RCA box, or visa-versa, but there was never any incontrovertible proof, until 1928 or 29 when a number of UY-227's turned up with Cunningham bases and RCA "Meatball" logos on their tops.


By the early 1930's, the cat was out of the bag, and RCA stopped supporting the fiction that Cunningham was an unaffiliated firm.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 1:08 am 
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RCA, never REALLY did anything deceitful did they.
I mean after all, that kid Sarnoff, spent 72 straigfht hours receiving survivor reports from the Titanic. How much more upstanding can you get ? :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Dan
I wouldn't believe RCA, if they told me RCA, was spelt R-C-A.
If you want to read a good book, Read "The Last Lone Inventor", By
Ivan Schwartz.
Philco would have been the primary License contractor for Commericalized Television, if RCA hadn't threatened to pull their Radio rights from Philco, basicallyy putting Philco out of business. Thus forcing Philco to abandon Philo Farnsworth and his lab at Philco research facility at Philadelphia in late 1931. Read the book, it will really open your eyes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 1:51 am 
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OK, thanks. I had forgotten the story, but had remembered there was something fishy about it.

The thing that prompted my question was a nameplate on an Eveready (Nat'l Carbon Co.) Model 21, a 1928 model. It says (italics are on the nameplate):

"This receiver is designed to use only R.C.A. UX-240 or Cunningham CX-340 in all positions.... The use of other types of tubes will render the receiver inoperable."

Not surprisingly, when I got the radio, it had all (good) Cunningham tubes.

Somebody should have gone to jail!

One other comment: this set is clearly a neutrodyne - the adjustable neutralizing caps are prominent on the top of the chassis - but the set isn't labeled as a neutrodyne. Makes me wonder if Eveready was thumbing their nose at Prof. Hazeltine's patent? Or, did the neutrodyne patent get acquired by RCA, and maybe Eveready "paid off" RCA by promoting RCA and Cunningham tubes on the nameplate?

By the way, this 6-tube Eveready TRF model is a real player! I tried substituting '01As - it still played, but not as much gain as with the '40s. It's a fine set with three RF stages and two audio stages. The four tuners are brass - no pot metal. It has a variometer for tuning the antenna.

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Last edited by dcriner on Dec Fri 26, 2008 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 2:03 am 
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Hi Doug

Eveready used higher gain #40 tubes in place of 01A and audio interstage transformers.

The 01A has a gain of 8 and used with an audio interstage transformer with a ratio of 1:3 had a gain of 24.

Number 40 tubes , gain of 30, were R/C coupled so no transformer was used. They have a high voltage gain but couldn't drive a speaker. Usually a 12A was driving the speaker.

http://www.nostalgiaair.org/PagesByMode ... 040133.pdf

A little different than I've heard before but interesting about RCA and Cunningham tubes. Neither company made tubes. GE and Westinghouse made the tubes. Some early tubes have three names on the same tube.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 2:10 am 
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The Cunningham-RCA agreements that settled the patent-infringement suit dated from 1920; you can read about them in Jerry Tyne's Saga of the Vacuum Tube, p.163.

Cunningham didn't have a leg to stand on, and should have been out of business in a flash, but somehow got RCA to agree to supply him with tubes at 20% below cost to anyone else, marked with his name and in boxes ready to sell. Tyne would only say in print that "Cunningham must have been in a unique bargaining position". He told me privately that he had heard that Elmer had some dirt on RCA officials and blackmailed them. Jerry couldn't confirm this independently so did not print it.

Bob Palmer, an old-time wireless man on the west coast who knew everyone including Cunningham, considered him lower than a snake in the grass. Of course he didn't have much use for a lot of other people too.

No proof, but Cunningham had to have had some sort of bargaining chip.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 2:15 am 
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Alan Douglas wrote:
No proof, but Cunningham had to have had some sort of bargaining chip.

Maybe some dirty pictures?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 2:18 am 
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Norm Leal wrote:
Number 40 tubes , gain of 30, were R/C coupled so no transformer was used. They have a high voltage gain but couldn't drive a speaker. Usually a 12A was driving the speaker.

Norm, yes you are correct. My Eveready 21 has five '40s and one '12A for the final audio. It plays and sounds good.

By the way, my Eveready 21 had about 6-7 glass-tubular resistors, including the grid leak. Some were used for voltage dividers, etc. All except one had drifted way high. I replaced the drifted ones with modern resistors. (I replaced none of the caps.) After replacing the resistors and rejuventatilng one weak '24, the set played like a champ.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 2:52 am 
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It has been well documented over the years, the relationship between RCA and Cunningham, and like Alan said, it is pretty clearly explained by Gerald Tyne. However, to this day, no one really knows what the bargaining chip that Elmer Cunningham had over David Sarnoff. It must have been something big, however.

I have found that the more you study the early days of radio, the more fascinating and complicated it gets. I can just imagine the fun times Alan Douglas had when he was doing research for writing his books! Every time I read more on it, another question is answered. To me, it was one of the, if not THE, most interesting period in the history of the entire world.
Curt

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 4:37 am 
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Sarnoff wasn't very high in the organization in 1920.

Research was fun, but I should have started twenty years before I did. Trouble was, I didn't know anything then. To interview someone properly (or correspond, which is mostly what I did) you have to know more about the subject than your correspondent does, to know what questions to ask.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 4:55 am 
Silent Key

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True, but still you did very good with your books! I don't think anybody could ever outdo what you did. Have a Happy Holiday season, as Christmas is about over for the year.
Curt

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 5:09 am 
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As to dcriner's comment about Eveready and Hazeltine, it would have been American Bosch thumbing their nose as there are at least 5 models of Eveready, 1,2,3 20,21 with identical chassis which in turn are identical to the American Bosch Model 28 down to the last detail. I had a model 2 Eveready and a friend had a Bosch 28 and the chassis were carbon :D copies. The circuit diagrams on Nostalgiaair are identical in layout, same print.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 5:20 pm 
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>>carbon copies

You'll pay for this :x

There were various neutralizing circuits and presumably Bosch used a different one from Hazeltine's.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 6:54 pm 
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Cunningham joined RCA and did well. He eventually became president of the Radiotron Division.

The Cunningham brand had a long life. It was still used after WWII.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 8:24 pm 
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jkaetzjr wrote:
As to dcriner's comment about Eveready and Hazeltine, it would have been American Bosch thumbing their nose as there are at least 5 models of Eveready, 1,2,3 20,21 with identical chassis which in turn are identical to the American Bosch Model 28 down to the last detail. I had a model 2 Eveready and a friend had a Bosch 28 and the chassis were carbon :D copies. The circuit diagrams on Nostalgiaair are identical in layout, same print.


Bosch , as you know, built the sets for the National Carbon Company.

With the coming of the AC tube, and the acquisition by Raytheon of an RCA license for vacuum tube production (Raytheon's production had previously been limited to the cold-cathode rectifiers which field they pioneered, along with Amrad), NCC entered an arrangement with Raytheon, whereby the new line of Raytheon tubes would be marketed under the Eveready Raytheon moniker.

From this time forward, both Eveready and American Bosch radio products were fitted at the factory with the Raytheon "4-pillar" tubes.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 10:37 pm 
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If you want to know about corruption at RCA, read Alan Douglas' chapter on Splitdorf in V. III of his books.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 26, 2008 10:47 pm 
Silent Key

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>>You'll pay for this :x

Alan, now and then you get one that can't be ignored!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sat 27, 2008 1:30 am 
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You must listen to The Little Drummer Boy ten times.

Oh, wait, if you've been Christmas shopping, you already have.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sat 27, 2008 3:06 am 
Silent Key

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Too late with the leniency. Already filed a 365 day appeal to delay sentencing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sun 28, 2008 7:59 am 
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From the New York Herald-Tribune, Sunday February 19, 1931 -- "E T. Cunningham Made Head of Radio Company -- Becomes President of RCA Radiotron, Inc."

"Appointment of Elmer T. Cunningham as president of RCA Radiotron Company, Inc., tube manufacturing subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America, was announced last week by David Sarnoff, chairman of the company's board of directors. At the same time it was announced that George K. Throckmorton, former general manager of the Cunnningham company, will be president of that company. T.W. French, former president of the Radiotron company, returns to his former duties with the General Electric Company in charge of their incandescent lamp department. He was reported to be on leave of absence from the latter company. The changes take effect immediastely it was announced."

A few days earlier -- April 15, 1931 -- Cunningham bought an ad in the H-T announcing "Lower Prices Effective Today on the following types of Cunningham Radio Tubes..." then listing twelve types ranging from the C324 (old price $3.30/new price $2.00) to the CX310 (old price $9.00/new price $7.00).

RCA followed up with a slightly smaller ad in the H-T on April 23, 1931 -- "RCA Radiotron tube prices lower than ever before..." lising only four types (224/227/245 and 280) but with prices identical to the Cunningham equivalents.

Incidentally, RCA at this time was embroiled in an anti-trust case brought by the federal government on May 13, 1930 in Wilmington, Del. District Court alleging the company was a radio monopoly under the Sherman Act, a latter eventually resolved through a consent decree.


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