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.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH top
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.
SCOPE AND CONTENT top
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: A. HISTORY OF PILOT RADIO CORPORATION AND PRODUCTS B. PERSONAL AND MISC. MATERIALS C. PHOTOGRAPHS D. OVERSIZE MATERIALS AND SOUND RECORDINGS SERIES A. HISTORY OF PILOT RADIO CORPORATION AND ITS PRODUCTS consists 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. SERIES B. PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS consists of 1 hollinger 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 1929-1992. 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. SERIES D. OVERSIZE MATERIALS AND SOUND RECORDINGS consist of 2 oversize 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 AND FOLDER LIST top
Box Folder Contents SERIES A. HISTORY OF PILOT RADIO CORPORATION AND ITS PRODUCTS, 1908-1960 [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, 1942 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, 1957-1960 SERIES B. PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 1929-1992 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. SERIES C. PHOTOGRAPHS, 1928-1960 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] SERIES D. OVERSIZE MATERIALS AND SOUND RECORDINGS, 1908-1959 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