Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Simplicity of Radio

In addition to applause cards (detailed in the preceding post), each 1920s Crosley radio came with an 80-page book titled The Simplicity of Radio. Carrying Powel’s byline, this book explained how radio worked, and how to operate and even build a receiver. Perhaps looking for a more cost-efficient means of having the book printed—and seeking yet another promotional opportunity—Powel contacted Emmanuel Haldeman-Julius, a Kansas publisher of small (3-2/3” x 5”) booklets about publishing The Simplicity of Radio in 1923.

Haldeman-Julius was an unusual publisher, a socialist activist who began publishing classic literature in 1919, intent on educating Americans. His press turned out the works of writers like Voltaire, Poe, Jack London, Balzac, and Oscar Wilde under the imprint of “Little Blue Books” and sold them for five or ten cents each. He also published non-fiction books written by experts on a wide variety of subjects, with titles like Typewriting Self-Taught and The Case for Birth Control. They were immensely popular; more than 100,000,000 Little Blue Books were sold in the 1920s alone. (He wrote a bestseller about his marketing techniques, The First Hundred Million, for Simon & Schuster.)

Powel, a voracious reader, had seen many of these editions and knew that they received wide distribution. Haldeman-Julius routinely solicited new works (even though most of his titles were reprints), and Powel contacted him about publishing The Simplicity of Radio. Powel reasoned, correctly, that radio being a new subject of great interest, Haldeman-Julius would want to publish his booklet.

As published by E. Haldeman-Julius, The Simplicity of Radio, by Powel Crosley, Jr., carried the subtitle The Little Blue Book of Radio, and was 32 pages in length. It was one of the few Little Blue Books that did not list Haldeman-Julius as copyright owner. Instead, the copyright notice read “The Crosley Radio Corporation, Powel Crosley, Jr., President.” Powel had learned enough about intellectual property from patents to know better than to give away a copyright.

There were a couple of specific benefits in having Haldeman-Julius publish the booklet. First, the Crosley Radio Corporation could buy copies of The Simplicity of Radio for less than it cost to have them printed locally. Second, the book was a great promotional device, as it featured Crosley radios and parts. It was also a sales tool; anyone who wanted a copy could request one free. And it was serialized in any newspaper that would have it, at no charge.

Powel may or may not received a royalty on sales; if he did, it was inconsequential, amounting to perhaps a fifth of a cent per copy. The important thing was that The Simplicity of Radio went through at least 20 editions between 1923 and 1929, each edition reflecting advances in radio technology. The final count on copies printed was probably several hundred thousand.

If the number of copies in the holdings of various city libraries was any indication, the book was popular. The New York Public Library, the Public Library of Cleveland, and the public libraries of Chicago and Los Angeles each counted more than 50 copies of the book among their holdings in 1925. I have three different versions of this, and Charlie Stinger has at least one more. You can find The Simplicity of Radio on eBay for five bucks or so.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Roaring Twenties Marketing: Applause Cards

Powel Crosley, Jr. was constantly working on ways to promote his radios and WLW. One such promotion was the set of “applause cards” that were packed with each radio. These were pre-printed post cards that radio listeners could send to let a station know they had enjoyed a particular program. There were two styles, each with a small cartoon character applauding or cheering, and lines to write in the name of the program and station name. At the bottom was printed, “P.S. We Own A Crosley Radio.”

Another pair of post cards was for radio buyers to send to friends, inviting them to a radio party. Each illustrated card announced that the sender had just bought a new Crosley radio receiver, and invited the recipient to a radio party in celebration. A dozen cards in all came with each set, inserted in the envelope that contained the set’s operating instructions. (Click on the image above to see large versions of all four types of Crosley applause cards.)

It was an ideal promotion, with Crosley radio buyers helping sell Crosley radios. This went right along with data from recent marketing surveys, which showed that more buyers of new radios were influenced by their neighbor’s radio than anything else.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Low Tech Meets Leading-Edge Tech

In an earlier post, I highlighted an interesting dichotomy that existed during the 1927 construction of a new building to house WLW's first 50,000-watt transmitter--which would make WLW the first station to broadcast at 50,000-watts. The dichotomy was the steam-powered digger (known then as a "steam shovel") used to excavate the building's foundation. The building stands today.

That was a direct link between the Steam Age and the Electric Age. The photo here connects two even more disparate technologies: animal power and radio. Near the bottom of the photo, to the right of the WSAI building, you can see the dark shape of two mules. (The new transmitter building is going up on the right)

Click on the photo to view a larger version. You'll see that the mules are hitched up to a wagon. A couple of laborers are in the picture, too. It looks as if the wagon had just been emptied of its load--perhaps lumber.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Video: Ruth Nichols Landing the Crosley Lockheed Vega!

The Lockheed Company's promotional film, Look to Lockheed (produced in 1940) contains footage of Ruth Lyons landing "The New Cincinnati," Powel Crosley's Lockheed Vega. Referred to as the Crosley Radioplane and the Crosley Airship, the Vega 5 was registered as NR496M.

Crosley bought the ship from Edward F. Schlee and William S. Brock in August, 1930, and had "CROSLEY" painted boldly on the fuselage and the engine clowing. (Schlee and Brock earlier set a transcontinental record with it, under a different registration.) Ruth Nichols charled women's endurance and speed records in the airplane, as well as overall records.
Here's the URL for the film:
Nichols had several accidents in Crosley's airplane, one of which aborted her attempt to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo (a distinction won by Amelia Earhart). The final accident was in 1932, when the aircraft (renamed the Akita) was largely consumed by a fire while still on the ground. Here are some details on the accident. The airplane's tail is on display at the International Women's Air & Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. (See

1939 New York World's Fair, Crosley Pavilion & Cars on Video

Anyone who's read Crosley or Dreams Can Come True knows that the Crosley Corporation had its own pavilion at the 1939/40 New York World's Fair. Just like RCA and General Electric, Crosley demonstrated television, though only RCA got the mainstream publicity.

Crosley partnered wth Du Mont, which was at that point manufacturing televisions. So a Crosley camera sent closed-circuit moving pictures to a Du Mont televison receiver.

You can view or download a video of the Crosley Pavilion and 1939 Crosley cars driving around the miniature parkway behind it by clicking here or on the image to the left. The Crosley Pavilion and cars are just past 12:45, following the Jewelry exhibit.

Along the way be sure to check out the Johns-Mandville "Mineral Man," dedicated to the miracle mineral, Asbestos!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Corrections to Crosley Book

In addenda to the Crosley Errata Sheet: As most folks know, Powel Crosley, Jr.'s entry into the world of radio began with a visit to Cincinnati's Precision Equipment Company. The electrical goods store was one of the few retailers of radios or parts in town, as well as being the home of Cincinnati's first radio station, WMH.

The book states, incorrectly, that Crosley visited the store with his son, Powel, III, on Monday, February 20, 1920. February 20 was, in fact, a Friday, and the 20th was not the day the pair made the journey to Precision, anyway.

As Powel clearly relates in several interviews and in personal writings, that visit took place on Monday, February 23--the day after Washington's Birthday. In those days--and in fact until 1971--Washington's Birthday was celebrated on February 22, Washington's actual Birthday. (Washington was born February 12, old-style, in 1732, which converts to February 22 with the Greogorian calendar, which we've been using since 1752.)
In addition, the book and the article in Cincinnati Magazine refer to stations such as KDKA being assigned a "frequency" or "band" of 360 meters. In the original version of the book I was careful to make the distinction between frequency and band; frequency is the number of times a signal oscillates per second, while band is a group or range of frequencies. All that aside, what KDKA and other stations were assigned was a literal radio wavelength of 350 meters. I was not given a look at the hacked-up version of the manuscript or the galleys before publication. Corrections I provided for early hackings were ignored. Hence, I do not accept any responsbility for the errors, but I will provide corrections as I discover errors, for the sake of getting the historic facts correct.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Crosley Videos - Cars, Radio

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The True Origins of the Proximity Fuze - Part 1

Below: 1935 Shell with Proximity Fuze
Quite a bit has been written about the proximity fuze, over 20 million of which were produced in the Crosley Corporation's Cincinnati factory during World War II. However, there's more than a little of the fuze's history that has not been made available to the general public.

To complete the missing info in Crosley, this and ensuing installments will describe the origins and development of the fuze. This includes the details of experiments with the proximity fuze in pre-war England as a "bomb to bomb bombers."

The most-publicized information to date has had to do with the proximity fuze's applications in four different anti-aircraft shells in the Pacific, against Japanese aircraft. Lesser-known are the original aerial types of the proximity fuze, and the use made of it in place of ground-burst shells.

The first proximity fuzes grew out of a British Air Ministry "bomb the bomber" program in 1938, when it was discovered that the only way Britain's obsolescent biplane fighters could successfully attack fast monoplane bombers was to get above them and drop contact-fused bombs. This meant that drops had to made connect with with the target--a rare occurrence. It was decided then that it would be worthwhile to develop other kinds of detonators, able to set off bombs when they reached close-enough proximity to do damage to an aircraft.

Two kinds of proximity fuzes were initially developed: acoustic and photoelectric. The acoustic fuzes were engineered in both high-frequency and low-frequency models. The challenge of course was to create a fuze that would not detonate a bomb because of the ambient noise created by being dropped. Many trials and errors resulted in a bomb with a piezoelectric(PE) microphone in its nose. Sounds at a certain frequency--as created by a large monoplane--would activate the fuze, which would close a circuit to a relay and electrically detonate the bomb. Both high- and low-frequency models were built.

The acoustic fuzes were a bit sensitive to nearby (up to 2,000 feet) airbursts, as well as vibration from their own arming. So work was done on a photoelectric fuze that would detonate in response to a change in ambient light, nearly always the result of the presence of an aircraft.

The photoelectric proximity fuze been developed before the British Air Ministry began its fuze program. In 1935 a Swiss engineer developed and later patented a concept for an antiaircraft shell fuze that would be detonated by sensing the presence of an aerial target through a change in ambient light. Hence, the fuze was far from being an American invention, and was in fact in use in Britain before American authorities knew of it.
--To be continued in a later post--

Friday, December 5, 2008

How the Internet was Monetized: Excerpt from On the Way to the Web

We've talked here before about what sort of machine the Crosley Personal Computer (CPC) might have been. What about the Internet? What would Crosley have made of the Internet--or, more to the point, how would he have made money with it?

I think he would have gone about it the way Dialog and Bunker Ramo did, as detailed in On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders. If you want to see how it was done, or are just curious about Internet and online service history, read about it in this excerpt from On the Way to the Web, which also details the technology transfer from the government ARPAnet to commercial entitites.

Hosted by the DigiBarn Computer Museum, the chapter describes the earliest "monetizing" of the online world. It shows how the first real information superhighway was created (and named), and shows how entreprenuers built enormously profitable online businesses without investing in computers, software, or content. This excerpt also details the earliest commercial online content!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Steam Power in the Radio Age

The 1920s was an age of dichotomies. Almost no indoor plumbing. No mechanical refrigeration for homes--iceboxes, yes, and the ice mostly came from steam-powered ice plants.

Speaking of steam power (the more knowledgeable among you might have thought I was going to write about the Icyball again), it was steam that handled the heavy-duty part of the construction business. Laborers, mules, and horses did most of the hauling and lifting, but steam-power was still required for the heavy jobs. The internal combustion engine hadn't reached the same level of power and, besides, there were thousands steam-powered locomotives and steam shovels still in use.

Which leads to the juxtaposition in the photo: steam building the world's most powerful radio broadcast station. This photo (part of a larger one) was taken in 1928, during the real groundbreaking for WLW's Mason, Ohio transmitter building--the structure that first housed the 50Kw transmitter, and then the half-million-watt unit that would light up the countryside and speak to the world. That's Powel Crosley, Jr. to the right, with the operator and coaler at left. Click for larger image.

The Erie steam shovel (Type B-2) sits in the hole it was digging for the transmitter building's foundation and basement, representative of a fading technology helping make the way for leading-edge tech. (Interestingly, mules played a part in building this WLW site, as well. I'll share some photos of this later.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Ruth Lyons Biography

I've received many questions about the publication date for my biography of Ruth Lyons, titled Before Oprah: Ruth Lyons, the Woman Who Created Talk TV.

The title was originally scheduled for October (I completed the manuscript several months ago). But the publisher has decided to wait until May, in order to allow more time for production and promotion. So, the book will be released on Mother's Day, though you can order it now.

As noted in the past, the book has quite a bit of information about Miss Lyons that has never been published. A good number of photos will be in the book, a number of them not previously published, as well.

My apologies to those of you who had planned on it being published last month. And thanks to those in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, West Virginia and southern Michigan for your patience!
--Mike http//

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Powel Crosley's Toys

I've a nice photo from the air above Powel Crosley's Seagate mansion around 1938. In it, you can see his Douglas Dolphin seaplane (NC982Y) at anchor, the entire mansion and swimming pool, and in the yacht basin one of this yachts and a few motorboats.

That's a pretty good collection. But this photo is equally interesting. Taken in 1939 at Crosley's Cincinnati estate, Pinecroft, it displays the all-new Crosley automobile, along with Crosley's Fairchild 45-A (which he soon got rid of because he bumped into a center-cabin support too often)--all part of a publicity/advertising photo shoot. It's early spring, and that's Page Crosley standing on the wing root, her friends modeling the latest fashions.

Pinecroft had a grass landing field (standard for those days), but the car and the airplane on on a paved surface. It's probably the loop drive that runs by the main mansion yet today. Click on the image to see a large version.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crosley Automobile Heir Gone!

The spiritual heir to the Crosley automobile is gone. Yes, the campy little Yugo is going out of production. In a time when nearly everyone wants a small, economic automobile, too! The same car that brought back the Crosley jokes. ("Why does a Crosley need a rear-window defroster? So you can see when you're pushing it.")

The details are in news reports, but one can't help but wonder whether they would be a successful import in America, if properly marketed. It might save GM or Ford to buy Yugo with their coming windfalls.

That sounds good, but when did a mega-corporation ever do anything smart? (Digression: Ford and GM and Chrysler continuing to turn out massive gas hogs for all these years proves something I've been telling people for years: too much money makes you stupid!)

Naturally we think, "Bring back the Crosley!" A Japanese company was ready to close on a deal to license the Crosley design and buy the tools and templates in 1954, but that deal went away. Probably for the same reasons the Crosley went away: few people were interested in the novelty or the high gas mileage. It was no longer the only new car available.

But the basic design could be upgraded. The automotive rights are probably vested in whatever company Aerojet General became (not in some trumpeting descendant). But that won't happen, either; it's easier to draw up a new car from scratch, or buy the Yugo and upgrade it.

Still, what would it take to update the Crosley as we knew it to meet 21st Century safety and performance standards? Brakes, for sure! Any thoughts?
(That's Tom Miller's '48 wagon on the right.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Icyball in Australia

Here's a newspaper display ad for the Icyball--from the January 9, 1930, issue of The Argus in Melbourne, Australia.

Click the image to see it full-size. It's interesting to think that these were made in Cincinnati or Toronto and shipped over. Today, I imgine they'd be manufactured in China!

1938: WLW Could Literally Light Up the Sky

Here's an interesting news story from the Canberra, Australia Times. for December 28, 1938. The paper talks about the possibility of lighting the night sky, and points out that two radio stations, WLW and Russia's RV-1 in Moscow, already have enough power to do an effective job of brightening up the countryside.

Both stations were operating at 500,000 watts at the time (WLW at 700,000 watts on occasion--and probably RV-1, as well).

Dr. V.A. Bailey, of the University of Sydney, points out that both stations were capable of producing small auroras with that much power. "But," Dr. Bailey adds, "a million kilowatts, a power not out of reach, would light ten thousand square kilometers of sky equal to the full moon." The light, he said, would be visible for 30 miles around either station.

Click on the article image above to read the entire story.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wow--The Old Time Radio Show Catalog!

You know, after all the writing I've done about Crosley and WLW--and continue to do--I still type Wlw every time I intend to write "Wow." Every time.

Anyway, here's a neat Web site for you old radio fans: The Old Time Radio Show Catalog! And just in time for Halloween, as they have a sale on spooky radio shows. (I borrowed the "spirited" 1920s illustration from their site; it's a bulletin board that announces the sale. Click the image to go directly to the sale.)

Decades of coverage run from the 1910s through the 1950s. You can get U.S., British, and South African shows, in these categories: Children, Comedy, Detective, Drama, Historical, Holiday, Musical, Mystery-Horror, Personality, Quiz, Science Fiction, Serials, Soaps, Westerns and WWII. There's good content, too--show episodes, articles and images, and more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flying Flea Construction

Richard Crossley is proceeding apace with the construction of his flying model of the Crosley-Mignet Flying Flea. (You can see the original in the Smitsonian's National Air & Space Museum. And you can click the image to the left to see a large version.)

As the latest photo shows, Richard has completed the basic wing structures. The heat-curved bamboo, and he notes that this has added considerable strength. It's beginning to look like the original more and more.
"Not much left to do now before I cover with tissue," Richard says. "Seems a shame to cover up the structure." I agree. Build two!
Images of the early fuselage construction can be seen here, here, here, and here. For more information about the model, contact Richardcrossley at

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Powel Crosley, Jr. and Ayn Rand

(Click to see paperback and hardcover editions.)

What? Powel Crosley, Jr. and Ayn Rand?

Right: An unliklier pair to appear in a header there never was. Powel Crosley was a staunch Republican and anti-union, which would have put him in line with Ayn Rand's philosophies. But Powel probably loathed the woman and most of her philosophies because he often ignored facts. And I think his misogony would have put him at a point where he loathed her for being a woman who not only had such philosophies, but expressed them in a popular novel. All of which makes it funny that Crosley is caricatured in Rand's The Fountainhead. I may be wrong, though.

I didn’t notice this the caricature I first read the book, over 30 years ago. But a recent re-reading finds Powel Crosley, Jr. thinly disguised as newspaper baron Gail Wynand. Wynand is an aviation enthusiast who spends a ton of money on the latest and best private aircraft. It is used to set a transcontinental speed record (as was Crosley's Vega), after which Wynand gives it to “… an enchanting aviatrix of twenty-four.” Shades of Ruth Nichols! Wynand's physical description matches that of Crosley, as well.

Rand also lampoons the controlled crash-landing Nichols made in a Pennsylvania field when she tried to set a Cincinnati-to-New York record. In the Wynand version, it is presented as an orchestrated publicity stunt, designed to draw the press--who were waiting there even as the aircraft approached from the west. (Crosley is also echoed in the radio and refrigerator manufacturer who is diversified beyond logic.)

Of course, the Wynand character is a composite of several people, with some original twists. (However, it's not quite the same as the portrayl of William Randolph Hearst in Citizen Kane.) For the writer, The Fountainhead serves as a good model of how to work contemporary figures into a work of fiction without actually using their names.
Copyright © 2008, Michael A. Banks

Friday, October 10, 2008

Progress on Richard Crossley's Crosley-Mignet Flying Flea!

After some weeks' hiatus, U.K. modeler Richard Crossley has resumed work on his model of the Crosley Flying Flea. (Images of the early fuselage construction can be seen here, here, here, and here.)

As you can see here, Richard has begun work on the upper wing (this is the one that pitches, under control of the pilot). The wing spars are finished (nice carvings!) and just slotted into place for now. More photos coming up! Click on the image to see a much larger version.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crosley Now Available in Paperback

Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed the Nation, written by Michael A. Banks is now available in paperback, for those of you who found the hardcover price a bit steep. You can get a copy by clicking here or on the title or image above. As I write this, the price is $10.85 (plus shipping) at

If you pick up a copy, you'll note an absurd advertisement stuck in the back for a non-existent book titled Cincinnatisu (I misspelled it). The book was several years in the making because I made fun of the plot as "Lewis Crosley gratuitously winning World War II." The theme changed twice, and now this bit of fiction is being presented as fact to the media.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another View of Crossley's Crosley Flying Flea

Here, Richard continues work on the Flying Flea. Here the fuselage covering is in place. Ditto the engine mounting and upper wing mount. (The pilot's stepped out to leave more room for maneuvering new components into place.)

He's holding it for the photograph, which gives you an idea of the scale. More to come!

Crosley Flying Flea Construction Continues ...

Richard Crossley (two esses) of the U.K. continues work on his scale indoor flying model of the Crosley Flying Flea. The original was built by Crosley's corporate pilot, Eddie Neirmaier and is on display the the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum today.

As you can see, Richard has finished painting the pilot, and added true-to-original "white rubber tyres." They're actually balsa as this point, but will be white. The nose and cowling covering are completed, too.

Click on the image to see a large version. More photos to come!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Pre-History of the Web!

AppleLink NIFTY-Serve PC-Link Lockheed DIALOG BIX MCI Mail CompuServe AT&T Mail GEnie DELPHI eWorld Promenade DIALOG VIEWTRON Covidea Prestel Minitel Gateway

Do these names bring back memories? If so, you'll really like my newest book, On the Way to the Web. Ditto, if you're a fan of technology history. As with Crosley, this is a book I'd been waiting for; it never came out, so I wrote it.

On the Way to the Wev: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders is a history of the Internet before the Web, and includes ARPAnet, CompuServe, DIALOG, GEnie, BIX, DELPHI, PLink, PC-Link, Promenade, AppleLink, eWorld, and all the rest--including online services before ARPAnet. I also cover Videotex and teletext in Europe and the U.S. Prestel, Mintel, et al.

"This is a thorough, entertaining, informative, useful history of how our world was transformed during my adult life." --Orson Scott Card

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crosley Icyball Video

Here's a fun video showing the Crosley Icyball. The Icyball itself is at Lee Maxell's Washing Machine Museum in Eaton, Colorado. Mr. Maxell shows the components and explains the Icyball's workings.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Crosley Automobile Videos Online

Here are some of the Crosley automobile videos available at You Tube:
Another convertible (no muffler)

Crosley Radio Video Tours (with Sound)

You Tube now hosts a number of videos showcasing old Crosley radios. Who would have thought we'd be watching videos of radios?) Here's a list to get you started:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hunting Dogs and Skunks

You know, if Powel Crosley, Jr. was still around, I imagine he might have some kind of remedy for getting rid of skunk odor. I mean, with all those hounds he had, at least one must have flushed one of the striped rodents.

No doubt, he would have gotten the remedy from Boss Johnston.

I've heard tomato juce, but although I gave the dog a bath in tomato juice twice, followed by shampoo, the smell isn't completely gone. Any ideas?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Novel Excerpt

This is an excerpt from a novel I've been working on since 2002. I type at it a while, then put it away. It's set in several parts of Indiana in 1911, and revolves around the first Indanapolis 500 Sweepstakes race. The characters (Powel Crosley, Carl Graham Fisher, et al) are real people These two sections of the first chapter are unchanged from the original. I can't decide whether I should keep these in this order, or reverse them.
Copyright © 2002, 2006, Michael A. Banks
Johnny Aitken loved his job, which fact was one of the reasons people called him “Happy Johnny.” He was paid to drive—fast. The National Motor Vehicle Company gave him the munificent sum of twenty-eight dollars per month to demonstrate their cars to customers, drive them in races, and incidentally keep them and the garage where they were stored clean.
Though he had a tendency to get too “happy” at local bars, Aitken knew his business. He had won eight out of 12 races last year, and finished second or third in the rest—not bad for an old man of 45. The wins had all been in a 1910 National 40, and he was determined to drive this year’s Model 40 in the International 500-Mile Sweepstakes. His boss, Arthur Newby, had argued against this, wanting instead to build a special for the race. But Aitken convinced the automaker that winning or placing would be far more impressive in a production car than a race car.
Not that this automobile would be exactly like the Nationals sold to customers. Aitken had spent most of the past three months tuning the big six-cylinder engine, tinkering with the carburetor, and fine-tuning the chassis and steering. The results were gratifying, and the way the car burned up the track added to the fun of showing it off for spectators.
And there were always spectators. Lots of locals, but sometimes newspaper or magazine writers and photographers came to watch him and other drivers do test laps—that happened more and more often as the date of the race approached. Other times National engineers, salesmen, or customers turned out. Newby came by every Wednesday morning, usually with some VIP.
Today Aitken planned to take his friend Crosley for a few laps around the track. Originally a Cincinnati boy, Powel Crosley had worked for National as a salesman and publicist for most of 1910, but now worked for Inter-State over in Muncie, where he had some sort of family connection. He showed up at the Speedway three or four times a week, hanging around and talking with anyone who was there—drivers, mechanics, the press, whomever. You couldn’t miss him; he was tall and rangy, and never shut up. He constantly offered opinions and advice—some of it worthwhile, according to Fred Duesenberg, whom Crosley had helped out with some sort of gimmick for balancing crankshafts. For a guy in his mid-twenties, he did know a lot more about some things than you might expect.
When Crosley wasn’t telling people how to do things, he was begging to be allowed to drive a few laps around the track. Whose car it was didn’t matter. Crosley would drive anything, as long as it was faster than his Ford. His not-so-secret ambition was to become a racing car pilot, and he gloried in the few opportunities he’d had to show off his ability to handle an automobile at high speed.
Ernest L. Moross, a racing promoter and the Speedway’s publicity manager, had taken a particular liking to Crosley and helped him with introductions and advice. It was probably thanks to Moross that the brash young man was even tolerated at the Speedway—Crosley having managed to annoy or piss off half the owners, drivers, and mechanics at the track.
Crosley had recently told Aitken that Moross, who managed Eddie Rickenbacker and Barney Oldfield, was interested in managing his own driving career. But the fact was, Crosley didn’t have a racing career. Meanwhile, Newby had warned Aitken to never allow Crosley to drive a National, saying that Crosley was reckless. But all race pilots were reckless. Aitken figured it was something personal between the two, and maybe the fact that Crosley worked for a competitor.
Crosley had approached him early that week, wanting to go for a high-speed ride so he could write about it for the newspapers. Aitken wondered whether Crosley’s employer might object, but the young man had told him it was no problem, that he was using a pen-name to make extra money.
Crosley could easily have fabricated a story, but, as he told Aitken, he was a stickler for authenticity, and he wanted a ride worth writing about. “Take her out and show me what she can do,” he said. “Let’s see if you can break eighty-five!”
Never one to turn down a challenge, Aitken had agreed to meet the young man at 8:00 AM on Friday, when no one else would be on the track. So here he was, sitting at the inside of turn four, the National’s green paint gleaming in the weak sunlight and its distinctive radiator pointing at the mile-and-a-half straightaway stretching south. He had just swung the car around and raised his goggles when he saw a black Model-T Ford coupe bumping across the collection of potholes and dirt clods that was called the parking lot. That would be Crosley.
Breezing by the paddock entrance, the Model T gained the brick track just north of turn one and sped along the straightaway toward Aitken. He watched as the car accelerated, counting off the seconds. Doing forty-five, at least, Aitken guessed. Less than two minutes later, the black coupe slowed and lurched to a stop on the berm next to the National roadster. The door opened and a tall, thin young man in a starched white shirt, coat, and black bowler hat stepped out and unfolded himself.
“Morning, Stretch,” Aitken greeted him.
Crosley grinned, which had the effect of making his long face even longer. “Are we ready?”
“Ready as we’ll ever be, I reckon.” Aitken gunned the engine, its unmuffled roar shaking the ground.
Crosley placed his hat on the Model T’s bench seat, then climbed into the mechanic’s seat on the left side of the National. This being a stripped-chassis car—the only kind Aitken drove—the seat was bolted directly to the frame rail. The cockpit was completely open. The only enclosed space was the cowling around the engine. Crosley donned a cap and goggles laying on the floorboard. Aitken adjusted his goggles.
Crosley gripped the hand-hold to the left and below his seat, nodded, and Aitken throttled up. Crosley heard the roar of the engine and the scraping sound of the rear tires slipping on the worn bricks, and then they were hurled forward, leaving Crosley feeling, as he would later write, “as if the earth were being jerked out from under me.”
A minute later, they swung into turn one at sixty-five miles per hour. Crosley leaned left as the big National ran up the slope of banked track to within a foot of the edge. Aitken laughed and guided the car through the quarter-mile straightaway and the inside of turn two. Crosley glanced at the speedometer. The needle was approaching seventy.
“Hang on!” Aitken yelled, barely audible over the big engine’s roar. Coming out of turn two, a jarring vibration shook the vehicle twice, then smoothed out. Now doing seventy-six miles per hour, they were barely a third of the way through the back straightaway.
Crosley grabbed the second hand-hold, attached to the back of Aitken’s seat, and hunched down behind the cowling. They were going faster than he had ever driven. The sensation was exhilarating, but at the same time a bit discomforting since he wasn’t the one behind the wheel.
The acceleration finally let up as the car swooped through turn three, inches from the inside wall. Now Crosley leaned right, lest he come into contact with the blurred concrete surface. Dust flew and grit stung his face.
Coming out of turn four, Aitken poured on the coal again. The speedometer needle crept to eighty and hung there, quivering. Crosley glanced at Aitken, who stared fixedly ahead, his body rigid. There was a final burst of speed and Crosley felt the car “laying into the groove,” almost as if it was settling closer to the ground. The rumbling of the tires took on a deep bass note.
As they headed back into turn one, Crosley thought about tires. He thought about Cedrino. Cedrino, the ace driver who had been tossed to his death on this very turn when a tire failed and burst, turning his beautiful machine into a nightmare pinwheel.
“—qualified!” Aitken shouted.
“What did you say?” Crosley looked over at Aitken’s now-grinning face.
“I said I qualified. I passed seventy-five miles an hour and held it. That’s the qualifying speed for the race. All I have to do is do it again from a running start next Thursday, when I do my qualifying run. Should be a cinch!”
Aitken had let up on the throttle as they came out of turn one for the second time. Now the car surged as Aitken accelerated through the short straight. Crosley glanced at the speedometer, expecting it to see it rise back to eighty. But the needle was pegged at zero. The speedometer was broken and Aitken hadn’t noticed.
Carl Graham Fisher stood pompously—the only way he was capable of standing—and glared past his cigar at the partially-completed timing stand in the oval track’s infield.
“God damn it, boys! Have you been sitting on your asses all day?” He removed the cigar to spit, then eyed the dark clouds rolling in from the northwest. “It’s looking like rain again, and you haven’t even started on the damned roof!”
The crew of carpenters and helpers scowled back at Fisher, who now stalked toward them, his expensive two-tone shoes making squelching noises in the mud. “Who the hell is in charge here?” he squawked. “Dammit—just who the hell is in charge?”
The foreman, a stocky man with a short, curly beard, nodded. “That’d be me, Mister Fisher. I’m sorry we ain’t got to the roof yet, but we been workin’ inside while we’re waitin’ on shingles, so as not to waste your time and money.”
The wind expertly taken out of his sails, Fisher squinted through comically thick glasses, spat out the chaw of tobacco in his mouth, and stuck in a fresh one. “Well, then, who in blazes didn’t deliver the shingles?” he demanded.
“That’d be the supplier,” he drawled. “Portman’s lumber yard.”
“I’ll burn that son-of-a-bitch,” Fisher muttered, then turned abruptly and marched back across the infield. Crossing the brick surface of the track, he stamped his feet to remove the mud from his shoes, which effort was rewarded by splatters of mud on his sky-blue slacks. He didn’t notice.
The big yellow 1911 Cadillac Model 30 was idling on the other side of the brick track outside the paddock entrance where he’d left it. Jane Watts Fisher sat quietly beneath the canvas roof, eyes resting on the slightly rolling Indiana landscape to the east. Trees, corn, and the occasional barn were visible in the distance, the scene distinguished from a painting only by the stirring of stunted cornstalks in the brisk May breeze.
Nearer was the timing tower, which reminded her of the pierhead light outside Michigan City at the Dunes, only square instead of octagonal. Just beyond that she could see Grandstand C, about three-quarters of a mile away. Several men shoveled a pile of something into a wagon next to the structure. A mule stood unmoving in a harness attached to the wagon.
The car leaned and creaked as Carl Fisher stepped up on the right-side running board. “Dumb bastards!” he said, shoving his bulk behind the huge steering wheel. He spoke as if he were announcing dinner.
“Who, dear?” Jane asked.
Fisher put the car into reverse and advanced the throttle. “All of ‘em, just all of ‘em. There’s not a man who can get a job done without being reminded of what he’s supposed to do. I swear, I don’t know how the world gets by.
“Five days, Jane—only five days until the race, and the grandstands aren’t painted.” He finished backing the car around to point it in the direction of the drive that led south to the highway. “The God damned mud is everywhere, and Newby’s complaining about the tickets, and—” he paused to turn his head and spit into the breeze, “and the lumber yard can’t find half the materials it was supposed to have here last week!”
Jane looked away for a moment as he wiped “tobacco juice” from his cheek with a stubby finger. “It will come together in the end, dear.” She patted his arm. “Everything you do comes together. It’s just that it takes you to make it happen, and I know that’s hard on you.”
The heavy car lurched over the rutted, tree-lined drive that led to the highway. Fisher slowed as they approached the Speedway entrance, which was framed by an eight-foot high green-and-white picket fence. He waved at the man watching the gate, and noticed that his cigar had gone out. He stopped the car, fished in his coat pocket for a match and struck it on the Cadillac’s dashboard, incidentally scarring the polished wood surface for the hundredth time.
As he puffed the cigar alight he mumbled around it, “Well, I’ll damned well make it happen, or know why. You can take that to the bank!”
They rode the rest of the way into Indy in silence, the car’s suspension fighting bravely to smooth out the bumps and dips of 16th Street. Roads, Fisher mused, now there’s something else that needs done.
But his ideas about roads—wide paved roads running south to Florida and west to California—would have to wait. For now, the race consumed nearly every waking moment. And as usual it looked like he was going to have to do everything. Allison and Wheeler had put up more money but begged off managing the new construction at the track, pleading business pressures. Business? Hell, he was in business with Allison—they owned the Prest-O-Lite Company, and made headlamps for just about every car that rolled off an assembly line, from Fords and Cadillacs on down to John North Willys’ Overlands. Though how much longer they would be doing that was debatable.
Partners—why did he bother? They left it to him to hire and supervise contractors, deal with track management and the manufacturers who wanted time at the brickyard, and handle just about everything else to do with the coming International 500-Mile Sweepstakes. Here he was, lining up last-minute publicity and confirming drivers and a thousand and one other things that a man in his position ought not to be bothered with. And on top of that, Arthur Newby was trying to slip out of paying for the tickets because he hadn’t okayed the printer.
Fisher turned south on West Street, silently appreciating the now-smoother road surface. At Washington Street a quick left aimed them at Monument Circle—the most confusing street in America, for Fisher’s money. It was a simple roundabout, but for some reason it induced manic confusion in local and out-of-town folks. But that was one of the things that made Indy its own city: rather than a town square, it had a town circle.
Fisher turned right onto Monument Circle, edging into the counterclockwise traffic flow while cursing the driver of a Buick who seemed intent on forcing him up on the sidewalk. Before Fisher could damn the driver to Hell a second time, the Buick sped up and got out of the way. He drove three-quarters of the way around the roundabout and turned north onto Meridian Street. His goal was the Fisher Automobile Agency, whose sign loomed over the building four blocks away.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he announced, out of nowhere.
Jane Fisher was accustomed to her husband speaking without referents, sometimes picking up a conversation from the day before. “About?” she prompted.
“About the Star. They want me to take out a whole signature—a four-page advertisement for the race, to run Monday. I just don’t know that I should buy another damned advertisement. The King of Siam himself must have heard about the race by now. What is another advertisement going to do? Nothing.”
He drove across the concrete apron that fronted the Fisher Automobile Agency and into the building’s cavernous garage, sounding the Cadillac’s new electric horn in case no one noticed him. He shut off the motor and climbed out, nodding to a shop hand to take care of the car as he stepped around the front to help Jane down from the running board. He paused to look down the length of the garage, wide enough for three ranks of autos, with mechanics at work on a half-dozen in the light from the big windows on the building’s north side. At a glance, he picked out several new Cadillacs, as well as Oldsmobiles, REOs, and an Apperson. Coupes, phaetons, sedans, runabouts—nearly every style of automobile made.
Jane waited patiently for him by the door to the offices. At 17, she had an infinity of patience when it came to her husband, largely because she had yet to learn that she couldn’t change him. But they had only been married for two years; that sad realization would come later. In the meantime, she was content to be the supportive wife of a mad genius businessman.
Satisfied that nothing he had to handle was afoot in the shop, Fisher spun on one heel and headed for the twin doors to the offices. He pulled open the right-hand door, held it for Jane and followed her in. Ahead of them was a long hallway that led to a showroom, with several office doors on either side. Immediately to the right was a staircase, then a wide counter behind which a neat young man operated an adding machine and made notations in a ledger. The walls were covered in dark wainscoting that rose halfway to the ceiling, white plaster filling in the rest. The ceiling itself wore painted tongue-and-groove paneling. Criscrossing it were new electrical conduits that supplied lights up and down the hallway.
Seconds after the door swung shut behind Fisher and his wife, heads began popping out of the office doors while others peered down the length of the hall from the showroom, as if a silent alarm had gone off.
They all rushed him at once. The salesmen wanted to talk with him, as did the sales manager, the office manager, and the shop manager. Fisher held up his hands, shook his head and darted up the dark staircase to his private office, Jane at his heels.
Copyright © 2002, 2006, Michael A. Banks

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Early Television Museum

Kudos to the Early Television Museum! This past weekend the Museum held its annual convention, and I was priviledged to be one of the speakers.

The museum itself is well worth a visit (as is its Web site)! It's just outside Columbus, Ohio and--yep--they had Crosley televisions, along with examples of just about every other brand. Kits, too; I was especially interested to see the 3-inch phospher-tube kit set that NRI provided back in the 1940s.

Hundreds of televisions, cameras and accessories are on display. There's also the Dave Johnson Cathode Ray Tube collection, and for the con a mobile unit (truck) from the early 1950s was on display.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Get a Crosley: The Conversation Piece You Can Drive!

Watching people admire Tom Miller's 1948 Crosley station wagon (that's Tom holding the Crosley's door) at various signings and talks, this slogan came to me. I think it could have been used to sell new Crosley automobiles:

Get a Crosley: The Conversation Piece You Can Drive!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Watching Opening Day from WLW's Remote Vehicle

If you were a WLW-TV engineer back in 1949, you would have watched the game on the small monitor at the upper-left in the photo. In black-and-white, of course. The monitor is a Crosley TV with twin speakers.

And here's an exterior shot of the remote unit itself, a GM bus.
Cropyright © Michael A. Banks 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ruth Lyons and Opening Day

When I was very young, and on through my early teen years, Ruth Lyons was always a part of Cincinnati Reds Opening Day. She was a lifelong fan; in researching my upcoming bio of Ruth Lyons (Orange Frazer Press, May, 2009) I learned that she used to talk about the Reds on her WKRC radio program as far back as 1929, back when women weren't supposed to be interested in baseball.

Ruth always turned out for Opening Day. And some will remember her singing "Rally 'Round the Reds" on the 50/50 Club.

Dayton Daily News columnist Chick Ludwig has collected memories of Ruth Lyons and Opening Day at his blog Chick at Large. Click here to see Chick's tribute to Ruth Lyons.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Crossley's Crosley!

Richard Crossley continues his Crosley Flying Flea project. As you can see in the accompanying photo from Richard, he's added a scale pilot. Looks a bit like Eddie Niermaier. (Click image to enlarge.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

For Whom Would Powel Crosley, Jr. Vote?

Even though Powel Crosley, Jr. was friends with James Middleton Cox (Democratic Presidential candidate in 1920, Governor of Ohio, etc.) and other prominent Democrats, I believe he would vote for John McCain today.

Crosley was a lifelong Republican supporter who donated thousands and thousands of dollars to Republican candidates. His father was a founder of the Republican Club. I believe he always voted the party line. And I think all this is why FDR allowed the FRC to force WLW to throttle down to 50,000 watts in 1939. (That alone would have been enough to dissuade him from supporting any Democrat.)

However, if he voted Democratic, he would vote for Obama before Clinton. Because he was a product of his times, and because of certain comments and attitudes on record, he would be incapable of believing a woman could handle the job of President of the United States.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Richard Crossley's Crosley-Mignet Flying Flea!

What is it? The beginnings of a scratch-built scale model of the Mignet-Crosley Flying Flea, being built by Richard Crossley in the UK.

Richard builds small-scale free-flight models for indoor flying (a wonderful hobby--you don't have to chase them far!) I've shared some photos of the original Flying Flea with him, and I think I may try building it in a few months. (A switch from model rockets.)

Click on the photo to see a larger version of the fuselage. There will be more photos of the Crossley-Crosley Flying Flea here as the work progresses.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Book Preview

For anyone who may not have seen them already, there are several chapters from my book Blogging Heroes available online in PDF format. The chapter that interviews Chris Anderson is right here at his blog, The Long Tail. Have a look--it's a good sample!

In the interview, Chris notes that, "I do my best thinking via my blogs." Here are quotes from a few other bloggers I interviewed for the book:

* "For me, the future of journalism is blogging."-- Mary Jo Foley, All About Microsoft
* "One of the true beauties and powers of blogs is that they can give voice to people who are not heard."-- Frank Warren, PostSecret
* "When I look out at the blogosphere, I don't see lots of inconsequential blogs. I see lots of possibility."-- Gina Trapani,

Crosley Broadcasting Goes on the Air with Television, 60 Years Ago

Today (February 9) is the 60th Anniversary of Crosley Broadcasting’s first regular commercial television broadcasts. WLWT, Cincinnati’s Channel 5, went on the air on February 9, 1948. Here’s an artist’s rendering of the Crosley Broadcasting facilities as seen from the air. This site was on Chickasaw Street in University Heights.

I'll be sharing some photos of early Crosley television activities over the next couple of weeks.

Crosley's initial experiments with television began in 1939, with TV demos at the Carew Tower and inside the Crosley Pavilion at the Chicago World's Far. (Crosley was partnered with DuMont at the time.)

HDTV Converter Box Coupons

A bunch of people have asked me about the Federal government's HDTV converter box coupon program, and TV newscasts are pushing it hard, but I assume a lot of people are hearing about it but not getting the details. For those who are interested, the deal is that the Feds will give you one or two (maximum) coupons for $40 off a digital TV converter box. But you have to use the coupon(s) within 90 days of when they're mailed to you. I figure the retail end will mark up prices when the coupons start coming in.

For info, call: 888.388.2009 Or go to and apply online.
Download a mail-in coupon at
Or write: TV Converter Box Program, P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208.
Remember: The coupon expires 90 days after it's put in the mail to you, so don't request one until you're ready to buy.

I think Powel would have come out with a converter box that would undersell all the rest, even with coupons. "Buy CROSLEY! No coupon necessary!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WLW and Sponsor Stunts

One of Crosley Broadcasting's biggest moneymakers was Ruth Lyons. On radio, and later on television, her show commanded network rates from advertisers, so huge was her following. The sponsors didn't mind, because when she spotlighted a product, people bought it. She would often involve sponsors' products in stunts--more so on television. In the 1950s and 60s she gave away cars (Hello, Oprah!), threw sponsors off the show (until the next day), and made sure everyone in every audience went home with a nice prize.

Paul Dixon, who preceded Lyons with a morning show, did similar things, but in his own way. Which is to say, he did stunts for their own sake. He had a gimmick called "Kneesville" that he used to get women in the audience to wear short skirts and displaly their legs. When "hot pants" came into style, he designated one show "Hot Pants Day," and had all these lovely young women in the audience wearing extreme short-shorts.

Today I happened across a reprise of a Tyra Banks show in which she and a bunch of women took off their jeans. I was immediately reminded of Lyons and Dixon. Why? The incentive for the strippers was a new pair of custom-fit jeans from a specific (and oft-mentioned) manufacturer. It was a great gimmick. For the cost of a few dozen pairs of jeans the sponsor got lots of valuable expsoure (just like Pontiac on Ophra and Chevrolet on Ruth Lyons' shows). And as with Paul Dixon, the audience got a show--men in one sense, women in another. (To round things out, Tyra Banks is carried by NBC, of which network WLW was a founding associate.)

(If Dixon and Lyons are unfamiliar to you, you may want to have a look at the book Cincinnati Television, by Jim Friedman.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Real Story Behind the Woman in the Crosley House

Recently I had the fortune to talk with someone who was very close to the Lewis M. Crosley family, and get the full story about the rumors of Lewis Crosley supposedly having kept a mistress in a house on Loiswood Drive in College Hill. As it turns out, someone did keep a mistress in the house--but it wasn't Lewis Crosley.

The house was part of a development built by a Mr. Wood. (Hence, the name Loiswood Drive, and the other streets in the development that end in "wood"--Hollywood, Elmwood, etc.) The neighbors occasionally made funny remarks about the house that didn't quite make sense to the Crosleys. All they knew was that they had bought the house new from Mr. Wood.

Or so they thought. The house Lewis Crosley and his wife bought was originally built by Mr. Wood for his mistress. Then he found his mistress in bed with one of his drivers.

He threw her out of the house. She packed up and left, but on her way out she took a hatchet to the walls. Wood's workers apparently did an excellent job of repairing the damage; the Crosleys thought the house had never been lived in. Incidental to this, Wood had planned on putting in a pool. This explained the larger-than-necessary water service put in for the property, on which they blamed their high water bills. The water bills aside, the story was always a source of great amusement for them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recommended Reading: Zenith Radio History

Lt. Commander Eugene F. MacDonald was one of the founders of Zenith Radio, and served as the company's President until his death. He was also a good friend of Powel Crosley, Jr. The two carried on good-natured competitions (as when Zenith brought out the world's largest radio, only to be one-upped by Crosley's WLW Model Super Power Radio Receiver). Like Powel Crosley, MacDonald was a yachtsman. He was a frequent guest at Crosley's Florida Sea Gate mansion, and owned an island near Crosley's Nissaki on the Canadian shore of Lake Huron.

MacDonald was also an adventurer, backing the Macmillan/Byrd polar expedition (and providing radio support) and participating in underwater archaeology in the Great Lakes. In addition to these interests, MacDonald was deeply interested in the possibility of mental telepathy and other parapsychological phenomena, and sponsored a national research program via radio broadcasts, in cooperation with Dr. J.B. Rhine.

As might be expected, Eugene F. MacDonald would make an interesting subject for a biography. Radio historians Harold N. Cones and John H. Bryant have taken on MacDonald’s story, in part, in Zenith Radio: The Early Years: 1919-1935. (This happens to be the period of Crosley's ... Zenith, so to speak.) If you enjoyed CROSLEY, you’ll want to add this book to your library, because the two men's stories intersect and because MacDonald is fascinating in his own right. Recommended.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crosleys in a Crowd

Just for fun, here's a photo you won't find in a newspaper or magazine. It's just too "busy." But if you look closely you should be able to pick out three 1939 Crosleys, the door of a fourth, plus a bare '39 Crosley chassis. (Click the image for the large version.)

The photo was taken at the grand unveiling of the Crosley at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 3, 1939. The cars and the crowd they drew are located on the track in front of the pagoda-like timing stand.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Tri-Shelvador!

Check out this Web page:
It's a cartoon that reminds us of the Crosley Shelvador. Crosley made a "Tri-Shelvador," but it didn't have this many doors! If Crosley was still making Shelvadors, they just might look like this one. Thanks to Jim Bollman for the link.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Crosley War Production: The Mark 14 Gun Sight

Quite a bit of attention has been focused on Crosley's involvement with the Radio Proxmity Fuze, a device that enabled Naval gunners (and others) to blow enemy aircraft out of the skies with deadly efficiency. Crosley's role was not inventing the device, but manufacturing it and increasing the efficiency of manufacture.

I'll write more about the Proxmity Fuze in a future post. (I was able to hold a couple of these in my hands while traveling recently.) Here I want to focus on another vital Crosley element of the war effort, the manufacture of the Mark 14 (or Mark XIV) gun sight. This gun sight (properly written as two words when it was in use) also increased the accuracy of gunners. A mechanical device, it compensated for gun mount movement, parallax, and other variables to help line the gun up with the target by angle and azimuth. The modern counterpart is the laser sight.
The Mark 14 was used with 20-mm, 1.10-inch, and 40-mm guns. The image above is from the Mark 14 gun sight's Operating Bulletin for gunners and range setters.