The Philadelphia Record

Sunday, March 19, 1922


Practical Demonstrations by Strawbridge & Clothier and Gimbel Brothers

The Governor's Greeting

Mayor Moore Also Sent Boom for City and Sesquicentennial Through the Air

What to most people is an yet an unknown and uncharted sea, but will not long remain so, was explored by Governor Sproul, Mayor Moore and other guests at radio-telephone demonstrations staged by two department stores yesterday. After the first demonstration the regular telephone wires brought messages of delight and wonder from Lansdowne, Bryn Mawr, Cynwyd and other points. "It is wonderful, the way we heard everything out here," was the normal salutation that greeted the store managers from these suburban homes.

At 10:30 am, the Strawbridge & Clothier service was inaugurated with an address by John F. Braun, president of the Art Alliance, followed by selections by May Ebrey Hotz, Clara Yocum Joyce and a male quartet from the Strawbridge & Clothier Chorus.

The afternoon demonstration was participated in by Governor Sproul, Mayor Moore and Mrs. H. S. Prentiss Nichols, member of the State Council of Education. In a secluded part of the store, the party took seats and waited for their turn, while watching the mechanicians get the mysterious apparatus into a receptive mood. Herbert J. Tily, the general manager of the store, called into the rainbow forn of the receiver, giving the Strawbridge & Clothier broadcasting signal, WFI. At the conclusion of the demonstration be again called, WFI, Strawbridge, signing off until 3:16." That meant the demonstration was to stop for a while, but to resume at 3:16 pm, and the whole world, if it chose to listen in, and knew how, could take note of the fact.

The Governor's Talk

Governor Sproul felt impressed by the importance of the event. Talking into the large horn, he said: Mr. Clothier, and all to whom the words may come: It is really in the spirit of reverence that I approach this task of talking through this wonderful device of man. Things have happened very quickly in invention during our lifetime, but it seems to me that this is almost uncanny, because it is so extraordinary.

"I have had an opportunity once before of having my voice sent broadcast in this way, but that was between two ships at sea. I really knew little about what had been accomplished in this direction until not long ago, I received a letter from a gentleman in a small town in Indiana in which he said: 'It may surprise you to know that last night, seated in my own parlor in this little country town, I heard you distinctly welcome Marshall Foch in Pittsburgh, 415 miles away.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

"It is often a great inspiration to have the audience before you and to be able to watch their faces and to know what impression your remarks may make upon them. In this case, talking into a horn, the inspiration of their faces is not present. But the inspiration of the greatness of the event is present. And one cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and of awe in what has been accomplished for us all.

"Surely God does move in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform, and in his wisdom. He has given men the opportunity of doing the things which only a few years ago would have seemed miraculous and supernatural. I am happy to have this opportunity of addressing all who may hear my words. And I feel that we are really on the threshold of an era of extraordinary events in science, as well as in the progressive activities of mankind."

Mayor Moore followed with a talk on Philadelphia, along similar lines as in his address at the Gimbel Brothers' demonstration, at which he was present in the forenoon.

Talks for Women

Women were represented by Mrs. H. S. Prentiss Nichols, who said she had been particularly impressed by the reverent attitude of the Governor. "To be asked to share in this wonderful occasion, to represent the women of Philadelphia, is a distinction and honor I deeply appreciate," said Mrs. Nichols. "This eminent firm of Strawbridge & Clothier, that for three generations has employed women and served women, has always stood for the best ideals in civics and in business."

The speak paid tribute to Governor Sproul for having brought the public school system up to a higher plane, and also to Mayor Moore, urging all citizens to stand by the Mayor and support him in his public-spirited efforts to improve the city.

Gimbel Brothers' Demonstration

Gimbel Brothers gave a demonstration that was equally impressive. At this store the Mayor made the first use of a radio telephone in "talking Philadelphia" and particularly in telling why Philadelphia was the only logical place for the celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In a small glass-encased room with the Mayor were Charles Gimbel, Ellis A. Gimbel,Jr., and Benedict Gimbel, Jr.

"We are doing big things here in Philadelphia," said the Mayor: "things that should be better understood and known. First comes the Sesquicentennial Eposition to be held in 1926. It will mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence." .

Growth Since Centennial

Describing the nature of the event and emphasizing its significance, the Mayor went on with reminiscences about General Grant, George W. Childs, and Dom Pedro, emperor of Brazil, all of which had to do with Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition in 1876. He compared the population of 2,000,000 with that of Philadelphia in those days, and said: "Today the House of Gimbel, by opening this wireless telephone, has given us another Philadelphia First."

In the excitement attendant upon the demonstration little or nothing was said about the actual service these stores are now offering to the public. With a small initial outlay it is possible to get a radio outfit, and the sale of such has already begun in great proportions.

From the official archives of the Philadelphia Press Association
Article courtesy of The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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