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W E Downey was a radio and wireless expert from Rhode Island that started as a ships radio operator and rose to a variety of positions in the Radio Division in the Department of Commerce.

In 1913 we find Mr Downey on board the SS Mackinaw steaming towards the Golden Gate. Homeward bound he was listening in for his ships call sign when out of the ether came the sounds of music. He removed his headphones and adjusted the earmuffs and listend again. Yes there was the music of a popular ochestral piece.

Downey immediatrly shot out of his seat and started searching the radio room for a phonograph put there by his mates as a trick 1.

Ths broadcast was most likely from Charles Herrold who made daily broadcasts for eight months from 1912 to 1913.


Charles Herrold, Inventor of Radio Broadcasting
By Gordon Greb, Mike Adams


In 1923, Downey is the Supervisor of Radio unfer Chief Supervisor, W D Terrell.

Radio World July 7, 1923


In 1924, the Depsrtment of Commerce took a radio census. Results showed 70 percent of the nations radios used vacuum tubes and 30 percent used crystal detectors.

Popular Radio
February 1924


Dubbed Uncle Sam's new Radio expert, Downey is appointed to the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce in 1925. It was said that "Upon His Shoulders Will Rest Practically All of the Government's Radio Problems"

Providence Journal January 31, 1925


In 1925 it was reported that there was a conversation between the cruiser Seattle off Australia and a amature operator in England, a total of 8000 miles. Downey commented, "It is a remarkable feat."
The New York Tribune July 22, 1925


In 1926, Downley toured the Southern District and inspected many of the leading Radio stations in the district.

Providence Journal April 3, 1926


Having visited Arlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami and Downey reported enthusiasm for radio at all points excepting Key West. He said static condition were the worst in New Orleans which seemed fo be in a sort of static pocket.

Radio World April 17, 1926


In 1926, Downey if part of a sub committee of the Department of Commerce overseeing every thing Radio throughout the country.

Radio Age, June 1926


Providence Journal
June 4, 1926


In 1928, Downey wrote an article, "Amateur Radio Virtually as Old Ad Science Itself"

Providence Journal
October 21, 1928


In late 1928, Downey reported that he had just returned from inspecting a new mopnitoring machine for use in New York and Boston, that will make sure radio stations stay on their assigned frequencies.

Providence Journal
December 30, 1928_3


In 1930 the United States made plans to will bring the idea to the International Radio Converance in Madrid, 1931 the ides to set aside broadcasting channels for the use by Education Institutions.

Providence Journal
December 7, 1930


In 1931 Downey is on the Committee on Radio Standardization.

Commitees Of The Institute
Of Radio Engineers 1931








1 Providence Journal June 29, 1924