On today’s date in 1925, Toronto’s Edward “Ted” Rogers, Sr. sold the world’s first alternating current (AC) radio tubes.
In December 1999, as part of its Millennium Collection, Canada Post issued a pane of four 46-cent stamps (Scott #1818) celebrating Canada’s media technologies. Featured on the stamps were Imax movies (SC #1818a), Softimage animation software (SC #1818b), Sir William Stephenson (SC #1818d) and Rogers’ radio tubes (SC #1818c). Printed by Ashton-Potter Canada on Tullis Russell paper, each of the stamps have general tagging along each side and enjoyed a print run of one million.
In April 1924, Rogers traveled to the U.S. and saw experimental AC receiving tubes at the Westinghouse laboratories in Pittsburgh. Soon after, he purchased the patent rights to some of these tubes, which he further developed into a design for a vacuum tube that would operate on AC. By the following year, using his new tubes, Rogers had produced a complete radio receiver as well as a “battery eliminator” for use with other manufacturers’ receivers, eliminating the need for costly batteries.
By August 1925, the Rogers Batteryless radio saw its first Canadian sales. It would be the first radio receiver in the world to operate from a household current.
Two years later, Rogers founded CFRB (Canada’s First Rogers Batteryless) radio station in Toronto. Since 2013, the station has been owned by Bell Media.
In 1933, Rogers Sr. had a son, Edward S. Rogers Jr., who would build Rogers Communications into a prominent media conglomerate.
Unfortunately, Rogers Sr. was met with an untimely death in 1939, when he died after complications from a hemorrhage in Toronto. He was 38 years old.