Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
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Lorain Electronics Corporation Papers - GLMS 26
The original scrapbooks for this collection were loaned to Bowling Green State University in August 1977 by Jack Cain. Microfilming was completed on Sept. 18, 1977 and the original items were returned to Mr. Cain. Literary and property rights are dedicated to the public. Photocopying from the microfilm and duplication of the reel are permitted for research purposes.
The Lorain Electronics Corporation began as a minor adjunct to a family-owned telephone company and became an industry giant in telecommunications. Albert V. Hageman (1872-1938) entered the communications technology field in 1897 by forming the Black River Telephone Company in Lorain, Ohio. Younger brother Herman E. Hageman (1881-1964) joined the business in 1903. The Hagemans were both born on a farm in Lorain County's Black River Township and spent most of their lives in or near Lorain. Albert graduated from Oberlin College in 1894 and Herman graduated from Ohio Wesleyan College in 1903. Both returned to the Lorain area to pursue careers in the business world.
The Hagemans expanded their original company by forming the Lorain Telephone Company. Radio broadcasting became an interest of the Hagemans and they formed the Lorain County Radio Corporation as a subsidiary of the telephone company in 1928. Several ventures in commercial radio failed. A plan was devised to run an additional wire to the homes of subscribers and provide music through speakers placed in the home. Wireless radio companies provided free programming and more listener choices. The plan was abandoned in the face of the competition.
The success of wireless radio did influence the Hagemans to invest in that lucrative field. In 1933 the ship-to-shore radio attracted the Hagemans' interest. By 1934 a working unit was installed on the steamer WILLIAM C. ATWATER. The value of the radio unit an its extensive ranger were demonstrated when Captain E. R. Morton fell down a flight of stairs and received severe injuries. The boat was several hours from the Marquette, Michigan hospital at the time. The ship-to-shore radio allowed a call to be made to Lorain, OH where a doctor was brought to the radio station and provided advice that stabilized the Captain's condition. Skeptical lake captains now were insisting that fleet owners install the Hagemans' radio system on all boats.
Captains were sold on subscribing to the Lorain County Radio Corporation network. The Hagemans were faced now with convincing congressmen not to support the Copeland Act which proposed to require radiotelegraphy systems on lake boats and not radiotelephone devices. Testimony before the Federal Communications Commission in 1936 and 1937 led to committee reports that found the telegraph format to be less efficient than one using ship-to-shore radio. The Copeland Act was defeated.
Lobbying success permitted an expansion of the Lorain County Radio Corporation network. New stations were placed at 300 mile intervals in Port Washington, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota. These spacing patterns allowed the radio network to operate throughout the Great Lakes region.
The Hagemans became leading manufacturers of marine telecommunications equipment in the 1940s. Albert Hageman's death in 1938 brought Herman's son James into the top ranks of company managers. Herman and James Hageman ran the family business until the elder Hageman died in April 1964.
The father and son team supervised a technological leader that produced innovative equipment to retain its market share. The principal criticism of the Hagemans was that their radio network was so effective for vessel traffic that large backlogs of calls waiting to be placed developed with a limited number of channels in use to place them.
In 1966 the company name was changed to the current Lorain Electronics Corporation. In 1976 the company was purchased by Oakmont Marine Corporation.
The microfilmed scrapbooks in this collection document the history of the Lorain Electronics Corporation from 1931 to 1976. The news clippings and articles describe the growth of the company from a small entertainment-oriented manufacturer to a marine communications giant. The filmed scrapbooks are of overlapping dates and are prepared as follows:
Scrapbook 1: 1933-1939
Scrapbook 2: 1931-1956
Scrapbook 3: 1939-1970
Scrapbook 4: 1971-1975
Photographic items were removed and filed with the main HCGL photograph collection.
Contains 4 microfilmed scrapbooks and loose material compiled to document the history of the Lorain Electronics Corporation. News clippings, magazine articles and scattered pieces of correspondence compose the contents of the scrapbooks.
- Scrapbook 1, 1933-1939
- Scrapbook 2, 1931-1956
- Scrapbook 3, 1939-1970
- Scrapbook 4, 1971-1975
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