{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/navcc.php' }

How Radio Works (or) The Wizardry of Wireless (1922)

I spent a good deal of early 2016 planning for the Orphan Film Symposium, reviewing proposals with my co-programmer Dan Streible. Since we already knew that the theme would be Sound, I also started spelunking our collection for films about sound in all its many aspects that could either be screened at Orphans, blogged about, or both. I found quite a few, and one I never got to use was a film made by General Electric in 1922 called The Wizardry of Wireless. It uses animation to succinctly explain the principles of radio broadcasting, which was at that time a rather new technology barely understood by the public.

Educational Screen (June 1924)

General Electric had long been interested in radio, conducting a lot of experiments in what was alternately known as “wireless telegraphy” in the early teens. In 1919, GE joined with American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), Westinghouse, and United Fruit to form the Radio Corporation of America, and in August 1922—the same year The Wizardry of Wireless was released—they launched radio station WGY in the company’s corporate hometown of Schenectady, New York. WGY is still broadcasting today and you’ll notice the film ends with a title card saying “WGY Signing Off.”

Like The Immortal Voice (1923), which used animation to explain how phonograph records were recorded, The Wizardry of Wireless was scored by Ben Model. Our copy was preserved from a 35mm nitrate master positive by the Packard Campus Film Laboratory in 2015.

 

 

 

The Wizardry of Wireless (General Electric, 1922)

10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016): Travel Lecture Films

The Packard Campus is excited to host to the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016; the theme is “Sound,” both with and without moving images. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program. You can register for Orphans X […]

10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016): Scoring Documentaries

The Packard Campus is excited to host to the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016; the theme is “Sound,” both with and without moving images. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program. You can register for Orphans X […]

10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016): Early Film Sound

The Packard Campus is excited to host to the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016; the theme is “Sound,” both with and without moving images. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program. You can register for Orphans X […]

10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016): Bill Morrison and the Paper Print Collection

The Packard Campus is excited to host to the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016; the theme is “Sound,” both with and without moving images. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program. You can register for Orphans X […]

10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016): Radio Preservation Task Force

The Packard Campus is excited to host to the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016; the theme is “Sound,” both with and without moving images. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program. You can register for Orphans X […]

The Packard Campus Welcomes the 10th Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016

In just a few weeks—April 6-9, 2016—the Packard Campus will host the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, an international gathering of (as the web site puts it) “archivists, scholars, curators, preservationists, technical experts, artists, and media-makers” to discuss and celebrate orphan films. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema […]