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VOA Museum Looking For Crosley Items, Volunteers

John Kiesewetter
1941 Crosley radio dial at VOA Museum of Broadcasting

The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting wants a few more antique Crosley products for its fall exhibit on Cincinnati radio pioneer/entrepreneur/inventor Powel Crosley Jr.

Credit John Kiesewetter
1952 Crosley compact station wagon in Auburn, Ind.

"We plan to have a wide variety of items on exhibit from his iconic radios and appliances to the more esoteric hair-growing machine. But can always add others," says Jack Dominic, director of the museum at the 1940's Voice of America station,  8070 Tylersville Road, West Chester Township.

"I would appreciate your help in soliciting items that local people may have in the basement or attics.  We can accept them as donations or on long-term loan," Dominic says.

Already in the VOA collection are a:

--Shelvador refrigerator (the first fridge with a shelf on the door).

-- Crosley Pup radio (the first affordable, mass produced radio in 1925).

1937 advertisement for the Xervac

--Crosley Xervac  machine (to stimulate hair growth on balding men in 1937).

--Crosley cars (the first compact, built from 1939 to 1952).

--Reado print-out-out machine (a radio facsimile printer which converted radio waves into text and pictures, basically the first fax machine).

--Crosley Icyball (a refrigeration system that didn't use electricity or gas).

Crosley signed on WLW-AM in 1922. Crosley Broadcasting Corp. engineers built the first and only 500,000-watt commercial radio transmitter in 1934. In the early 1940s, Crosley built the VOA's "Bethany Relay Station," the most powerful shortwave transmitters in the world, west of the WLW-AM tower. The Bethany station broadcast for 50 years (1944-94).

"Based on the feedback from our visitors, there is a great amount of interest in the varied and innovative inventions and products developed by Crosley," Dominic says.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Nameplate from a Crosley Shelvador refridgerator

The Crosley exhibit also will include radios, phonograph players and other home appliances; his Crosley compact car; and the lighting for Crosley Field in 1935 for the first Major League Baseball night game.

The exhibit will open in September, when the museum expands its operation to be open every Saturday and Sunday. Currently it is open once a month, on the third Saturday.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Voice of America building on Tylersville Road in West Chester Township.

The VOA Museum of Broadcasting also needs volunteers to staff the increased hours. Dominic is looking for "men and women or all ages who appreciate history and enjoy relating stories to museum visitors. No experience or knowledge in broadcasting required."

Prospective volunteers will be asked to attend three training sessions and will be given reading material, including some first-person stories from listeners from all parts of the globe.  Dominic wants volunteers to be there a minimum of five hours per month, "but we can customize our schedule to accommodate their availability," he says.

If interested, contact Dominic by calling the museum at 513-777-0027 or emailing admin@voamuseum.org.