Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960


Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 book. Happy reading Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Pocket Guide.
Michael A. Krysko

Now long out of print, John Dunning's Tune in Yesterday was the definitive one-volume reference on old-time radio broadcasting. Now, in On the Air , Dunning has completely rethought this classic work, reorganizing the material and doubling its coverage, to provide a richer and more informative account of radio's golden age. Swingin' on the ether waves : a chronological history of African Americans in radio and television programming, by Henry T. A multi-volume history of African-Americans in early radio and television.

World radio tv handbook. The Handbook is divided into 3 parts: a Features section with equipment reviews, broadcasting predictions and radio related articles; a Directory of all the radio stations in the world; and a Reference section which has information on general broadcasting. Selection is made by the Peabody Board following review by special screening committees of faculty, students and staff. The George Foster Peabody Awards were first awarded in for radio programs broadcast in The awards recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious service by radio and television networks, stations, producing organizations, cable television organizations and individuals.

The supply of gasoline increased more than the supply of crude petroleum. In a chemist at Standard Oil of Indiana introduced the cracking process to refine crude petroleum; until that time it had been refined by distillation or unpressurized heating. In the heating process, various refined products such as kerosene, gasoline, naphtha, and lubricating oils were produced at different temperatures.

It was difficult to vary the amount of the different refined products produced from a barrel of crude. The cracking process used pressurized heating to break heavier components down into lighter crude derivatives; with cracking, it was possible to increase the amount of gasoline obtained from a barrel of crude from 15 to 45 percent.

In the early twenties, chemists at Standard Oil of New Jersey improved the cracking process, and by it was possible to obtain twice as much gasoline from a barrel of crude petroleum as in The petroleum companies also developed new ways to distribute gasoline to motorists that made it more convenient to purchase gasoline. Prior to the First World War, gasoline was commonly purchased in one- or five-gallon cans and the purchaser used a funnel to pour the gasoline from the can into the car. These spread rapidly, and by gasoline companies were beginning to introduce their own filling stations or contract with independent stations to exclusively distribute their gasoline.

Increasing competition and falling profits led filling station operators to expand into other activities such as oil changes and other mechanical repairs. Though the petroleum firms tended to be large, they were highly competitive, trying to pump as much petroleum as possible to increase their share of the fields. This, combined with the development of new fields, led to an industry with highly volatile prices and output. Firms desperately wanted to stabilize and reduce the production of crude petroleum so as to stabilize and raise the prices of crude petroleum and refined products.

Unable to obtain voluntary agreement on output limitations by the firms and producers, governments began stepping in. Led by Texas, which created the Texas Railroad Commission in , oil-producing states began to intervene to regulate production. The purpose was as much to stabilize and reduce production and raise prices as anything else, although generally such laws were passed under the guise of conservation. Although the federal government supported such attempts, not until the New Deal were federal laws passed to assist this.

By the mid s the debate over the method by which electricity was to be transmitted had been won by those who advocated alternating current. The reduced power losses and greater distance over which electricity could be transmitted more than offset the necessity for transforming the current back to direct current for general use. Widespread adoption of machines and appliances by industry and consumers then rested on an increase in the array of products using electricity as the source of power, heat, or light and the development of an efficient, lower cost method of generating electricity.

General Electric, Westinghouse, and other firms began producing the electrical appliances for homes and an increasing number of machines based on electricity began to appear in industry. The problem of lower cost production was solved by the introduction of centralized generating facilities that distributed the electric power through lines to many consumers and business firms. Though initially several firms competed in generating and selling electricity to consumers and firms in a city or area, by the First World War many states and communities were awarding exclusive franchises to one firm to generate and distribute electricity to the customers in the franchise area.

Bright, ; Passer, The electric utility industry became an important growth industry and, as Figure 15 shows, electricity production and use grew rapidly. Generally these court decisions favored the reproduction cost basis. Because of the difficulty and cost in making these calculations, rates tended to be in the hands of the electric utilities that, it has been suggested, did not lower rates adequately to reflect the rising productivity and lowered costs of production.

The utilities argued that a more rapid lowering of rates would have jeopardized their profits. Whether or not this increased their monopoly power is still an open question, but it should be noted, that electric utilities were hardly price-taking industries prior to regulation. Mercer, In fact, as Figure 16 shows, the electric utilities began to systematically practice market segmentation charging users with less elastic demands, higher prices per kilowatt-hour.

The changes in the energy industries had far-reaching consequences. The coal industry faced a continuing decline in demand. Even in the growing petroleum industry, the periodic surges in the supply of petroleum caused great instability. In manufacturing, as described above, electrification contributed to a remarkable rise in productivity. The transportation revolution brought about by the rise of gasoline-powered trucks and cars changed the way businesses received their supplies and distributed their production as well as where they were located.

The suburbanization of America and the beginnings of urban sprawl were largely brought about by the introduction of low-priced gasoline for cars. The American economy was forever altered by the dramatic changes in transportation after The advent of low-cost personal transportation led to an accelerating movement of population out of the crowded cities to more spacious homes in the suburbs and the automobile set off a decline in intracity public passenger transportation that has yet to end.

Massive road-building programs facilitated the intercity movement of people and goods. Trucks increasingly took over the movement of freight in competition with the railroads. New industries, such as gasoline service stations, motor hotels, and the rubber tire industry, arose to service the automobile and truck traffic. With the end of the First World War, a debate began as to whether the railroads, which had been taken over by the government, should be returned to private ownership or nationalized.

The voices calling for a return to private ownership were much stronger, but doing so fomented great controversy. Many in Congress believed that careful planning and consolidation could restore the railroads and make them more efficient. The ICC was allowed to prescribe exact rates that were to be set so as to allow the railroads to earn a fair return, defined as 5.

To maintain fair competition between railroads in a region, all roads were to have the same rates for the same goods over the same distance. With the same rates, low-cost roads should have been able to earn higher rates of return than high-cost roads. To handle this, a recapture clause was inserted: any railroad earning a return of more than 6 percent on the fair value of its property was to turn the excess over to the ICC, which would place half of the money in a contingency fund for the railroad when it encountered financial problems and the other half in a contingency fund to provide loans to other railroads in need of assistance.

In order to address the problem of weak and strong railroads and to bring better coordination to the movement of rail traffic in the United States, the act was directed to encourage railroad consolidation, but little came of this in the s. In order to facilitate its control of the railroads, the ICC was given two additional powers. The first was the control over the issuance or purchase of securities by railroads, and the second was the power to control changes in railroad service through the control of car supply and the extension and abandonment of track.

The control of the supply of rail cars was turned over to the Association of American Railroads. Few extensions of track were proposed, but as time passed, abandonment requests grew. The ICC, however, trying to mediate between the conflicting demands of shippers, communities and railroads, generally refused to grant abandonments, and this became an extremely sensitive issue in the s. As indicated above, the premises of the Transportation Act of were wrong. Railroads experienced increasing competition during the s, and both freight and passenger traffic were drawn off to competing transport forms.

Passenger traffic exited from the railroads much more quickly. As the network of all weather surfaced roads increased, people quickly turned from the train to the car. Harmed even more by the move to automobile traffic were the electric interurban railways that had grown rapidly just prior to the First World War. Hilton-Due, Not surprisingly, during the s few railroads earned profits in excess of the fair rate of return.

The use of trucks to deliver freight began shortly after the turn of the century. Before the outbreak of war in Europe, White and Mack were producing trucks with as much as 7. Most of the truck freight was carried on a local basis, and it largely supplemented the longer distance freight transportation provided by the railroads. However, truck size was growing. In Trailmobile introduced the first four-wheel trailer designed to be pulled by a truck tractor unit.

During the First World War, thousands of trucks were constructed for military purposes, and truck convoys showed that long distance truck travel was feasible and economical. The use of trucks to haul freight had been growing by over 18 percent per year since , so that by intercity trucking accounted for more than one percent of the ton-miles of freight hauled. As early as , the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners issued a call for the regulation of motor carriers in general. In the ICC called for federal regulation of buses and in extended this call to federal regulation of trucks.

Most states had began regulating buses at the beginning of the s in an attempt to reduce the diversion of urban passenger traffic from the electric trolley and railway systems. However, most of the regulation did not aim to control intercity passenger traffic by buses.

As the network of surfaced roads expanded during the twenties, so did the routes of the intercity buses. In a number of smaller bus companies were incorporated in the Greyhound Buslines, the carrier that has since dominated intercity bus transportation. Walsh, A complaint of the railroads was that interstate trucking competition was unfair because it was subsidized while railroads were not.

All railroad property was privately owned and subject to property taxes, whereas truckers used the existing road system and therefore neither had to bear the costs of creating the road system nor pay taxes upon it. Beginning with the Federal Road-Aid Act of , small amounts of money were provided as an incentive for states to construct rural post roads.

Dearing-Owen, However, through the First World War most of the funds for highway construction came from a combination of levies on the adjacent property owners and county and state taxes. The monies raised by the counties were commonly 60 percent of the total funds allocated, and these primarily came from property taxes. In Oregon pioneered the state gasoline tax, which then began to be adopted by more and more states.

A highway system financed by property taxes and other levies can be construed as a subsidization of motor vehicles, and one study for the period up to found evidence of substantial subsidization of trucking. Herbst-Wu, However, the use of gasoline taxes moved closer to the goal of users paying the costs of the highways. Neither did the trucks have to pay for all of the highway construction because automobiles jointly used the highways.

Highways had to be constructed in more costly ways in order to accommodate the larger and heavier trucks. Ideally the gasoline taxes collected from trucks should have covered the extra or marginal costs of highway construction incurred because of the truck traffic. Gasoline taxes tended to do this.

The American economy occupies a vast geographic region. Because economic activity occurs over most of the country, falling transportation costs have been crucial to knitting American firms and consumers into a unified market. Throughout the nineteenth century the railroads played this crucial role. Because of the size of the railroad companies and their importance in the economic life of Americans, the federal government began to regulate them. But, by it appeared that the railroad system had achieved some stability, and it was generally assumed that the post-First World War era would be an extension of the era from to Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Communications had joined with transportation developments in the nineteenth century to tie the American economy together more completely. As the cost of communications fell and information transfers sped, the development of firms with multiple plants at distant locations was facilitated. The interwar era saw a continuation of these developments as the telephone continued to supplant the telegraph and the new medium of radio arose to transmit news and provide a new entertainment source. Telegraph domination of business and personal communications had given way to the telephone as long distance telephone calls between the east and west coasts with the new electronic amplifiers became possible in The number of telegraph messages handled grew The number of local telephone conversations grew There were 5 times as many long distance telephone calls as telegraph messages handled in , and 5.

Brooks, ; Temin, ; Garnet, ; Lipartito, Telephone usage rose and, as Figure 19 shows, the share of all households with a telephone rose from 35 percent to nearly 42 percent. By , the non-Bell operating companies were all small relative to the Bell operating companies. Surprisingly there was a decline in telephone use on the farms during the twenties. Hadwiger-Cochran, ; Fischer Rising telephone rates explain part of the decline in rural use. The imposition of connection fees during the First World War made it more costly for new farmers to hook up.

However, it also seems likely that during the s there was a general decline in the rural demand for telephone services. One important factor in this was the dramatic decline in farm incomes in the early twenties. Prior to the First World War, the telephone eased farm isolation and provided news and weather information that was otherwise hard to obtain. After automobiles, surfaced roads, movies, and the radio loosened the isolation and the telephone was no longer as crucial. This machine, which quickly created a line of soft, lead-based metal type that could be printed, melted down and then recast as a new line of type, dramatically lowered the costs of printing.

Previously, all type had to be painstakingly set by hand, with individual cast letter matrices picked out from compartments in drawers to construct words, lines, and paragraphs. After printing, each line of type on the page had to be broken down and each individual letter matrix placed back into its compartment in its drawer for use in the next printing job. Newspapers often were not published every day and did not contain many pages, resulting in many newspapers in most cities. In contrast to this laborious process, the linotype used a keyboard upon which the operator typed the words in one of the lines in a news column.

Matrices for each letter dropped down from a magazine of matrices as the operator typed each letter and were assembled into a line of type with automatic spacers to justify the line fill out the column width. When the line was completed the machine mechanically cast the line of matrices into a line of lead type. The line of lead type was ejected into a tray and the letter matrices mechanically returned to the magazine while the operator continued typing the next line in the news story.

The first Merganthaler linotype machine was installed in the New York Tribune in The linotype machine dramatically lowered the costs of printing newspapers as well as books and magazines. Prior to the linotype a typical newspaper averaged no more than 11 pages and many were published only a few times a week. The linotype machine allowed newspapers to grow in size and they began to be published more regularly.

A process of consolidation of daily and Sunday newspapers began that continues to this day. Many have termed the Merganthaler linotype machine the most significant printing invention since the introduction of movable type years earlier. For city families as well as farm families, radio became the new source of news and entertainment. Barnouw, ; Rosen, and ; Chester-Garrison, It soon took over as the prime advertising medium and in the process revolutionized advertising. By more homes had radio sets than had telephones.

The radio networks sent news and entertainment broadcasts all over the country. The radio began a process of breaking down regionalism and creating a common culture in the United States. Because the Department of Commerce could not deny a license application there was an explosion of stations all broadcasting at the same frequency and signal jamming and interference became a serious problem. By the Department of Commerce had gained control of radio from the Post Office and the Navy and began to arbitrarily disperse stations on the radio dial and deny licenses creating the first market in commercial broadcast licenses.

In a U. District Court decided that under the Radio Law of Herbert Hoover, the secretary of commerce, did not have this power. New stations appeared and the logjam and interference of signals worsened. Licenses were to be issued in the public interest, convenience, and necessity. A number of broadcasting licenses were revoked; stations were assigned frequencies, dial locations, and power levels. The FRC created 24 clear-channel stations with as much as 50, watts of broadcasting power, of which 21 ended up being affiliated with the new national radio networks.

The Communications Act of essentially repeated the act except that it created a permanent, seven-person Federal Communications Commission FCC. Local stations initially created and broadcast the radio programs. The expenses were modest, and stores and companies operating radio stations wrote this off as indirect, goodwill advertising.

Several forces changed all this. Though advertising continued to be condemned, the fiscal pressures on radio stations to accept advertising began rising. By the end of , most stations were paying the fees. All of this drained the coffers of the radio stations, and more and more of them began discreetly accepting advertising. Radio networks allowed advertisers to direct advertising at a national audience at a lower cost. Network programs allowed local stations to broadcast superior programs that captured a larger listening audience and in return received a share of the fees the national advertiser paid to the network.

In a new network, the Columbia Broadcasting System CBS financed by the Paley family began operation and other new networks entered or tried to enter the industry in the s. Communications developments in the interwar era present something of a mixed picture. By long distance telephone service was in place, but rising rates slowed the rate of adoption in the period, and telephone use in rural areas declined sharply.

Though direct dialing was first tried in the twenties, its general implementation would not come until the postwar era, when other changes, such as microwave transmission of signals and touch-tone dialing, would also appear. Though the number of newspapers declined, newspaper circulation generally held up.

The number of competing newspapers in larger cities began declining, a trend that also would accelerate in the postwar American economy. These changes were a response to growing competition from other financial intermediaries. This reduced loan demand. The thrift institutions also experienced good growth in the twenties as they helped fuel the housing construction boom of the decade.

The securities markets boomed in the twenties only to see a dramatic crash of the stock market in late There were two broad classes of commercial banks; those that were nationally chartered and those that were chartered by the states. Only the national banks were required to be members of the Federal Reserve System. Figure 21 Most banks were unit banks because national regulators and most state regulators prohibited branching. However, in the twenties a few states began to permit limited branching; California even allowed statewide branching.

Thomas Johnson makes a strong argument against this. Figure 22 — If there were overbanking, on average each bank would have been underutilized resulting in intense competition for deposits and higher costs and lower earnings. One common reason would have been the free entry of banks as long as they achieved the minimum requirements then in force.

However, the twenties saw changes that led to the demise of many smaller rural banks that would likely have been profitable if these — changes had not occurred. Improved transportation led to a movement of business activities, including banking, into the larger towns and cities. Rural banks that relied on loans to farmers suffered just as farmers did during the twenties, especially in the first half of the twenties.

The number of bank suspensions and the suspension rate fell after The sharp rise in bank suspensions in occurred because of the first banking crisis during the Great Depression. Prior to the twenties, the main assets of commercial banks were short-term business loans, made by creating a demand deposit or increasing an existing one for a borrowing firm. As business lending declined in the s commercial banks vigorously moved into new types of financial activities. As banks purchased more securities for their earning asset portfolios and gained expertise in the securities markets, larger ones established investment departments and by the late twenties were an important force in the underwriting of new securities issued by nonfinancial corporations.

The securities market exhibited perhaps the most dramatic growth of the noncommercial bank financial intermediaries during the twenties, but others also grew rapidly. Figure 23 The assets of life insurance companies increased by 10 percent a year from to ; by the late twenties they were a very important source of funds for construction investment.

Mutual savings banks and savings and loan associations thrifts operated in essentially the same types of markets. The Mutual savings banks were concentrated in the northeastern United States. But the dramatic expansion in the financial sector came in new corporate securities issues in the twenties—especially common and preferred stock—and in the trading of existing shares of those securities. Figure 24 The late twenties boom in the American economy was rapid, highly visible, and dramatic. Skyscrapers were being erected in most major cities, the automobile manufacturers produced over four and a half million new cars in ; and the stock market, like a barometer of this prosperity, was on a dizzying ride to higher and higher prices.

The Dow-Jones index hit its peak of on September 3 and then slid to on October At the end of Tuesday, October, 29th, the index stood at , 96 points less than one week before.

Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960

On November 13, , the Dow-Jones index reached its lowest point for the year at — points less than the September 3 peak. The path of the stock market boom of the twenties can be seen in Figure Sharp price breaks occurred several times during the boom, and each of these gave rise to dark predictions of the end of the bull market and speculation. Until late October of , these predictions turned out to be wrong.

Between those price breaks and prior to the October crash, stock prices continued to surge upward. In March of , 3,, shares were traded in one day, establishing a record. By late , five million shares being traded in a day was a common occurrence. New securities, from rising merger activity and the formation of holding companies, were issued to take advantage of the rising stock prices. In stock pools a group of speculators would pool large amounts of their funds and then begin purchasing large amounts of shares of a stock.

This increased demand led to rising prices for that stock. Outsiders, seeing the price rising, would decide to purchase the stock whose price was rising. At a predetermined higher price the pool members would, within a short period, sell their shares and pull out of the market for that stock. Another factor commonly used to explain both the speculative boom and the October crash was the purchase of stocks on small margins. However, contrary to popular perception, margin requirements through most of the twenties were essentially the same as in previous decades. Brokers, recognizing the problems with margin lending in the rapidly changing market, began raising margin requirements in late , and by the fall of , margin requirements were the highest in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.

Navigation menu

In the s, as was the case for decades prior to that, the usual margin requirements were 10 to 15 percent of the purchase price, and, apparently, more often around 10 percent. There were increases in this percentage by and by the fall of , well before the crash and at the urging of a special New York Clearinghouse committee, margin requirements had been raised to some of the highest levels in New York Stock Exchange history.

One brokerage house required the following of its clients. These were, historically, very high margin requirements. The crash began on Monday, October 21, as the index of stock prices fell 3 points on the third-largest volume in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. After a slight rally on Tuesday, prices began declining on Wednesday and fell 21 points by the end of the day bringing on the third call for more margin in that week.

On Black Thursday, October 24, prices initially fell sharply, but rallied somewhat in the afternoon so that the net loss was only 7 points, but the volume of thirteen million shares set a NYSE record. Friday brought a small gain that was wiped out on Saturday. On Monday, October 28, the Dow Jones index fell 38 points on a volume of nine million shares—three million in the final hour of trading. Black Tuesday, October 29, brought declines in virtually every stock price.

Manufacturing firms, which had been lending large sums to brokers for margin loans, had been calling in these loans and this accelerated on Monday and Tuesday. The big Wall Street banks increased their lending on call loans to offset some of this loss of loanable funds. The Dow Jones Index fell 30 points on a record volume of nearly sixteen and a half million shares exchanged. Black Thursday and Black Tuesday wiped out entire fortunes.

Though the worst was over, prices continued to decline until November 13, , as brokers cleaned up their accounts and sold off the stocks of clients who could not supply additional margin. From that point, stock prices resumed their depressing decline until the low point was reached in the summer of In Irving Fisher argued that the stock prices of and were based on fundamental expectations that future corporate earnings would be high. The market broke each time news arrived of advances in congressional consideration of the Hawley-Smoot tariff.

However, examination of after-the-fact common stock yields and price-earning ratios can do no more than provide some ex post justification for suggesting that there was not excessive speculation during the Great Bull Market. Because of this element of subjectivity, not only can we never accurately know those values, but also we can never know how they varied among individuals. The market price we observe will be the end result of all of the actions of the market participants, and the observed price may be different from the price almost all of the participants expected. In fact, there are some indications that there were differences in and Yields on common stocks were somewhat lower in and In October of , brokers generally began raising margin requirements, and by the beginning of the fall of , margin requirements were, on average, the highest in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.

These facts suggest that brokers and New York City bankers may have come to believe that stock prices had been bid above a sustainable level by late and early White created a quarterly index of dividends for firms in the Dow-Jones index and related this to the DJI. Through the two track closely, but in and the index of stock prices grows much more rapidly than the index of dividends. The qualitative evidence for a bubble in the stock market in and that White assembled was strengthened by the findings of J. Bradford De Long and Andre Shleifer They examined closed-end mutual funds, a type of fund where investors wishing to liquidate must sell their shares to other individual investors allowing its fundamental value to be exactly measurable.

Rappoport and White and found other evidence that supported a bubble in the stock market in and There are several reasons for the creation of such a bubble. First, the fundamental values of earnings and dividends become difficult to assess when there are major industrial changes, such as the rapid changes in the automobile industry, the new electric utilities, and the new radio industry. Second, participation in the stock market widened noticeably in the twenties. The new investors were relatively unsophisticated, and they were more likely to be caught up in the euphoria of the boom and bid prices upward.

These observations were strengthened by the experimental work of economist Vernon Smith. Bishop, In a number of experiments over a three-year period using students and Tucson businessmen and businesswomen, bubbles developed as inexperienced investors valued stocks differently and engaged in price speculation. As these investors in the experiments began to realize that speculative profits were unsustainable and uncertain, their dividend expectations changed, the market crashed, and ultimately stocks began trading at their fundamental dividend values.

These bubbles and crashes occurred repeatedly, leading Smith to conjecture that there are few regulatory steps that can be taken to prevent a crash. Though the bubble of and made some downward adjustment in stock prices inevitable, as Barsky and De Long have shown, changes in fundamentals govern the overall movements. And the end of the long bull market was almost certainly governed by this. In late and early there was a striking rise in economic activity, but a decline began somewhere between May and July of that year and was clearly evident by August of By the middle of August, the rise in stock prices had slowed down as better information on the contraction was received.

As this information was assessed, the number of speculators selling stocks increased, and the number buying decreased. With the decreased demand, stock prices began to fall, and as more accurate information on the nature and extent of the decline was received, stock prices fell more. The late October crash made the decline occur much more rapidly, and the margin purchases and consequent forced selling of many of those stocks contributed to a more severe price fall. The recovery of stock prices from November 13 into April of suggests that stock prices may have been driven somewhat too low during the crash.

There is now widespread agreement that the stock market crash did not cause the Great Depression. Instead, the initial downturn in economic activity was a primary determinant of the ending of the stock market bubble. The stock market crash did make the downturn become more severe beginning in November It reduced discretionary consumption spending Romer, and created greater income uncertainty helping to bring on the contraction Flacco and Parker, Though stock market prices reached a bottom and began to recover following November 13, , the continuing decline in economic activity took its toll and by May stock prices resumed their decline and continued to fall through the summer of In the nineteenth century, a complex array of wholesalers, jobbers, and retailers had developed, but changes in the postbellum period reduced the role of the wholesalers and jobbers and strengthened the importance of the retailers in domestic trade.

Cochran, ; Chandler, ; Marburg, ; Clewett, The appearance of the department store in the major cities and the rise of mail order firms in the postbellum period changed the retailing market. A department store is a combination of specialty stores organized as departments within one general store. Resseguie, ; Sobel-Sicilia, R. By the end of the nineteenth century, every city of any size had at least one major department store.

Appel, ; Benson, ; Hendrickson, ; Hower, ; Sobel, Until the late twenties, the department store field was dominated by independent stores, though some department stores in the largest cities had opened a few suburban branches and stores in other cities. In the interwar period department stores accounted for about 8 percent of retail sales. In the antebellum period and into the postbellum period, it was common not to post a specific price on an item; rather, each purchaser haggled with a sales clerk over what the price would be.

Stewart posted fixed prices on the various dry goods sold, and the customer could either decide to buy or not buy at the fixed price. The policy dramatically lowered transactions costs for both the retailer and the purchaser. What changed the department store field in the twenties was the entrance of Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, the two dominant mail order firms in the United States.

Emmet-Jeuck, ; Chandler, , Both firms had begun in the late nineteenth century and by the younger Sears Roebuck had surpassed Montgomery Ward. In Sears hired Robert C. Wood, who was able to convince Sears Roebuck to open retail stores. Wood believed that the declining rural population and the growing urban population forecast the gradual demise of the mail order business; survival of the mail order firms required a move into retail sales.

By Sears Roebuck had opened 8 retail stores, and by it had stores. Montgomery Ward quickly followed suit.

Radio in the United States

Rather than locating these in the central business district CBD , Wood located many on major streets closer to the residential areas. These moves of Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward expanded department store retailing and provided a new type of chain store. Though chain stores grew rapidly in the first two decades of the twentieth century, they date back to the s when George F. They then phased out the small stores to reduce the chain to 4, full-range, supermarket-type stores. As a result, retail prices were generally marked up well above the wholesale prices.

In cash-and-carry stores, items were sold only for cash; no credit was extended, and no expensive home deliveries were provided. Markups on prices could be much lower because other costs were much lower. Consumers liked the lower prices and were willing to pay cash and carry their groceries, and the policy became common by the twenties. Chains also developed in other retail product lines. In Frank W. Woolworth stores by the mids. In Clarence Saunders, a grocer in Memphis, Tennessee, built upon the one-price policy and began offering self-service at his Piggly Wiggly store.

Previously, customers handed a clerk a list or asked for the items desired, which the clerk then collected and the customer paid for. With self-service, items for sale were placed on open shelves among which the customers could walk, carrying a shopping bag or pushing a shopping cart. Each customer could then browse as he or she pleased, picking out whatever was desired.

Saunders and other retailers who adopted the self-service method of retail selling found that customers often purchased more because of exposure to the array of products on the shelves; as well, self-service lowered the labor required for retail sales and therefore lowered costs. Shopping Centers, another innovation in retailing that began in the twenties, was not destined to become a major force in retail development until after the Second World War. The ultimate cause of this innovation was the widening ownership and use of the automobile. By the s, as the ownership and use of the car began expanding, population began to move out of the crowded central cities toward the more open suburbs.

When General Robert Wood set Sears off on its development of urban stores, he located these not in the central business district, CBD, but as free-standing stores on major arteries away from the CBD with sufficient space for parking. In many ways the adoption of the tractor in the interwar period symbolizes the technological changes that occurred in the agricultural sector.

The adoption of the tractor was land saving by releasing acreage previously used to produce crops for workstock and labor saving. At the same time it increased the risks of farming because farmers were now much more exposed to the marketplace. They could not produce their own fuel for tractors as they had for the workstock. Rather, this had to be purchased from other suppliers.

Repair and replacement parts also had to be purchased, and sometimes the repairs had to be undertaken by specialized mechanics. The purchase of a tractor also commonly required the purchase of new complementary machines; therefore, the decision to purchase a tractor was not an isolated one. These changes resulted in more and more farmers purchasing and using tractors, but the rate of adoption varied sharply across the United States. Technological innovations in plants and animals also raised productivity.

Hybrid seed corn increased yields from an average of 40 bushels per acre to to bushels per acre. New varieties of wheat were developed from the hardy Russian and Turkish wheat varieties which had been imported. The U. For example, in the Columbia River Basin new varieties raised yields from an average of Shepherd, New hog breeds produced more meat and new methods of swine sanitation sharply increased the survival rate of piglets.

An effective serum for hog cholera was developed, and the federal government led the way in the testing and eradication of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis. Prior to the Second World War, a number of pesticides to control animal disease were developed, including cattle dips and disinfectants.

The cattle tick, which carried Texas Fever, was largely controlled through inspections. Schlebecker, ; Bogue, ; Wood, The problems that arose in the agricultural sector during the twenties once again led to insistent demands by farmers for government to alleviate their distress. Though there were increasing calls for direct federal government intervention to limit production and raise farm prices, this was not used until Roosevelt took office.

In Congress passed the Capper-Volstead Act to promote agricultural cooperatives and the Fordney-McCumber Tariff to impose high duties on most agricultural imports. Hoffman and Liebcap, The revenues were to come from taxes imposed on farmers. This act committed the federal government to a policy of stabilizing farm prices through several nongovernment institutions but these failed during the depression.

Federal intervention in the agricultural sector really came of age during the New Deal era of the s. Agriculture was not the only sector experiencing difficulties in the twenties. Other industries, such as textiles, boots and shoes, and coal mining, also experienced trying times. However, at the same time that these industries were declining, other industries, such as electrical appliances, automobiles, and construction, were growing rapidly.

The simultaneous existence of growing and declining industries has been common to all eras because economic growth and technological progress never affect all sectors in the same way. In general, in manufacturing there was a rapid rate of growth of productivity during the twenties. The rise of real wages due to immigration restrictions and the slower growth of the resident population spurred this.

Transportation improvements and communications advances were also responsible. These developments brought about differential growth in the various manufacturing sectors in the United States in the s. Because of the historic pattern of economic development in the United States, the northeast was the first area to really develop a manufacturing base. By the mid-nineteenth century the East North Central region was creating a manufacturing base and the other regions began to create manufacturing bases in the last half of the nineteenth century resulting in a relative westward and southern shift of manufacturing activity.

There was considerable variation in the growth of the industries and shifts in their ranking during the decade. The largest broadly defined industries were, not surprisingly, food and kindred products; textile mill products; those producing and fabricating primary metals; machinery production; and chemicals. When industries are more narrowly defined, the automobile industry, which ranked third in manufacturing value added in , ranked first by the mids.

Gavin Wright has argued that one of the underappreciated characteristics of American industrial history has been its reliance on mineral resources. Wright argues that the growing American strength in industrial exports and industrialization in general relied on an increasing intensity in nonreproducible natural resources.

The large American market was knit together as one large market without internal barriers through the development of widespread low-cost transportation. As a result the United States became the dominant industrial force in the world s and s. In addition to this growing intensity in the use of nonreproducible natural resources as a source of productivity gains in American manufacturing, other technological changes during the twenties and thirties tended to raise the productivity of the existing capital through the replacement of critical types of capital equipment with superior equipment and through changes in management methods.

Soule, ; Lorant, ; Devine, ; Oshima, Some changes, such as the standardization of parts and processes and the reduction of the number of styles and designs, raised the productivity of both capital and labor.

Reference Books

Modern management techniques, first introduced by Frederick W. Taylor, were introduced on a wider scale. One of the important forces contributing to mass production and increased productivity was the transfer to electric power. Devine, By about 70 percent of manufacturing activity relied on electricity, compared to roughly 30 percent in Steam provided 80 percent of the mechanical drive capacity in manufacturing in , but electricity provided over 50 percent by and 78 percent by An increasing number of factories were buying their power from electric utilities. In , 64 percent of the electric motor capacity in manufacturing establishments used electricity generated on the factory site; by , 57 percent of the electricity used in manufacturing was purchased from independent electric utilities.

The shift from coal to oil and natural gas and from raw unprocessed energy in the forms of coal and waterpower to processed energy in the form of internal combustion fuel and electricity increased thermal efficiency. After the First World War energy consumption relative to GNP fell, there was a sharp increase in the growth rate of output per labor-hour, and the output per unit of capital input once again began rising. These trends can be seen in the data in Table 3. Labor productivity grew much more rapidly during the s than in the previous or following decade.

Capital productivity had declined in the decade previous to the s while it also increased sharply during the twenties and continued to rise in the following decade. Alexander Field has argued that the s were the most technologically progressive decade of the twentieth century basing his argument on the growth of multi-factor productivity as well as the impressive array of technological developments during the thirties.

However, the twenties also saw impressive increases in labor and capital productivity as, particularly, developments in energy and transportation accelerated. Warren Devine, Jr. Electricity brought about an increased flow of production by allowing new flexibility in the design of buildings and the arrangement of machines. In this way it maximized throughput. Electricity made possible the use of portable power tools that could be taken anywhere in the factory. Electricity brought about improved illumination, ventilation, and cleanliness in the plants, dramatically improving working conditions.

It improved the control of machines since there was no longer belt slippage with overhead line shafts and belt transmission, and there were less limitations on the operating speeds of machines. Finally, it made plant expansion much easier than when overhead shafts and belts had been relied upon for operating power. The mechanization of American manufacturing accelerated in the s, and this led to a much more rapid growth of productivity in manufacturing compared to earlier decades and to other sectors at that time.

There were several forces that promoted mechanization. One was the rapidly expanding aggregate demand during the prosperous twenties. Another was the technological developments in new machines and processes, of which electrification played an important part. Finally, Harry Jerome and, later, Harry Oshima both suggest that the price of unskilled labor began to rise as immigration sharply declined with new immigration laws and falling population growth.

Technological changes during this period can be documented for a number of individual industries. In bituminous coal mining, labor productivity rose when mechanical loading devices reduced the labor required from 24 to 50 percent. The burst of paved road construction in the twenties led to the development of a finishing machine to smooth the surface of cement highways, and this reduced the labor requirement from 40 to 60 percent.

Mechanical pavers that spread centrally mixed materials further increased productivity in road construction. These replaced the roadside dump and wheelbarrow methods of spreading the cement. Jerome reports that the glass in electric light bulbs was made by new machines that cut the number of labor-hours required for their manufacture by nearly half. New machines to produce cigarettes and cigars, for warp-tying in textile production, and for pressing clothes in clothing shops also cut labor-hours. The Banbury mixer reduced the labor input in the production of automobile tires by half, and output per worker of inner tubes increased about four times with a new production method.

John Lorant has documented other technological advances that occurred in American manufacturing during the twenties. For example, the organic chemical industry developed rapidly due to the introduction of the Weizman fermentation process. As Avi Cohen has shown, the continuing advances in these machines were the result of evolutionary changes to the basic machine.

Mechanization in many types of mass-production industries raised the productivity of labor and capital. In the glass industry, automatic feeding and other types of fully automatic production raised the efficiency of the production of glass containers, window glass, and pressed glass. Though not directly bringing about productivity increases in manufacturing processes, developments in the management of manufacturing firms, particularly the largest ones, also significantly affected their structure and operation.

Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. Until the First World War most industrial firms were centralized, single-division firms even when becoming vertically integrated. When this began to change the management of the large industrial firms had to change accordingly. Because of these changes in the size and structure of the firm during the First World War, E. The firm found that the centralized, divisional structure that had served it so well was not suited to this strategy, and its poor business performance led its executives to develop between and a decentralized, multidivisional structure that boosted it to the first rank among American industrial firms.

General Motors had a somewhat different problem. By it was already decentralized into separate divisions. In fact, there was so much decentralization that those divisions essentially remained separate companies and there was little coordination between the operating divisions. A financial crisis at the end of ousted W. Durant and brought in the du Ponts and Alfred Sloan. Sloan, who had seen the problems at GM but had been unable to convince Durant to make changes, began reorganizing the management of the company. Over the next several years Sloan and other GM executives developed the general office for a decentralized, multidivisional firm.

Though facing related problems at nearly the same time, GM and du Pont developed their decentralized, multidivisional organizations separately. As other manufacturing firms began to diversify, GM and du Pont became the models for reorganizing the management of the firms. In many industrial firms these reorganizations were not completed until well after the Second World War. The rise of big businesses, which accelerated in the postbellum period and particularly during the first great turn-of-the-century merger wave, continued in the interwar period.

Between and the share of manufacturing assets held by the largest corporations rose from Niemi, As a public policy, the concern with monopolies diminished in the s even though firms were growing larger. But the growing size of businesses was one of the convenient scapegoats upon which to blame the Great Depression. However, the rise of large manufacturing firms in the interwar period is not so easily interpreted as an attempt to monopolize their industries.

Some of the growth came about through vertical integration by the more successful manufacturing firms. Livesay and Porter suggested a number of reasons why firms chose to integrate forward. In some cases they had to provide the mass distribution facilities to handle their much larger outputs; especially when the product was a new one. The complexity of some new products required technical expertise that the existing distribution system could not provide. The producers of automobiles, petroleum, typewriters, sewing machines, and harvesters were typical of those manufacturers that integrated all the way into retailing.

In some cases, increases in industry concentration arose as a natural process of industrial maturation.

Encyclopedia of American Radio - AbeBooks - Luther F. Sies:

Of the several thousand companies that had produced cars prior to , were still doing so then, but Ford and General Motors were the clear leaders, together producing nearly 70 percent of the cars. During the twenties, several other companies, such as Durant, Willys, and Studebaker, missed their opportunity to become more important producers, and Chrysler, formed in early , became the third most important producer by Many went out of business and by only 44 companies were still producing cars. The Great Depression decimated the industry.

Dozens of minor firms went out of business. Ford struggled through by relying on its huge stockpile of cash accumulated prior to the mids, while Chrysler actually grew. By , only eight companies still produced cars—GM, Ford, and Chrysler had about 85 percent of the market, while Willys, Studebaker, Nash, Hudson, and Packard shared the remainder. The rising concentration in this industry was not due to attempts to monopolize. As the industry matured, growing economies of scale in factory production and vertical integration, as well as the advantages of a widespread dealer network, led to a dramatic decrease in the number of viable firms.

Chandler, and ; Rae, ; Bernstein, It was a similar story in the tire industry. The increasing concentration and growth of firms was driven by scale economies in production and retailing and by the devastating effects of the depression in the thirties. Although there were firms in , 5 firms dominated the industry—Goodyear, B.

Goodrich, Firestone, U. During the twenties, firms left the industry while 66 entered. The share of the 5 largest firms rose from 50 percent in to 75 percent in During the depressed thirties, there was fierce price competition, and many firms exited the industry. By there were 30 firms, but the average employment per factory was 4. French, and ; Nelson, ; Fricke, The steel industry was already highly concentrated by as U. Steel had around 50 percent of the market. But U. However, the initiation of the National Recovery Administration NRA codes in required the firms to cooperate rather than compete, and Baker argues that this constituted a training period leading firms to cooperate in price and output policies after McCraw and Reinhardt, ; Weiss, ; Adams, A number of the larger firms grew by merger during this period, and the second great merger wave in American industry occurred during the last half of the s.

Figure 10 shows two series on mergers during the interwar period. The FTC series included many of the smaller mergers. The series constructed by Carl Eis only includes the larger mergers and ends in Stigler, This merger wave created many larger firms that ranked below the industry leaders. Much of the activity in occurred in the banking and public utilities industries.

Markham, In manufacturing and mining, the effects on industrial structure were less striking. Eis found that while mergers took place in almost all industries, they were concentrated in a smaller number of them, particularly petroleum, primary metals, and food products. In the s there was relatively little activity by the Justice Department, but after the Great Depression the New Dealers tried to take advantage of big business to make business exempt from the antitrust laws and cartelize industries under government supervision.

Though minor amendments were later enacted, the primary changes after that came in the enforcement of the laws and in swings in judicial decisions. Their two primary areas of application were in the areas of overt behavior, such as horizontal and vertical price-fixing, and in market structure, such as mergers and dominant firms. Horizontal price-fixing involves firms that would normally be competitors getting together to agree on stable and higher prices for their products. As long as most of the important competitors agree on the new, higher prices, substitution between products is eliminated and the demand becomes much less elastic.

Thus, increasing the price increases the revenues and the profits of the firms who are fixing prices. Vertical price-fixing involves firms setting the prices of intermediate products purchased at different stages of production. It also tends to eliminate substitutes and makes the demand less elastic. Price-fixing continued to be considered illegal throughout the period, but there was no major judicial activity regarding it in the s other than the Trenton Potteries decision in In that decision 20 individuals and 23 corporations were found guilty of conspiring to fix the prices of bathroom bowls.

The evidence in the case suggested that the firms were not very successful at doing so, but the court found that they were guilty nevertheless; their success, or lack thereof, was not held to be a factor in the decision. Scherer and Ross, Though criticized by some, the decision was precedent setting in that it prohibited explicit pricing conspiracies per se. The Justice Department had achieved success in dismantling Standard Oil and American Tobacco in through decisions that the firms had unreasonably restrained trade.

These were essentially the same points used in court decisions against the Powder Trust in , the thread trust in , Eastman Kodak in , the glucose and cornstarch trust in , and the anthracite railroads in The criterion of an unreasonable restraint of trade was used in the and decisions that found the American Can Company and the United Shoe Machinery Company innocent of violating the Sherman Act; it was also clearly enunciated in the U. Steel decision. This became known as the rule of reason standard in antitrust policy. A series of court decisions in the twenties and thirties further reduced the possibilities of Justice Department actions against mergers.

The search for energy and new ways to translate it into heat, light, and motion has been one of the unending themes in history. From whale oil to coal oil to kerosene to electricity, the search for better and less costly ways to light our lives, heat our homes, and move our machines has consumed much time and effort. The energy industries responded to those demands and the consumption of energy materials coal, oil, gas, and fuel wood as a percent of GNP rose from about 2 percent in the latter part of the nineteenth century to about 3 percent in the twentieth.

Changes in the energy markets that had begun in the nineteenth century continued. The evolution of energy sources for lighting continued; at the end of the nineteenth century, natural gas and electricity, rather than liquid fuels began to provide more lighting for streets, businesses, and homes. In the twentieth century the continuing shift to electricity and internal combustion fuels increased the efficiency with which the American economy used energy.

These processed forms of energy resulted in a more rapid increase in the productivity of labor and capital in American manufacturing. From to , output per labor-hour increased at an average annual rate of 1. The productivity of capital had fallen at an average annual rate of 1. As discussed above, the adoption of electricity in American manufacturing initiated a rapid evolution in the organization of plants and rapid increases in productivity in all types of manufacturing.

The change in transportation was even more remarkable. Internal combustion engines running on gasoline or diesel fuel revolutionized transportation. Trucking began eating into the freight carried by the railroads. These developments brought about changes in the energy industries. Coal mining became a declining industry. As Figure 11 shows, in the share of petroleum in the value of coal, gas, and petroleum output exceeded bituminous coal, and it continued to rise.

These changes, especially the declining coal industry, were the source of considerable worry in the twenties. Income in the industry declined, and bankruptcies were frequent. Strikes frequently interrupted production. Anthracite or hard coal output was much smaller during the twenties. Real coal prices rose from to , and bituminous coal prices fell sharply from then to Figure 12 Coal mining employment plummeted during the twenties. Annual earnings, especially in bituminous coal mining, also fell because of dwindling hourly earnings and, from on, a shrinking workweek.

Figure The sources of these changes are to be found in the increasing supply due to productivity advances in coal production and in the decreasing demand for coal. The demand fell as industries began turning from coal to electricity and because of productivity advances in the use of coal to create energy in steel, railroads, and electric utilities. Keller, In the generation of electricity, larger steam plants employing higher temperatures and steam pressures continued to reduce coal consumption per kilowatt hour. Similar reductions were found in the production of coke from coal for iron and steel production and in the use of coal by the steam railroad engines.

Rezneck, All of these factors reduced the demand for coal. Productivity advances in coal mining tended to be labor saving. Mechanical cutting accounted for By the middle of the twenties, the mechanical loading of coal began to be introduced. Between and , output per labor-hour rose nearly one third in bituminous coal mining and nearly four fifths in anthracite as more mines adopted machine mining and mechanical loading and strip mining expanded.

The increasing supply and falling demand for coal led to the closure of mines that were too costly to operate. A mine could simply cease operations, let the equipment stand idle, and lay off employees. When bankruptcies occurred, the mines generally just turned up under new ownership with lower capital charges. When demand increased or strikes reduced the supply of coal, idle mines simply resumed production. As a result, the easily expanded supply largely eliminated economic profits. The average daily employment in coal mining dropped by over , from its peak in , but the sharply falling real wages suggests that the supply of labor did not fall as rapidly as the demand for labor.

Soule notes that when employment fell in coal mining, it meant fewer days of work for the same number of men. Social and cultural characteristics tended to tie many to their home region. The local alternatives were few, and ignorance of alternatives outside the Appalachian rural areas, where most bituminous coal was mined, made it very costly to transfer out.

In contrast to the coal industry, the petroleum industry was growing throughout the interwar period. By the thirties, crude petroleum dominated the real value of the production of energy materials. As Figure 14 shows, the production of crude petroleum increased sharply between and , while real petroleum prices, though highly variable, tended to decline. The growing demand for petroleum was driven by the growth in demand for gasoline as America became a motorized society. The production of gasoline surpassed kerosene production in The development of oil burners in the twenties began a switch from coal toward fuel oil for home heating, and this further increased the growing demand for petroleum.

The growth in the demand for fuel oil and diesel fuel for ship engines also increased petroleum demand. But it was the growth in the demand for gasoline that drove the petroleum market. The decline in real prices in the latter part of the twenties shows that supply was growing even faster than demand. The discovery of new fields in the early twenties increased the supply of petroleum and led to falling prices as production capacity grew. The Santa Fe Springs, California strike in initiated a supply shock as did the discovery of the Long Beach, California field in New discoveries in Powell, Texas and Smackover Arkansas further increased the supply of petroleum in New supply increases occurred in to with petroleum strikes in Seminole, Oklahoma and Hendricks, Texas.

The supply of oil increased sharply in to with new discoveries in Oklahoma City and East Texas.

History Brief: Radio in the 1920s

Each new discovery pushed down real oil prices, and the prices of petroleum derivatives, and the growing production capacity led to a general declining trend in petroleum prices. McMillin and Parker argue that supply shocks generated by these new discoveries were a factor in the business cycles during the s.

The supply of gasoline increased more than the supply of crude petroleum. In a chemist at Standard Oil of Indiana introduced the cracking process to refine crude petroleum; until that time it had been refined by distillation or unpressurized heating. In the heating process, various refined products such as kerosene, gasoline, naphtha, and lubricating oils were produced at different temperatures.

It was difficult to vary the amount of the different refined products produced from a barrel of crude. The cracking process used pressurized heating to break heavier components down into lighter crude derivatives; with cracking, it was possible to increase the amount of gasoline obtained from a barrel of crude from 15 to 45 percent. In the early twenties, chemists at Standard Oil of New Jersey improved the cracking process, and by it was possible to obtain twice as much gasoline from a barrel of crude petroleum as in The petroleum companies also developed new ways to distribute gasoline to motorists that made it more convenient to purchase gasoline.

Prior to the First World War, gasoline was commonly purchased in one- or five-gallon cans and the purchaser used a funnel to pour the gasoline from the can into the car. These spread rapidly, and by gasoline companies were beginning to introduce their own filling stations or contract with independent stations to exclusively distribute their gasoline.

Increasing competition and falling profits led filling station operators to expand into other activities such as oil changes and other mechanical repairs. Though the petroleum firms tended to be large, they were highly competitive, trying to pump as much petroleum as possible to increase their share of the fields.

This, combined with the development of new fields, led to an industry with highly volatile prices and output. Firms desperately wanted to stabilize and reduce the production of crude petroleum so as to stabilize and raise the prices of crude petroleum and refined products. Unable to obtain voluntary agreement on output limitations by the firms and producers, governments began stepping in. Led by Texas, which created the Texas Railroad Commission in , oil-producing states began to intervene to regulate production.

The purpose was as much to stabilize and reduce production and raise prices as anything else, although generally such laws were passed under the guise of conservation. Although the federal government supported such attempts, not until the New Deal were federal laws passed to assist this. By the mid s the debate over the method by which electricity was to be transmitted had been won by those who advocated alternating current. The reduced power losses and greater distance over which electricity could be transmitted more than offset the necessity for transforming the current back to direct current for general use.

Widespread adoption of machines and appliances by industry and consumers then rested on an increase in the array of products using electricity as the source of power, heat, or light and the development of an efficient, lower cost method of generating electricity. General Electric, Westinghouse, and other firms began producing the electrical appliances for homes and an increasing number of machines based on electricity began to appear in industry.


  • Deceiving the Deceivers: Kim Philby, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess: Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and Guy Burgess.
  • The U.S. Economy in the s.
  • Recorded Sound Research at the Library of Congress;
  • Traditional African art : an illustrated study.
  • Introductory Syriac Method and Manual?
  • Brief History of the Radio Industry;

The problem of lower cost production was solved by the introduction of centralized generating facilities that distributed the electric power through lines to many consumers and business firms. Though initially several firms competed in generating and selling electricity to consumers and firms in a city or area, by the First World War many states and communities were awarding exclusive franchises to one firm to generate and distribute electricity to the customers in the franchise area.

Bright, ; Passer, The electric utility industry became an important growth industry and, as Figure 15 shows, electricity production and use grew rapidly. Generally these court decisions favored the reproduction cost basis. Because of the difficulty and cost in making these calculations, rates tended to be in the hands of the electric utilities that, it has been suggested, did not lower rates adequately to reflect the rising productivity and lowered costs of production. The utilities argued that a more rapid lowering of rates would have jeopardized their profits. Whether or not this increased their monopoly power is still an open question, but it should be noted, that electric utilities were hardly price-taking industries prior to regulation.

Mercer, In fact, as Figure 16 shows, the electric utilities began to systematically practice market segmentation charging users with less elastic demands, higher prices per kilowatt-hour. The changes in the energy industries had far-reaching consequences. The coal industry faced a continuing decline in demand. Even in the growing petroleum industry, the periodic surges in the supply of petroleum caused great instability. In manufacturing, as described above, electrification contributed to a remarkable rise in productivity.

The transportation revolution brought about by the rise of gasoline-powered trucks and cars changed the way businesses received their supplies and distributed their production as well as where they were located. The suburbanization of America and the beginnings of urban sprawl were largely brought about by the introduction of low-priced gasoline for cars.

The American economy was forever altered by the dramatic changes in transportation after The advent of low-cost personal transportation led to an accelerating movement of population out of the crowded cities to more spacious homes in the suburbs and the automobile set off a decline in intracity public passenger transportation that has yet to end. Massive road-building programs facilitated the intercity movement of people and goods. Trucks increasingly took over the movement of freight in competition with the railroads.

New industries, such as gasoline service stations, motor hotels, and the rubber tire industry, arose to service the automobile and truck traffic. With the end of the First World War, a debate began as to whether the railroads, which had been taken over by the government, should be returned to private ownership or nationalized. The voices calling for a return to private ownership were much stronger, but doing so fomented great controversy.

Many in Congress believed that careful planning and consolidation could restore the railroads and make them more efficient. The ICC was allowed to prescribe exact rates that were to be set so as to allow the railroads to earn a fair return, defined as 5. To maintain fair competition between railroads in a region, all roads were to have the same rates for the same goods over the same distance.

With the same rates, low-cost roads should have been able to earn higher rates of return than high-cost roads. To handle this, a recapture clause was inserted: any railroad earning a return of more than 6 percent on the fair value of its property was to turn the excess over to the ICC, which would place half of the money in a contingency fund for the railroad when it encountered financial problems and the other half in a contingency fund to provide loans to other railroads in need of assistance.

In order to address the problem of weak and strong railroads and to bring better coordination to the movement of rail traffic in the United States, the act was directed to encourage railroad consolidation, but little came of this in the s. In order to facilitate its control of the railroads, the ICC was given two additional powers.

The first was the control over the issuance or purchase of securities by railroads, and the second was the power to control changes in railroad service through the control of car supply and the extension and abandonment of track. The control of the supply of rail cars was turned over to the Association of American Railroads. Few extensions of track were proposed, but as time passed, abandonment requests grew. The ICC, however, trying to mediate between the conflicting demands of shippers, communities and railroads, generally refused to grant abandonments, and this became an extremely sensitive issue in the s.

As indicated above, the premises of the Transportation Act of were wrong. Railroads experienced increasing competition during the s, and both freight and passenger traffic were drawn off to competing transport forms. Passenger traffic exited from the railroads much more quickly. As the network of all weather surfaced roads increased, people quickly turned from the train to the car. Harmed even more by the move to automobile traffic were the electric interurban railways that had grown rapidly just prior to the First World War.

Hilton-Due, Not surprisingly, during the s few railroads earned profits in excess of the fair rate of return. The use of trucks to deliver freight began shortly after the turn of the century. Before the outbreak of war in Europe, White and Mack were producing trucks with as much as 7. Most of the truck freight was carried on a local basis, and it largely supplemented the longer distance freight transportation provided by the railroads.

Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960
Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960
Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960
Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960
Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960
Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960
Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960 Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960

Related Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960



Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved