Sarah's Chess Journal

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         The History and The Culture of Chess

Mackay Radio

John William Mackay was an uneducated Irish immigrant who gained controlling interest in the Comstock Lode in the 1860's and became one of the countries richest men when he struck the Big Bonanza shelf valued at over $100 million in silver and gold. With this money he ventured into other businesses: establishing the Bank of Nevada, part ownerships of Spreckels Sugar Company and the Sprague Elevator and Electrical Works, directorship of the Canadian Pacific and the Southern Pacific railroads, ownership of additional mines in Colorado, Idaho, and Alaska as well as timberlands and ranches in California. Along with James Gordon Bennett, the publisher of the New York Herald, Mackay established the Commercial Cable Company which laid a new cable across the Atlantic, breaking the monopoly of the original cable owned by Western Union which was controlled by Jay Gould. A pricing war followed which Mackay won, but in the course of it Gould denied Mackay the use of Western Union telegraph lines in the continental United States. Mackay bought up small telegraph companies, consolidating them under a single nationwide umbrella called the Postal Telegraph Company. Later he formed the Commercial Pacific Cable Company intending to lay cable across the Pacific. John Mackay died in 1902, leaving his son Clarence $500 million. Clarence finished the Pacific cable in 1904.

In 1927, Clarence Mackay acquired the transmitting stations of the Federal Radio and Telegraph Company. This new company was called Mackay Radio and Telegraph.  Federal still retained their manufacturing facilities and produced the equipment for Mackay Radio under a 20 year contract.  Since Mackay didn't produce their own equipment until 1948, the equipment known as Mackay Radios were actually manufactured by Federal Radio.

Then in 1928, Mackay merged all it's companies under International Telephone & Telegraph Company (IT&T) which "combined an extensive network of submarine cables, telegraph land lines and the rapidly developing field of radio."

1930 Mackay Radiogram

However, the economy, the stock market crash with the resulting depression and the vagrancies of business conspired against Mackay and, in spite of product enhancements and market growth, IT&T found itself financially bereft by 1932 when it's stock value dropped from its 1929 high of $149/share to $2.63/share . Clarence Mackey lost most of his wealth and in 1935 his company filed for bankruptcy. Clarence Mackay died of cancer in 1938. The reorganization under the bankruptcy provisions  helped restore its solvency but at the eventual expense of Postal Telegraph merging with Western Union and with Mackay Radio and Telegraph and Commercial Cable going to American Cable & Radio Corporation (AC&R).




                The Equipment of the Radio Match









        Fred Reinfeld (on the microphone) - teletype operators on left                                  Russian teletype operators




More Soviet radio operators
in the center is engineer V. Gegtyareva








Alexander Kotov dictating his final radiogram to Kashdan in New York.
Salo Flohr is watching the recording of the message.







Mayor LaGuardia examines the first move message received from Moscow Sept. 1 at 10:10 a.m. (Smyslov's 1. e4 against Reshevsky)
while Maurice Wertheim (r) and  Henry Lileu,
supervisor for Mackay Radio, look on.