Radio stars (Dec 1938)

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RADIO STARS STORIES BEHIND FAMOUS FIRST FACTS {Continued from page 42) MERC0LIZED2M3IEAM Make your skin young looking. Flake off the stale, surface skin. Reveal the clear, beautiful underskin by using Mercolized Wax Cream regularly. Give your skin the combined benefits of cleansing, clear- ing, softening, smoothing and beautifying in every application of this single cream. Mercolized Wax Cream brings out the hidden beauty of the skin. Use Saxolite Astringent Daily THIS tingling, antiseptic astringent is delight- fully refreshing and helpful. Dissolve Saxolite in one-half pint witch hazel and apply. Try Phelactine Depilatory For quickly removing superfluous hair from face. Sold at cosmetic counters everywhere. From Painful Backache Caused by Tired Kidneys Many of those gnawing, nagging, painful backaches people blame on colds or strains are often caused by tired kidneys—and may be relieved when treated in the right way. The kidneys are Nature's chief way of taking ex- cess acids and poisonous waste out of the blood. Most people pass about 3 pints a day or about 3 pounds of waste. If the 15 miles of kidney tubes and filters don't work well, poisonous waste matter stays in the blood. These poisons may start nagging backaches, rheu- matic pains, leg pains, loss of pep and energy, getting up nights, swelling, purfiness under the eyes, head- aches and dizziness. Don't wait! Ask your druggist for Doan's Pills, used successfully by millions for over 40 years. They give happy relief and will help the 15 miles of kidney tubes flush out poisonous waste from the blood. Get Doan s Pills. .A 7 DAY 5HAMP00 FOR BLONDES..! You Keep the BRILLIANCE, LUSTRE and LOVELINESS this Shampoo Gives Blonde Hair for a WHOLE WEEK! Ends Dull, Between-Shampoo Look ! A single wash with this amazing new type shampoo in stantly removes the dull, dingy oil and dust laden film that leaves blonde hair lifeless, mouse-colored ami -old" looking, and enables you to keep that "jrST SHA.Mi'OOKlJ" look, all week. Done in ?. few minutes and at a cost of but a few pennies. New Hlondex gives your hair that glorious, lux trous, shimmering radiance that usually comes only in childhood. All shades of blondes find New Blondex leaves their hair lighter lovelier. Start BLONDEX today. Sold at all stores. 72 American gasoline automobile. Through his son he told listeners how his embryo auto, grand-daddy of the efficient, noiseless vehicles which we see everywhere today, was brought into being, how it proved its worth against obstacles which now seem ludicrous to us, and finally won a place in the life of America. During that broadcast it so happened that another pioneer of automobiling was listening in at his Brooklyn, N. Y., home. He was, as near as I can ever determine, the oldest veteran of the continual battle between pedestrians and autos. For when Duryea told about the first accident on record when an early Duryea car struck a bicycle and knocked its rider to the pave- ment, A. J. Wilbert called on the telephone after the broadcast and admitted he was the unfortunate bicyclist. "First facts" must not necessarily be of nation-shaking importance. Many triv- ial yet interesting exploits are also fit subjects for the broadcasts. Among them are such personages as a descendant of the inventor of the first safety pin, the first man to ride a bicycle at sixty miles an hour, the designer of the omnipresent Buf- falo Nickel, a man with the tale of the first rubber heel, and a lawyer who, years ago, conceived and broached the notion of the first NRA. Listeners often ask how I chanced to start on my long career of "first" seeking. It dates back, as I have said, a good many years to a period when I was a journalist, contributing to everything from the Con- fectioners' Journal to a casket-maker's pub- lication. I finally received an important commis- sion—to prepare a book on American in- ventions. That is how I set out on my exhaustive research. The more I delved into the records, however, the more con- fused I became, and finally arrived at this conclusion: That much of the historical data taught in our schools is sheer baloney! The credit always seemed to go to the in- ventor with the best publicity agent, and the little man, too engrossed in his be- loved work to advertise his exploits, was simply lost in the shuffle. One of the most interesting features about these "firsts" is that they always disagree with preconceived notions, directly contradicting many facts taught as gospel truth in our schools. For example, steam- boats were successfully operated twenty- five years before Fulton sailed his Cler- mont, and a practical sewing machine had been in operation fourteen years before Klias Howe, Jr., obtained his sewing ma- chine patent. But never do I make any statements for which there is not full and indisputable proof. The old adage, "There is nothing new under the sun," is still as true as it ever was. Many things which we con- sider novel or even revolutionary today were actually first done by the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Carthaginians or other enterprising ancients of both hemispheres. I think my favorite story is probably the obscure tale of a certain inventive genius. I uncovered it in the little Ver- mont town of Brandon, for it was here that the first electric motor sputtered and sparked its erratic way. An apprentice blacksmith named Thomas Davenport, without a penny to his name and gravely in debt, once walked thirty miles to view a new marvel called an electro-magnet. It impressed him so deeply that Daven- port threw common-sense to the winds and managed to borrow seventy-five dollars with which to purchase this strange device. He lugged it back to Brandon, took it apart, built a bigger one, until finally he evolved the principle of the electric motors which today do so much of the world's work. Through the trying weeks when debtors pounded at his door, Davenport's wife stood by him nobly, even tearing her only silk dress into strips that he might have the expensive cloth for his electrical experiments. Here, to me, is the perfect example of the self-sacrificing devotion to an ideal which marks a genius and, at the same time, by his indifference to fame, keeps him from finding a place in our history books. Imposters have never bothered me. Acquisition of many books and papers which I have bought, begged or borrowed, possess the only records extant on the sub- ject under discussion. Often it is impossible to secure the origi- nal records for my collection and I am naturally forced to have photostatic copies made. These include facsimiles of every- thing from crumbling manuscripts and let- ters to almost-illegible gravestones. I re- call one exciting moment in northern New York State, when, after crawling through the wilderness of an abandoned cemetery, I came upon the headstone for which I had been looking for several hours. I brushed aside the weeds and prepared to take a picture of it with my Graflex camera, which as you may know, has a folding top over the ground-glass viewing screen. The top snapped open as I bent over the camera and a very excited little garter snake flew out into my face and then wig- gled away through the deep grass. How he ever got into the camera I shall never know, but after this episode in the lonely .graveyard, it was days before my pulse returned to normal. I can thank radio, however, for giving me an entirely new angle on the compilation of Famous First Facts. It has proven to me beyond a doubt that people are eager to give credit where credit is due and to learn who are the real inventors, geniuses and pioneers in all the fields of endeavor. Consequently, each week I find a wider sq.urce of material presenting itself for my broadcasts. Without the cosmic coverage of the mi- crophone I might never have discovered these "firsts": Dr. Henry Louis Smith president emeritus of Washington and Lee University, who took the first X-ray pic- ture in the United States and owned the same equipment with which Roentgen an-