Wendell Wilford King (1897-1965)

1910 US Census showing Henry King family at 778 1st Avenue, Lansingburgh, with Wendell King aged 12. Cropped and annotated from scan at https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RJD-D1M?i=7&cc=1727033

Under Motor Truck.

Wendell King, a Lansingburgh High School student, had a narrow escape from death about 8 o’clock last evening, when he was thrown from his bicycle under the wheels of a motor-truck of Cluett, Peabody & Co. The accident occurred near the Friehofer bakery on Second Avenue. He rolled over as he fell and thus escaped death or serious injury. He was riding alongside the truck, which was travelling at high speed toward Troy. A depression threw the cyclist to the pavement. A few scratches and a bump on his forehead were the extent of his injuries.
Troy Times. May 9, 1913: 23 col 5.

[Call Signal] 2QD | [Owner of station] King, Wendell W | [Location of station] 778 First Ave., Upper Troy, N. Y. | [Power Watts] 50
Supplement No. 3 to the List of Radio Stations of the United States. July 1, 1913. 7.

Lecture at Third Presbyterian Church.

Wireless telegraph was described last night by Wendell King to the members of Class 1 of the Third Presbyterian Church at the home of William Bayliss on McChesney Court. Mr. King explained the work in detail and gave a very instructive talk.
Troy Times. April 22, 1914: 3 col 3.

General Mention.

Wendell King explained wireless telegraphy to the Men’s Class of the Third Presbyterian Church last night at the home of Alfred Willetts on Central Avenue.
Troy Times. May 13, 1914: 3 col 3.

The Amateur Marconi Radio association has elected: President, W. W. King; vice-president, W. LeMay; secretary, H. Connors; treasurer, J. Vaugh.
Times-Union [Albany, NY]. June 28, 1915: 2 col 1.


About Forty Youths in Camp in Southern Vermont—Erecting Wireless Station—Founding of Newspaper—Preparing for Fourth.
Special Correspondence of The Troy Times.

Camp Ilium, Pownal, Vt., July 2.—With a wireless station, and a newspaper as side attractions to baseball, field events and water sports, Camp Ilium, the Young Men’s Christian Association camp for boys near Pownal, Vt., started yesterday what will no doubt prove the liveliest season since its establishment. Thirty-five boys, with Boys’ Secretary A. J. Pierce, arrived yesterday morning, and, although it rained for a good part of the day, the campers found plenty to do in the way of amusement.
The Wireless Station.

A special tent for the housing of wireless instruments has been pitched, and William LeMay, the camp operator, hopes to have his machine set up for first operation Saturday evening. The construction of an aerial, sixty feet high and supporting two strands of copper wire 200 feet long, was started this morning and should be ready for the “throw in” by Saturday noon. The establishment of this station has created interest among the campers because of the practical uses to which it may be put. It is expected that the scores of the major and state leagues will be flashed, so that the newspaper to be started next week will have real live telegraphic news to adorn its pages and fascinate its readers. The Troy station with which the camp station is working is situated at the home of Wendell King, First Avenue and Twenty-second Street, Lansingburgh.
Troy Times. July 3, 1915: 16 col 2.

—The Amateur Marconi Radio Association of Troy and vicinity held its first meeting for the coming fall and winter season Saturday evening at the Lansingburgh Young Men’s Christian Association. Plans for the ensuing year were discussed, and it was decided to conduct extensive experiments with portable wireless receiving sets. Prizes will also be awarded to members transmitting the greatest distance this winter. During the meeting Messrs. Bourne and Beeker, of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, gave interesting talks on past experiences in the radio field, the former having been a ship operator. Several new members were taken in. Harold Connor, Secretary of the association since its inauguration, tendered his resignation and Malcolm Williams was elected to the position. The association is desirous of hearing from any local amateurs who are not members and from anyone interested in its work. All communications should be addressed to the President, W. W. King, 778 First Avenue, Lansingburgh, or to the Secretary at 1627 Seventh Avenue, city.
Troy Times. September 13, 1915: 5 col 1.

Described General Electric.

W. B. Brooks of The General Electric Company Saturday night gave a description of the laboratories in the electric company plant at the meeting of the Amateur Marconi Association. Mr. Brooks also gave a short description of The General Electric Company’s research work in wireless telephony. The association decided to purchase suitable club pins. President W. W. King has extended an invitation to persons interested in wireless telegraphy to visit the meetings which are held every Saturday night at the Young Men’s Christian Association.
Troy Times. November 1, 1915: 2 col 3.

The amateurs of Troy, N. Y., and the vicinity have formed an association known as the Amateur Marconi Radio Association. The club, which was organized about eight months ago, has a membership of approximately thirty persons.
The officers of the Association are as follows: President, Wendell King, vice-
president, William Robbins; secretary Harold Connor; treasurer, Everett Barnes. The Association would be interested to hear from all amateurs in and near Troy. Communications should be addressed to the treasurer No. 827 Third avenue, North Troy, N. Y.
Wireless Age. November 1915. 130-131.

—The first anniversary of the Amateur Marconi Radio Association will be held in February, and preliminary plans were made for the event last night at the home of the President, Wendell W. King, on First Avenue, Lansingburgh. The annual election of officers will take place at the home of Librarian Robbins, 614 Fifth Avenue, Saturday evening, January 8. The Schenectady Radio Association will pay a visit to the local body in February. Five members of the association have received government wireless licenses. The club is now affiliated with the National Amateur Wireless Association and the American Radio Relay League.
Troy Times. December 28, 1915: 5 col 1.

—Preparedness of amateur radio operators in this country was demonstrated on Tuesday by the successful transmission from Davenport, Iowa, of a message from Colonel W. J. Nicholson, U. S. Army, commandant of the Rock Island Arsenal, addressed to the governors of states and mayors of the principal cities, which was handled by relays of the organized licensed wireless telegraph operators of the various states. The message was flashed from the amateur tower of Davenport Monday night at 11 o’clock. East, west, north, and south from Davenport amateur wireless stations picked up the message and transmitted it to other stations until finally the message had been sent the breadth of the continent to both coasts. The message transmitted read: “A democracy requires that people who govern themselves should be educated and disciplined that they can protect themselves.”
Army and Navy Register. February 26, 1916: 272.

A test wireless message sent out to all parts of the continent from the Rock Island, Iowa, Arsenal to amateur operators was received in Troy, Feb. 22, 1916, by Wendell King of 772 1st Ave. Acting on instructions, Mr. King delivered the message to the mayor’s office. It read: “Democracy requires that people who govern themselves should be educated so that they can protect themselves.”
Calkins, Herbert A. “How Times And Events Change Through The Years.” The Record. February 24, 1968: B4.

Wireless telegraphy has attracted the attention of many ingenious and scientifically inclined young men and boys in Troy, New York, with the result that there are at present a large number of amateur stations. The young operators have made records for receiving and sending which are exceptionally good. Most of the local stations are the handiwork of the owners who have built their own sets of instruments and brought them up to their present workable condition. The common interests of these young experimenters brought them together in the formation of the Amateur Marconi Radio Association of Troy and vicinity, which last month celebrated its first anniversary. The club is affiliated with the National Amateur Wireless Association. The officers of the year are: President, Wendell King; vice-president, William Le May; secretary, Malcolm Williams, and treasurer, John Vaughn. When organized, the association had a membership of eight, but now has twenty-five members, five of the number having received United States government wireless licenses. The club meets bi-monthly at the Lansingburgh Y. M. C. A., where the problems of wireless communication and the study of electricity are taken up, with many interesting discussions.
Wireless Age. April 1916. 479.

The Amateur Marconi Radio Association, with headquarters at No. 1627 Seventh avenue, Troy, N. Y., has announced that it will hold one meeting each month during the summer and will continue programs as interesting as those which have characterized its past season’s work.
At the first of the June meetings its members were addressed by Roland B. Bourne, of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a former employee of the American Marconi Company, who spoke interestingly on the “Goldschmidt Alternator Frequency-changer Method of Transmission,” as employed at Tuckerton. Mr. Bourne, who is an honorary member, provided a very interesting discourse for the members in offices of the Schenectady and Albany radio associations, who were present. Plans were discussed for tri-city conferences.
At the second meeting, it was decided to erect at the Y. M. C. A. club headquarters a more powerful station; this will probably be done in the Fall. The semi-annual election of officers resulted in the choice of William A. LeMay, former vice-president, to succeed Wendell W. King, who has served efficiently as president for three terms. Mr. King is soon to enter Union College for an electrical engineering course. E. Malcolm Williams was elected secretary-treasurer, following which he spoke to the members on the “Elementary Mathematics of Aerial Construction.”
William E. Robbins, a former member of the Amateur Marconi Radio Association, has left for the Mexican border with the National Guard.
Wireless Age. August 1916. 788-189.

Wendell King, a collegiate at Union College of Schenectady, and Edward Smith journeyed to Troy Friday evening to attend the fourth annual ball of the Fortnightly Social Club.
“Schenectady, N. Y.” New York Age. July 6, 1917: 2 col 1.

Dormant Radio Club Organized Last Week

Officers Chosen—Powerful Telegraph and Telephone Set Being Installed.

About fifteen Union College students interested in radio work met last week and reorganized the College Radio Club, which has been inactive for several years. The lead in the work of reorganization was taken by Ellsworth D. Cook ’02, who was prominent in the affairs of the club before the cessation of its activities when its apparatus had to be dismantled at the entrance of the United Stated into the world war.
At the meeting, Ellsworth Cook was chosen president of the organization. Frederic Ganter ’21 was elected vice-president and Ray Lucas ’22 was made secretary-treasurer. W. W. King ’21 was chosen as the chief operator, while Dr. Berg, the head of the electrical engineering department at the college was made instructor.
Work has already been begun on the lege [sic] Lane to the Library Lane graph and telephone set by the members of the club. When this is completed, the members of the club will be enabled to communicate with other college organizations of a similar nature within a radius of over 500 miles.
A short course in theory and practice will be given members of the club who are not operators. This course will enable those taking it to compete for government licenses within a short time.
Concordiensis. November 1919. 1 col 4.


College Radio Club Ready to Handle Messages Within 1,500 Mile Radius.
Send it by wireless! This is what Union college students can now do. At a meeting of the student body in the college chapel yesterday noon, Wendell King, ’22, announced that the Radio club is prepared to handle any messages “a la the air” for students within a working radius of 1500 miles—range enough to reach home for nearly all the students. It will be necessary only for the messages to be written out and left at the office in the electrical engineering building or else handed to King or Frederick Gantner, ’21. The radio club is already sending out by wireless the results of athletic contests held at Union.
Schenectady Gazette. February 17, 1920: 14 col 4.

King, Wendell. “Making a Wavemeter Direct Reading.” Electrical Experimenter. February 1920. 1031. https://archive.org/stream/electricalexperi07gern#page/1030/mode/2up/search/wendell


Unusually Interesting Program Delivered


Last Meeting of a Series of Interesting entertainments

The Cosmopolitan Club held its final meeting of the year on Wednesday night in the chapel. The occasion was observed as “Negro Night.” This was in accordance with the plans of the members of the club to celebrate at various times in the college year the races from which the club membership is drawn. Previously the Cosmopolitans had observed “Brazilian Night,” “Indian Night,” and “Foreigners’ Night.”
The program was in charge of Wendell King, ’21, a colored student. It consisted of singing, instrumental music, and recitations. The purpose of the program was to show the different phases of colored life in this country at different times, and to dispel the anti-negro sentiment in the country.
The program given as follows:
“The Services of the Colored People During the War,” Wendell King ‘21
“The Twentieth Century Negro” ……………. Mrs. Henry King
“The Black Regiment” ……………. Mrs King
Singing of typical colored songs:
“Swanee River” ……………. Mrs. King
Accompanist, Henry King, Violin
“Nobody Knows” and “The Last Long Rest” ……………. Mrs. Washington
Violin Solo ……………. Henry King
“Prominent Negroes of Today” ……………. Wendell King, ‘21
“Who Knows” ……………. Mrs. Washington and Wendell King
“Little Mother of Mine” ……………. Mrs. Washington
“I Follow Thee” ……………. Mr. and Mrs. King and W. King
Concordiensis. May 15, 1920: 1 col 3.

The Union College Radio Club of Schenectady.

The Union College Radio Club held a meeting recently and elected the following officers for the remainder of this college year and for next year: President, Frederick Ganter, ’21; vice president, Ralph Bennett, ’21; chief engineer, Wendell W. King, ’21; secretary treasurer, Judson Bentley, ’23; chief engineer, Francis J. Campbell, ’22, and instructor, professor Ernst Berg.
The College Radio Club was reorganized this year in the interest of those students who desired to receive practical radio work. Regular courses were offered for all those interested in radio telegraphy under the supervision of experienced members of the club. Practical talks have been given once a week by Professor Berg and several of the older members of the organization.
One of the most remarkable features of the work of the Radio Club has been the sending of messages for the students by radio free of charge. ALl of the results of the Union College basketball games were radioed thruout the country. A similar policy is to be adopted in regard to baseball and track this spring.
Radio Amateur News 1(12). June 1920. 720.

Concert By Wireless Telephone.

The first concert by wireless telephony ever held by a college organization,so far as is known here, was given Thursday night by the Radio Club of Union College. Eight victrola records were used, including both instrumental and vocal selections. Static conditions were not favorable for wireless, but it is thought that the concert was heard over a radius of about one hundred miles. An operator at Alplaus, a near-by town, sent word by telephone that he had heard it. The concert began at 8 o’clock and continued for half an hour. The sending was in charge of Wendell W. King and William McCaig. Mr. King, who is a resident of Lansingburgh, has been particularly successful in wireless experimentation.
Troy Times. October 16, 1920: 6 col 2.


Operators Hurl Jazz 50 Miles Through Space

Aerial Concert is First in Collegiate History

Ethereal Recitals Will Be Given Weekly in Future

Transmitting the music from a phonograph into the receiver of a wireless telephone and then to amateur radio operators within a radius of 50 miles, members of the Union College Radio club Thursday night gave what is believed to be the first wireless musical concert of an American college operation. […]
The success of the concert is due to Wendell W. King and Lee C. Friedman, who put the apparatus in condition for the tests. Messages from Cornell were received by Chief Operator F. J. Campbell, William McCaig and W. W. King.
The Radio Club received wireless communications last night from the Hiram Percy Maxim station at Hartford, Conn., that the wireless concert of Thursday night had been heard and enjoyed there. The operator at the Hartford station thanked the local club for the music and commended their ingenuity. The distance from Hartford to the College station is more than 100 miles.
Concordiensis. October 16, 1920: 1, 4 col 4.

Troy Student’s Success at Radio.

The Schenectady Gazette published the following of a Union College student from Troy:
Probably the only student in Union College to have had experience in trans-Atlantic radio work is Wendell W. King of 778 First Avenue, North Troy, a negro student, who entered the college in 1916, but spent two years in the Signal Corps of the Army. He returned last year to finish his course in electrical engineering. He is now a junior and Chief Engineer of the College Radio Club. His hobby, as King himself admits, is wireless telegraphy, in which he has been interested in an amateur way since 1911. King is a native of Troy, and attended the grade and High Schools there. He has been President of the Troy Amateur Radio Club and was connected with many other wireless activities in that and other cities. In 1915 he came here to work in the radio section of The General Electric Company, but because of labor union difficulties arising with certain fellow-employees, he left to attend Union. In 1918 he enlisted in the Army and served with the signal section of the Sixty-third Pioneer Infantry Regiment, which remained in Camp Dix too long for overseas service, although the regiment was preparing to embark when the armistice was signed. He was promoted to Sergeant while in the Army. Since January, 1919, when he returned to college, King has been actively connected with the Radio Club. He was among the first to suggest the use of the powerful Union College radio set for sending out aerial concerts weekly, a feature which has proved highly successful. In college he is also a member of the Cosmopolitan Club.
Troy Times. November 20, 1920: 14 col 5.
Schenectady Gazette. November 20, 1920: 19 col 4.

RADIO (accompanied by illustration of a radio with headphones)




(This is the first of a series of articles by Wendell King of Waterford, a well-known wireless expect, who has been engaged in experimental and practical radio since boyhood. Mr. King will answer questions concerning radio for readers of this column.)
This article has for its purpose suggestions for the improvement of apparatus already at hand, rather than the discussion or the description of anything new.
The first subject of a radio equipment that will be dealt with is the antenna. There are many forms of antenna, each having its particular advantages, but when receiving only is the idea in the mind of the broadcast listener, he will find that the simplest one that will serve him best is the one to erect.
The prime factors entering into the erection of antenna are:
1. That they should be elevated preferably high enough not to be blocked in any direction by any grounded metal object.
2. That they should not be near any grounded metal object.
3. That they should be erected at right angles to all power lines and other electrical conductors that might cause disturbance.
4. That they should be well supported.
5. That they should be well insulated.
An antenna supported by two by fours, unguyed, and held in place by uncertain ropes, will not stand much chance when subjected to a sleet storm in winter. An enormous strain is brought to bear on all supports when the wires of the antenna are covered with thick, heavy ice or water-soaked snow. So, if you wish continuous service throughout the winter, when radio is at its best, be sure of your antenna supports.
The question first entering a person’s mind regarding an antenna is, “What length should my antenna be in order to receive signals from stations of a specified wave length?” In answer to this question here is a simple rule which gives good approximate results for the average antenna which can be erected: It is that the natural wave length of the antenna (by natural wave length is meant the antenna and ground without any loading coils or inductance) is approximately equal to 4.1 times the length of the antenna in metres. A metre is equal to 3.937 feet. By length of antenna is meant length of the entire antenna system, measured along the wires, from the point most distant from the station to that point where the ground wire enters the ground. In case the antenna is a “T” type only one of the ends is used as a starting point for measurement. This rule holds only for a single wire. When more wires are added the capacity of the antenna increases and upsets this approximate formula slightly. Suppose we have an inverted “L” type antenna whose length of flat top is seventy-five feet, whose lead-in is thirty-five feet and its distance to the ground is ten feet; an overall length of 120 feet. Reducing 120 feet to metres, we have 120 divided by 3.937, or 30.5, then, multiplying this by 4.1, we have 125 metres approximately.
Another rule going with the one just mentioned is that the natural wave length of the antenna should be at least two-thirds of the wave length at which the signals are to be received. For example: Suppose the reception of 360-metre signals is desired, then two-thirds of 360 is 240 metres natural period. To obtain such an antenna increase metres to feet by multiplying 240 by 3.927, which gives 933 feet, and dividing by factor 4.1 of our first rule we have 227, which is the overall length of the antenna system. To get an antenna system of such a dimension it is a matter simply of dividing the length thus found into three parts:
1. The length of the antenna.
2. The length of the lead-in.
3. The length of the ground conductor.
Example: Antenna 150, lead-in 55, ground conductor 22; total, 227.
The writer does not wish to imply or to have it supposed that an out-fit will not work well on an antenna shorter than that spoken of here, but merely wishes to suggest a means whereby something definite may be arrived at.
In conclusion let it be said that in the antenna system and in all other parts of radio equipment good insulation is absolutely necessary, and wherever electrical connections are made they should be continuous (non-frictional) and well soldered.
Troy Times. September 8, 1922: 15 col 6.

Radio Chess Game.

—Aero station 2A D D of this village, operated by Wendell King, was engaged in a chess game by radio with Station 2 C J Z of Troy last evening.
“Waterford.” Troy Times. May 21, 1923: 2 col 3.

Miss Beatrice Beene, a Bostonian, was the guest of Wendell King, who was invited to attend a concert and dance given at the annual re-union reception of the Union College Alumni Association of Albany, N. Y., given in the ball room of the Teneyk Hotel. Union is Mr. King’s Alma Mater. They attended the affair and had a wonderful time. Miss Beene, during her short stay in Albany, met Mr. King’s sister, Lela, and parents.
“Albany, N. Y.” Pittsburgh Courier. April 4, 1925: 15 col 2.

Radio Station WEDH in Erie, Pennsylvania, is a station of the Erie Dispatch-Herald. The programs of this station are broadcast from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and reach thirty-nine states of the Union. The chief engineer of the station is a colored man, Wendell King. He is a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Mr. King is a graduate of Union College of Schenectady where he majored in electrical engineering, studying under the well-known Steinmetz. For a time he worked in the research laboratory of the General Electric Company and then became a sergeant in the army during the war. After the war he was employed by an electrical; manufacturing company in Cleveland and then took charge of a radio station at Ashtabula. Under his personal supervision this station was moved to Erie in December, 1927. Mr. King is twenty-nine years of age, and unmarried. His station is atop of the Commerce office building, a eleven-story skyscraper.
“Along the Color Line: East.” The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races 37(4). April 1930. 133. [Photo on page 131.]

He Smashed the Color Line
A Sketch of WENDELL W. KING—Radio Engineer

IF his picture had been omitted one would not have suspected that he was a Negro. For one does not usually see feature stories in the daily press about Negroes, unless a major crime has been committed or a housing ordinance is about to be passed with segregative features or a “scientist” is moved to announce that his findings have proven that the mental equipment of Negroes is inferior to that of other races. But his picture was there, and so there could be no doubt about his racial origin.
The article itself did not reveal that he was any other than a highly skilled electrical engineer— Chief Radio Engineer of the Dispatch-Herald Broadcasting Corporation, which operates station WEDH of Erie, Pennsylvania. Barbara Hawley, feature writer of the Dispatch-Herald, is evidently oblivious to the supposed limitations inherent in the Negro race. She begins her article as follows:
“He stood before a large map of the United States into which were stuck scores of red, white and blue pins, and turned with a smile to greet the visitor who had entered Door 1013 in the Commerce building, marked ‘No Admittance,’ into the room of dials, bulbs, coils, and wires. This is one of the characteristics of Wendell W. King, 29-year-old chief engineer and oldest pioneer of station W E D H — his quiet and cheerful smile.
“His tireless energy, skill and loyalty back the smile, according to his associates at the station.”
This is as it should be, perhaps, all other things being equal. For, after all, the incident of race should not be a significant factor in the appraisal of accomplishment or in the measure of failure. But in America all other things are not equal. And, therefore, Wendell W. King is not only a competent radio engineer but he is a Negro radio engineer who has met and obliterated the “color line.”
Wendell W. King, standing in the midst of “his dials and bulbs and coils and wires” or testing the multiple telephone switch which amplifies all sound thousands of times before it enters the transmitter, or inspecting the antennae and checking “reception” and power distribution is the answer to those who would solve the Negroes’ industrial problems by limiting instruction to those crafts in which Negroes can readily find employment. And by the same token he is the answer to those, if such there be, who still question the ability of the Negro to master the technical problems of modern science.
Wendell W. King is a graduate of Union College, Schenectady, New York, where he specialized in electrical engineering, studying under Charles P. Steinmetz. He has worked in the research laboratories of the General Electric Company of Schenectady in the field of low power radio telephone transmitters for aeroplanes. Station WEDH was formerly located at Ashtabula in Ohio and was moved to Erie in 1927 under his personal direction and supervision.
Mr. King is a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers and The American Institute of Electrical Engineers.
He has practically built up the efficient machinery at WEDH.
Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life 8(4). April 1930. 119.

Mr. and Mrs. Wendell King of Erie, Pa., are visiting friends in this city and Troy.
Saratogian. August 23, 1930: 2 col 4.

Erie Cemetery, Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania