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Technical Paper

The Evolution of the Automobile Antenna in the United States and Europe-A Historic Retrospective, Part One: The First Forty Years

While one probably tends to think that car radios were invented and developed in the United States during the early twenties, it was actually in Chelmsford, England, that the first mobile experiments took place. Designed by Guglielmo Marconi, the first mobile installation antenna on record goes back to 1897. On the other side of the Atlantic, the experiments of Guglielmo Marconi were continued by the Americans Lee Deforest and Edwin Armstrong, who set the foundations of radio early in the twentieth century. Lee DeForest had been one of the prime advocates of “automobiles as wireless stations.” Early in 1903, and as told by a magazine of that era, “he fitted his instruments to automobiles so that the electricity which propels the automobile while in motion can be used for wireless telegraphy when the automobile is at a standstill”.
Technical Paper

The Reinvention of the Wheel: Progress in Car Radios and Their Future

Advances in digital and analog electronics have drastically changed car radio circuitry. Improvements in miniaturization of electrical and mechanical components have radically altered their size and styling. Computer modeling of the vehicle's interior environment has optimized car radio acoustics. It seems that the list of modern break-throughs is never ending. It is the intent of this paper to show that many of the technical marvels of today's car radios were first applied years, even decades, ago. From those early concepts, and their current revivals, a projection into the future of automobile radios will be made. As previously mentioned [1]: “If history teaches anything, it teaches the potential for repetition.”
Technical Paper

The Evolution of the Automobile Antenna in the United States and Europe — A Historic Retrospective — Part Two — The Last Fifty Years

The evolution and development of the automobile radio antenna is perhaps one of the most neglected success stories in the automotive industry. Born in the twilight of the last century, it evolved from a simple wire wrapped around a tree branch, to the current heated rear screen or backlite antenna. Part One (SAE No. 870090) described seven types of antennas in detail, covering the period 1897-1937. It was shown how the early radio engineers, struggling to develop a viable car antenna, had displayed a great degree of creativity and flexibility, from the “firecracker” experiments of Guglielmo Marconi in 1897, to the ingenious systems developed to overcome the problems created by the all-metal Turret-Top vehicles introduced by General Motors in 1934. In those pioneering days, the United States public was having a love affair with both the automobile and radio broadcasting, so it was no surprise that their marriage did not take long to arrive.