Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

Subject Tracings

A Finding Aid to the

Isidor Goldberg Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 599

1908-1992. 5.2 Linear ft.


The ISIDOR GOLDBERG PAPERS were donated to the American Jewish Archives
by Dr. Joan Goldberg Arbuse, New York, New York, in January, 1993.  Dr.
Arbuse, by the act of donating the ISIDOR GOLDBERG PAPERS to the American
Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives.
All literary rights to materials authored by Isidor Goldberg or Joan Goldberg 
Arbuse are held by their heirs.  Literary rights to materials authored by 
others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs.  Questions 
concerning copyrights should be addressed to the Director of the American
Jewish Archives.

The ISIDOR GOLDBERG PAPERS are open to all users.  The original manuscript
collection is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


Isidor Goldberg was born in Manhattan, New York, in 1893.  His 
parents immigrated from Vienna in 1878.  When he was about four years
old, Isidor's mother died leaving his impoverished father to support 
the boy and his two infant sisters in the East Side of New York.  
Isidor was taken in and raised at the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian 
Orphan Asylum in New York.  He graduated from Hebrew Technical Institute
in Mechanical Arts in 1908.

From 1910-1914, Goldberg was a test pilot for Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor 
Corporation or Curtiss Airways.  Afterwards he sold aeronautical supplies
and model airplanes.  In 1915 Goldberg was granted a U.S. patent for his
invention of an emergency lamp.

In 1919, Goldberg founded Pilot Electric Manufacturing Co. in Brooklyn, New York,
to manufacture parts and kits for home radios.  In 1930 a second plant was 
established in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  The name of the company was later 
changed to Pilot Radio and Tube Corp. and, as of 1932, to Pilot Radio Corp. 
By 1936 Pilot products were being sold in more than 90 countries.  In the 
late 1940s and early 1950s plants were built in Britain (prior to World War II),
South Africa (by 1953), and Israel (in 1947).  All three plants were sold in 1959.
Goldberg was president of the company from its inception until his death in 1961.  

Goldberg, as president of Pilot Radio Corp., was a leader in developing and 
introducing new products and new uses for communications equipment.  The company
was the first to introduce a civilian short wave radio (WASP, 1925) and a 
battery-powered, portable radio (1937).  In 1930 Goldberg pioneered in the 
development of long distance ground-to-air communications with his "flying 
laboratory".  In  1937 Pilot introduced the first "popular-priced" FM tuner
(Pilotuner).  The first real breakthrough in television technology was made 
by Pilot engineers in 1928.  The next year, Pilot sponsored the first scheduled
TV broadcasting and offered TV receiver kits for sale.  By 1937 the company was
producing ready-made TVs.  Ten years later Pilot marketed the first miniature 
(portable) TV receiver (Candid TV).  

During World War II, Pilot Radio Corp. produced communications equipment for 
the war effort and in 1945 won the prestigious Army Navy "E" Award for excellence
in production of war equipment.  The Signal Corps stationed an inspection team at 
the plant from 1942-1945 to help the firm convert from civilian to war-time 
production.  Even as late as 1949, 80% of the company's output was sent to the 
U.S. Government.  

The New York factory also supplied communications equipment to the Soviet 
and Chinese governments during the war.  Representatives of those two countries 
visited the Pilot factory between 1941 and 1945.  The British plant, Pilot
Radio, Ltd., headed by Goldberg's partner, Harry Levy, produced war equipment
for the British government during the war.

The U.S. Office of War Information required Goldberg to begin a record 
manufacturing plant to produce sound recordings designed to build the morale
of the armed forces.  After the war, Goldberg experimented with manufacturing
civilian recordings, but found the record industry too demanding and 
discontinued production in 1949.

By 1947 Goldberg began to replace war production with the manufacture of 
televisions.  In 1950 he joined other television manufacturers in protesting
a proposal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to assign the color
television system developed by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) as the 
system standard.  Goldberg argued that the CBS color system was still 
experimental and the FCC was trying to impose impossible deadlines on the 
rest of the industry.  By 1953 Pilot had added production of high fidelity (Hi-Fi)
radio/phonograph/television sets and components.

In addition to his activities as an inventor and innovative businessman, 
Goldberg was an ardent Zionist and philanthropist.  He was a co-founder of 
the United Jewish Appeal in the United States and a member of the Zionist 
Organization of America.  He established a subsidiary of his company in Tel Aviv
in 1947.  And he supplied communications equipment to the new Israeli
army in 1949.  

In 1923 and 1934 Goldberg helped Technion - Israel Institute of Technology to
acquire land in Haifa.  He supported Technion with funds for research 
scholarships because he realized the value of a technological education. 
Five years after Goldberg's death his widow established the Isidor Goldberg
Electronics Centre at Technion in his memory.  A Chair was named in Mrs. Joan
Goldberg Arbuse's honor in 1973 and she received an honorary doctorate from 
the university in 1987.

For many years, Goldberg maintained ties with the orphanage in which he was 
raised.  He served on the Board of Trustees for 33 years, until his death in
1961.  In 1928 he was elected to the Board of Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society 
(HSGS).  In 1940 he was a founding trustee of the Jewish Child Care Association, 
formed by the merger of the HSGS with two other New York child care organizations.  

In 1914 Goldberg bought a chicken farm on Staten Island and sold eggs as a 
sideline to selling wireless parts.  When his electronics business expanded he
sold the farm, but in 1925 he purchased a 325-acre dairy farm in Westchester 
County.  By day he ran his electronics factory and evenings he worked on his farm.

Isidor Goldberg had 3 children by his first wife, Rose Goldberg Lenitz. 
In 1936, Goldberg married his second wife, Joan, the daughter of a Jewish father and 
Quaker mother.  Isidor Goldberg died in 1961 at the age of 68.


The ISIDOR GOLDBERG PAPERS describe the career of Isidor Goldberg as a
businessman and inventor in the formative years of the electronics/radio/
television industry;  the history of Pilot Radio Corp., the multinational 
company he founded in 1919; and the philosophical interests of Goldberg 
and his wife, Joan Goldberg Arbuse.  The collection includes news articles, 
advertisments, photographs, correspondence, speeches, sound recordings, awards 
and personal items.  Much of the material was collected in chronologically 
arranged scrapbooks.  Most of the scrapbooks were dismantled to isolate the
photographs from the papers, to protect the materials from deteriorating scrapbook
pages, and to remove loose items from the scrapbooks.  Most of the latter were 
placed in the books out of chronological sequence. The items removed from scrapbooks
for the most part remain in the order (chronological) they were placed in the 
scrapbooks.  Four of the original fourteen scrapbooks remain intact.  The collection
is divided into four series: 

                C.  PHOTOGRAPHS

of 2 hollinger boxes (.8 ft.) of newspaper and magazine articles and 
advertisements, radio parts catalogs, operator's instrutions for radio 
and television products, correspondence, license agreement for a patent, 
and miscellaneous.  Series A is arranged chronologically in keeping with
the scrapbook arrangement.  The materials in series A span the years 1908-1960, 
but the bulk is dated 1925-1950.  

box (.4 ft.) of biographical articles, obituaries, correspondence, and 
programs concerning the life histories of Goldberg and his wife, Joan 
Goldberg Arbuse.  Series B also contains correspondence, bills, receipts,
programs and a hunting license pertaining to trips to London and
Africa; and miscellaneous materials.  Materials in series B span the years 

SERIES C.  PHOTOGRAPHS consists of 1 hollinger box (.4 ft.) of photographic 
prints (mostly 8x10" black and white photos) of employees, equipment, plant 
interiors, products, and innovations of Pilot Radio Corporation (and its 
progenitor, Pilot Electric Company).  Included are photographs documenting 
visits by foreign officials (from China and the Soviet Union during
World War II), and special company dinners and award ceremonies.  Isidor 
Goldberg is depicted in many of the photos, including the snapshots documenting
two of his visits to Israel and color prints showing the quarry from his 1953 
Safari hunt.  See also two oversize photos in series D. Materials in series C span
the years 1908-1960, but the bulk of images were photographed from 1928-1951.

boxes (3.6 ft.) of scrapbooks containing articles and advertising materials, 
technical drawings, a diploma, a certificate, and 2 large photographs.  The 
four sound recording discs described in the Box List are located in the AJA 
Sound Recording Disc Collection.  Materials in series D span the years 1908-1959,
but the bulk of materials are dated 1928-1951.


Box  Folder    Contents

          [Chronological arrangement]

1    1    Reprint of Modern Electrics (Issue No. 1, 1908), with memo, 1958
     2    Description of Pilot trademark, 1919
     3    Radio parts advertisements, 1925
     4    Radio parts catalogs, 1928-1930
     5    Radiocultura magazine cover photo, Rio de Janeiro, Jl 15, 1929
          [See Box No. X-385 for technical drawings of 1928 TV and for
          scrapbook of articles re:  Pilot products, 1928-1931]
     6    License agreement for English patent, 1930; with memo, 1931
     7    Articles and advertising materials, 1930-1931
     8    Articles re:  purchase of Everett Mills in Lawrence, Mass., 
               1930-1931   [Also see scrapbook of 1929-1930 articles re: 
               Everett Mills purchase in Box No. X-385]
          [See Box No. X-386 for scrapbook containing ads for competitors
               products, 1932-1933]
     9    Ad series (New York Times), 1936-1937
     10   Radio advertisements, 1937, 1939
     11   Pilot Radio in India, 1937, 1953
     12   Article and ad from FM magazine, 1941
     13   Articles re:  Soviet Embassy, 1941; and letter from Semenov, 1959
               [See also photographs of Russian delegation, 1944-1945, in
               Folder 4/8 and speech by Isidor Goldberg in Folder 1/14]
     14   Russian language instruction booklet for portable field radio,
     15   Correspondence, maps, and miscellaneous, re:  lease of
               warehouse/factory in Brooklyn, N.Y., 1943-1950
     16   Chinese Supply Mission, 1944   [See also photographs of Chinese
               delegation at field radio test, Ja, 1944, in Folder 4/7
               and speech by Isidor Goldberg in Folder 1/14]
     17   Army-Navy "E" Award, My, 1945   
               [See also photographs in Folders 4/10 and 4/11, and Sound
               Recording Disc Collection]
     18   Pilotuner FM receiver operating instruction booklet, c. 1947
     19   Letters endorsing Pilot FM tuners, 1947
     20   Articles and ads for Pilotuner FM receivers, Pilotone records, and
               the American Forum of the Air, 1947

2    1    Operating instructions for "Candid T-V," 1948
     2    Advertising materials for Pilot television sets, 1949-1950
     3    Articles re:  Pilot television sets, 1949
     4    Articles re:  Pilot television sets, Ja-Mr, 1950

     5    Articles re:  Pilot television sets, Ap-N, 1950
               [See also photograph in Folder 4/1 of Robert Hertzberg on
               1950 TV show]
     6    Color TV controversy, S, 1950
     7    Color TV controversy, O, 1950
     8    Color TV controversy, N-D, 1950 and My, 1951
     9    Historic (1928) TV demonstration, N 8, 1950
     10   Pilot Radio Ltd., London - advertising materials, 1950-1952
     11   British Industries Fair at Earls Court, London, 1951 
               [See also photographs in Folder 4/16]
     12   Articles re:  Hi-Fi components, 1953, 1957-1958
     13   Ad brochure for Pilot Radio Ltd., Israel, n.d. [mid-1950s?]
     14   Isidore Abramson (Johannesburg, South Africa) - correspondence,

3    1    Isidor Goldberg - biographical materials, 1929-1989 and n.d.
               [See also diploma, 1908, in Box X-385]
     2    Isidor Goldberg Electronics Center at Technion Israel Institute
               of Technology - correspondence and biographical materials
               re: Isidor Goldberg and Joan Goldberg Arbuse, 1966-1992
     3    Safari in Kenya and business trip to Johannesburg, 1953
     4    Trips to London (royal wedding and royalty), 1947-1952
     5    Miscellaneous, 1979 and n.d.

4    1    1928 television broadcasting and reception equipment, 1928, 1950
               [See also letter, Hertzberg to Goldberg, in Folder 2/5]
     2    Pilot Electric Company staff, 1929
     3    Views of plant departments (Brooklyn and Lawrence), 1929-1930
     4    Pilot Radio products, 1930-1931
     5    Pilot dealer in India, with Shirley Temple, n.d.
     6    Pilot Radio sales exhibit, D 15, 1939
     7    Field radio test in bitter cold with Chinese delegation at
               Goldberg farm, Ja, 1944
     8    Russian delegation, 1944 or 1945 
               [See also letter, Semenov to Goldberg, 1959, in Folder 1/10]

     9    Isidor Goldberg with servicemen, n.d. [1945?]
               [See also speech by Isidore Goldberg in Folder 1/14]
     10   Army Navy "E" Award (Part 1), My 23, 1945  [See also Folder 1/14]
     11   Army Navy "E" Award (Part 2), My 23, 1945  [See also Folder 1/14]
     12   Pilotone records - production departments and staff [at a
               reception?], 1947
     13   Pilot radio sets in political news/publicity photos, 1948
     14   Television sets and TV advertisement, 1948-1951
     15   "Lady Pilot T.V. Plane," first in-flight TV, Mr, 1950   [see also
               Folder 2/4 and scrapbook, 1947-1951, in Box No. X-386]
     16   Pilot Radio Ltd. (London) booth at British Industries Fair, 
               S, 1951
     17   Isidor Goldberg, c1908-c1950
     18   Goldberg on Safari in Kenya/Tanganyika, 1953 [See also Folder 3/3]
     19   Goldberg in Israel, 1951, 1960
     20   Miscellaneous photos re:  "Pilot", 1947 and n.d.
          [See also oversize photographs in Box No. X-386]


X-385          Diploma from Hebrew Technical Institute, My, 1908
          Technical drawings for 1928 television transmitter, by Robert
               Hertzberg, n.d.  
               [NOTE:  Sheet No. 6 of 12 sheets not found in materials 
               received by AJA in 1993] 
          Scrapbook containing articles re: Pilot products, 1928-1931
          Scrapbook containing articles re: syndicate of electric and radio
               companies (including Pilot) purchase of old Everett Cotton
               Mills in Lawrence, Mass., 1929-1930

X-386          Scrapbook containing competitors ads for radios, 1932-1933
          Scrapbook containing Pilot Radio articles and advertising
               materials, 1947-1951
          Photograph (12"x20") of Pilot Radio staff dinner, Je 4, 1942
          Jewish National Fund Certificate, 1954
          Photograph (12"x15") of unidentified dinner group, n.d.; found 
               with card from Cabinet Industries Ltd., dated Mr 24, 1959

SR        4 sound recording discs containing a recording of the proceedings
                of the Pilot "E" Award ceremony, My 23, 1945