Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Welcome to the Crosley Biography Blog

Welcome to the Crosley Biography Blog! This blog will serve as an informational clearinghouse for information Powel Crosley, Jr., his inventions and products, and related topics. It is maintained by Michael A. Banks, the originator and primary author of the book, CROSLEY: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed the Nation.

Banks was responsible for more than 90 percent of the research and the 715-page original draft. He was contracted to be the author of the book several years after he began working on it.

Banks also obtained most of the photos in the book. Additional unpublished photos will be shared here from time to time, as will informaton that didn't make it into the book, and new information Banks has turned up in his ongoing research.

In addition to the Crosley biography, Michael A. Banks is the author of more than 40 other books, the most recent of which is Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers. He has also written books on hobbies, computers and the Internet, educator references, and science fiction novels. For more information, see http://www.michaelabanks.com/

As for how and why Banks ended up writing Powel Crosley, Jr.'s biography, he says it all started when he was looking for a biography of Powel Crosley, Jr. ini 1965. In high school at the time, he assumed Crosley was ranked with Henry Ford as one of the more important inventors and industrialists of the 20th Century. That being the case, he figured his high school library would have a biography of Crosley. It didn't. Nor did the country library; the book didn't exist.

Why did Banks think Crosley was so important? Growing up in a Cincinnati suburb in the 1950s and 1960s, everything was Crosley. The Cincinnati Reds (owned by Powel Crosley, Jr.) played at Crosley Field. Crosley's WLW radio station and WLW-T television station broadcast many of the games. In the 1950s, a next-door neighbor owned a 1951 Crosley station wagon, and Banks remembers standing in the neighbor's driveway and spinning the propeller on the car's nose. His grandparents had a massive Crosley console radio in their living room. An aunt used a Crosley Sav-A-Maid industrial-size ironer. There were lots more Crosley appliances and cars just about anywhere he went--this included family trips to an aunt's home in Mason, Ohio. On each trip WLW's tower would loom on the horizon and gradually grow to become the largest thing he had ever seen. The first station he received on his first crystal radio set was WLW ...

With that background, it was natural that Banks ranked Powel Crosley, Jr. right up there with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. One day in 1965 he visited his high school library in search of a Crosley biography; he assumed a biography of such an important personage must exist ... but it did not. I was reading a lot of biographies at the time and having grown up with Crosley I figured he was like Henry Ford and expected to find a biography of him in the local library. No luck.

Banks began publishing shortly after he graduated high school, mostly magazine articles. He thought again about a biography of Crosley, but he'd never written a book. By the time his first book was published in 1981, there were other books to write and he was sure that someone else had to be writing one.

Three dozen books later, in early 2001, he decided that no one else was going to write the book, so he down and began writing the book. There are some intersting stories from the research and writing of the book (including threats against Banks if he were to write the book!) Somoe of those will be shared here, along with previously unpublished information about Powel Crosley, Jr. and his world. Stay tuned!

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