Ladybird Tuesday: The Story of Radio


We're going all geeky and technical again today on Ladybird Tuesday with what was one of my first vintage Ladybird purchases: The Story of Radio, A Ladybird 'acheivements' book. The whole of series 601 was based around the "history of" various things, ranging from Railways, to Oil, to Plastics.

First published 1968, the Story of Radio starts off by describing how communication over distances was done using semaphore before radio's invention. Range was obviously limited and even when telegraph and telephone cables were laid on the ocean beds these were expensive and affected by natural events like earthquakes.


When radio waves were first discovered and Maxwell tried to explain them, their properties and how they might be used ither scientists respended very sceptically. Sadly, it wasn't until after Maxwell's death that people realised that what he had been saying was correct. 

This book explains the physics of waves and how radio waves could be sent and received and made use of as a communications medium. The role of Induction is explained in terms of how it could be used to send radio waves over large distances without the need for connecting wires. Early experiments to the public failed when they realised that they required wires as long as the distance that they were trying to send messages over.


Marconi's discovery of the importance of an aerial-earth system made radio transmissions over long distances a reality and his 1897 trial transmissions convinced many of what he was doing. It was not plain sailing from there though as funding still had to be found to support further work. Finally though radio moved forwards and started becoming a vital part of communication systems, especially for ships at sea.


I'm a complete radio geek at heart (I even hold an amateur radio licence and have done since I was 14!) and find this book fascinating. It's hard to try to imagine a world without radio and all the further developments which have followed, but that's how life was before Marconi moved things forward. This book really does bring all these developments to life.

If you have a collection of old Ladybird books then please feel free to join in with Ladybird Tuesday. There are no formal rules to follow, just leave a link to any post you write in the comments below and if you're feeling kind link back to my Ladybird Tuesday category here on Being Mrs C. Thanks!

I've also compiled an index of all the vintage Ladybird books I own and everyone's Ladybird Tuesday posts to date – organised by series. It satisfies my inner geek and hopefully will also be of interest to others too!

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