About RCA


Radio Club of America

World’s Oldest Radio Communications Society


These pages include news, information and opinion about the Radio Club of America, “the world’s oldest radio communications society.” Other radio communications societies pre-dated RCA. For example, the Society of Wireless Telegraph Engineers was founded in Boston on Feb. 25, 1907. The Wireless Club started in the summer of 1908. These two societies no longer exist. RCA might have reason to say it is the oldest radio communications society in continuous existence, although it is not the first.


RCA was founded under a previous name, the Junior Wireless Club Limited. It resulted from an organizational meeting conducted on Jan. 2, 1909, at the Hotel Ansonia in New York. The meeting was attended by five teenagers who were interested in wireless telegraphy and by two adults who supported their endeavors. At the meeting, these seven individuals were designated as charter members and were elected as officers of the fledgling organization.


Two other adults also were elected as officers, although they were not present at the organizational meeting. One was a patent attorney and the father of one of the boys. The other was a renowned radio engineer.


One of the two adults who were present was a real estate developer who owned the Ansonia. He was the father of another one of the five boys. His family lived in the 17-story Ansonia, which included rental rooms and luxurious permanent residences. His son had his wireless telegraph station in the family’s apartment and an antenna on the roof.


The other adult at the organizational meeting was a former patent-office clerk who, by 1909, had become an aviation pioneer. For at least a year, she had been helping some of the boys with another interest of theirs: building operational model airplanes. During 1908, she also made space available in her studio for the boys to build wireless telegraphy equipment. She arranged for them to display their apparatus at an exhibition. She probably met one of the boys through his father, the patent attorney, and probably met the developer of the Ansonia and his son when they came to the exhibition in response to an invitation published in a newspaper encouraging youngsters to bring their wireless apparatus.


The adults were:

  • W.E.D. Stokes Sr., director general (real estate developer)
  • E. Lillian Todd, honorary president (aviation pioneer)
  • Prof. Reginald A. Fessenden, consulting engineer (radio engineer)
  • Frederick Seymour, esq., counsel (patent attorney)

    The teenagers were:

  • W.E.D. Stokes Jr., president
  • George Eltz, vice-president
  • W. Faitoute Munn, recording secretary
  • Frank King, corresponding secretary
  • Frederick Seymour, treasurer

  • Copyright 2007 by Don Bishop

    more to come …

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