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Everett Scanlon Radio Specialties Company was small but worth a page for the unique items it sold. I have found their ads for balloon Aerials, Gravity Batteries, Chimney Aerials, Ribbon Wire and ways to inflate the balloons. Incidently the gas for the balloons was Hydrogen, which is highly flamable! Remember the Hindenburg? There was three ways listed to get the Hydrogen gas: in tanks, making it in a jug with acid & iron and by using electrolysis of water. Their motto was "There is nothing like a good high aerial.

Although balloon antennas seem like a simple idea, searching for ads from the 1920's did not turn up a single ad other than the ones Everett Scanlon sold. I could also not find a patent for his particular antenna but did find one for another design from 1925. US1650461 He even wrote letters about them in the September, 1924 issue of Radio Digest 9 and the October, 1924 issue of Radio Broadcast 10.

One non-related invention attribtued to Scanlon is a copyright record for malting eveporated milk in the 1921 8.

The Providence Journal had an article on March 28th, 1924, page 8, that told of the city of Providence instructing the police to tell people with balloon arials to make them down because of safety concerns. Dispite this, Scanlon continued to place ads and write letters about the antennas in Radio Digest, Popular Radio, Radio News, Radio Broadcast, Popular Mechanics, and Radio Progress up to December 1926. Since the ads were in national publications, maybe the Providence Safety Council never saw them or they were illegal to own but not to sell.

Click to enlarge
Providence Journal
March 28th, 1924, page 8
Device to Support Wire Declared
Menace to Public Safety
Providence Journal
March 28th, 1924
page 8

Providence police at roll call last night were instructed to advise persons whom they found using a certain type of radio serial, to take them down, on account of the danger to the person using them.

The aerial in question consists of a collapsible rubber balloon which, when inflated with illuminating gas to a diameter is supposed to be capable of carrying the end of a light lacquered wire into the sir and sustaining it there. The other end of the wire is led through an insulated leader into the home and attached to the receiving set.

A member of the Providence Safety Council, and electrical engineer, purchased one and carried it to the Safety Council office, where Manager Seabury advised that it be shown City Engineer Ralph W Eaton. Mr Eaton realized that it was an absolute menace to public safety and referred the matter to City Solicitor Elmer S. Chace, who notified the police that be considered it their duty to see they they were not used.

The danger, according to the electrical expert, is in the chance of the wire coming in contact with electricity charged wires, either by swaying against them as the balloon is carried back and forth by the wind and air currents or by falling across them in case it becomes deflated of the wire breaks, and carrying the full strength of the current to the person using the radio received.

“It might be all right in the middle of a 10-acre lot so long as it stayed there.” The electrician declared. “But in Providence, with all the high tension wires we have strung about, somebody is liable to be electrocuted. If these things continue to be sold, I expect somebody to be killed within two or three days. It not only endangers the user, but if the wire breaks of the balloon falls, it endangers the people on the street”

Everett Scanlon himself was born in September 11th, 1895 6 to Thomas and Annie (O'Rourke 11), Irish emigrants. 1 At age 18 he had no occupation listed. 2 At age 14, Scanlon had a brush with death when he caught on fire when a engine used to make ice cream caught some near by gas on fire. 12.

At age 21 in 1918 he is listed as a machinest at Brown and Sharpe and partially supporting his mother Annie and his sister 6 At age 24 he is listed as a Plasterer. 3 In 1925 at age 27 he still lived at home. 4 Between ages 29 (1924) and 31 (1926) the ads for his Balloon antennas are found.

This was right after a Popular Mechanics article from December 1924 expalaining the article. This same article was reprinted in papers across the country at the same time.

Scanlon died when he was 56 on May 24th, 1952 11

Popular Mechanics December, 1924

After the Popular Mechanics December, 1924 Article
Newpapers all of the country started running the same article
It was also about the time the Scanlon Ads started

Paper City State Country Day Month Date Year Page
The Bismarck Tribune Bismarck North Dakota United States Monday December 15 1924 Page 4
Hamilton Evening Journal Hamilton Ohio United States Wednesday December 17 1924 Page 7
Pittston Gazette Pittston Pennsylvania United States Saturday December 20 1924 Page 4
Quad-City Times Davenport Iowa United States Sunday December 21 1924 Page 7
The Call-Leader Elwood Indiana United States Friday December 26 1924 Page 6
Albany Daily Democrat Albany Oregon United States Saturday December 27 1924 Page 3
Albany Democrat Albany Oregon United States Thursday January 1 1925 Page 4
Battle Creek Enquirer Battle Creek Michigan United States Sunday January 4 1925 Page 8
Belvidere Daily Republican Belvidere Illinois United States Monday January 5 1925 Page 7
The Herington Sun Herington Kansas United States Thursday January 8 1925 Page 6
The Call Schuylkill Haven Pennsylvania United States Friday January 16 1925 Page 4
The Lethbridge Herald Lethbridge Alberta Canada Saturday February 21 1925 Page 18

At age 30 he is listed as the head of household but having no spouse, that he owned the house and had a radio set. It also lists him as being a veteran of WWI. 5. On curious bit of infomration is a WWII registration card that is definitly the same Everett Scanlon as the correct birthday is listed. On this document he is listed as still living in Lakewood, RI but working at Federal Shipyard, Kearney, NJ. At his point he was 45 and at the tale end of the age for draft registration. 7

Radio Digest Article
Radio Progress, June 1st, 1924

Radio Digest Article
Radio Progress, June 1st, 1925

Radio Digest Article
By Everett Scanlon
September, 1924

Popular Mechanics
July 1923

Letter to Radio Broadcast
By Everett Scanlon
October, 1924

Radio Progress
August 1st 1925

Radio Digest, March, 1924

Radio Digest, October, 1924

Radio Digest, June, 1924

Radio News, November, 1925

Radio News, December, 1926

Radio News, March, 1925

Radio News, May, 1925

Radio News, January, 1925

Radio Digest, April 1924

Boston Herald, March 16, 1924

Popular Radio, August, 1926

Copyright Record for
Malting Eveporated Milk, 1921

Providence Journal
July 2, 1923

Providence Journal
April 6, 1930

balloon Aerial

Click here to enlarge
Gravity Battery

Click here to enlarge
Gravity Battery

Click here to enlarge
Gravity Battery

Gravity Battery

Curtesy of Creative Science Centre, Dr Jonathan Hare

1 1910 Census

2 1915 Census

3 1920 Census

4 1925 Census

5 1930 Census

6 WWI Draft Card

7 WWII Draft Card

8 1921 Catalogue of Copyright Entries

9 Radio Digest, September, 1924

10 Radio Broadcast, October, 1924

11 Providence Journal, May 25th, 1952

12 Providence Journal, July 19, 1909