Scene and Story – The Radio

We were at the Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site near Sedalia, Missouri.  Our tour guide lead us through the rooms of the mansion that has been very well-preserved and kept as nearly like it would have been when the owner lived there.

One of the first items I was fascinated with, left there where Mr. Bothwell would have placed it, was this radio.  An RCA Radiola, Super-Heterodyne.  This was a radio like I had never seen before, so I used my cell phone and took this photo.

Took the photo with my cell phone…this device that I think I can not live without, but did for many, many years.  This expensive gadget that I use for phone calls and texts, and to listen to a podcast once in a while or my favorite music…streaming online.

What would Mr. Bothwell and his family and friends have listened to on this RCA Radiola?  We learned that he died in 1929, just a couple of months before the stock market crash.  What would the news have been like then?  How would the stock market crash have been presented?  And how often did they (the Bothwell’s) even turn this thing on?  Electricity was not what we take for granted now.

I would love to know if this radio still works.

There are many deeper questions that come to mind as I look at this image and think of our modern-day communications.   I could add some here and go on and on.  This is not the day for me to do that.   I’m guilty of partaking too much of that news culture…something I continue to work on.

But what draws me in is the scene and the story.  The scene: this beautiful, well-preserved, well-built mansion in the heart of Missouri. The story, shown simply by the placement of this RCA Radiola Super-Heterodyne in what looked to be the center of that home.  A place of prominence, of importance.  Not so portable, not able to fit in a purse or pocket.  And yet, an all important connection to the world beyond their doorstep.

We are not so different.

Linking up with Sarah and Leon for Scene and Story.



6 Replies to “Scene and Story – The Radio”

  1. Love your photo and when I was little, we had a large radio that we listened to all the time. I remember listening every morning to a family having their breakfast, and it seemed so interesting. Wow how much the world has changed in so few years.

  2. What an amazing and huge old radio! So interesting to read about it. Radios in the past were very much a lifeline. Everyone in the family huddled around them to gather important pieces of information and later came the music programmes and the serials. I was a great radio lover (we used to call it a ‘wireless’ when I was little). I didn’t need or have television for a very long time.

  3. Great story and thoughts. I would love to visit that historic mansion. The radio then the center of information for the home, now it is the computer. But in-between there it was the television. will there be something else in the future? Great thought provoking post.

  4. I have vivid memories of my brother and myself playing in the dirt by the front steps, listening to the radio through the screen door. There were certain programs my parents enjoyed and listened to regularly, and I came to love them, too. My sister is much younger than I and doesn’t share those memories, but she has Sirius radio in her car, and listens to a channel that broadcasts those old shows as she commutes to and from work. It’s funny but I don’t remember the radio being a source of news, though I suppose it must have been. I’m not sure that being constantly linked to instant communication is a good thing, either for us as individuals or as a civilization. You’ve made me think, Deb.

  5. The radio is a fascinating piece of history. I don’t remember having a radio in our home. I do remember getting my first transistor radio and listening to music, which my father could not strand, so our radios went outside with us. That wouldn’t happen with this large one. I rarely listen to the radio, the tv, and have begun to limit my online time. I find I am much happier, much calmer, and more productive. Great photo and story!

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