I got my Harvey 80-T from US back in March 1’st 2000 and got interested in learning more about the company. Sadly, there was not much to find on the net and seems only a few transmitters did survive till today. Below is what I found out by reading lots of old ads and browsing the net for information. Please bear with eventual faults, do write me if you can help to update the history...
1908: Clifford Akers Harvey, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 1 March 1908. After completing high school, he did a year of prep school, and then attended MIT in Boston, Massachusetts. (Source: Mrs. Helen Proulx Harvey)
1931: (MIT) Mr. Harvey graduated with a degree in B.S.E.E. (Communication) at MIT. The graduate work was named: “Vacuum Tube Design and Construction”. (Source: Harwey-Wells Personnel and Facilities Manual 1957)
1932: (Hendricks & Harvey) Started the first company named Hendricks & Harvey together with Paul S. Hendricks. They must have meet each other at MIT. Seems they only made the SSS receiver. After a year, Mr. Harvey went on his own...
1933-39: (Harvey Radio Labs) During this period, Harvey Radio Labs made lots of nice transceivers and transmitters for HF, VHF and UHF. It was said Harvey was the poor mans Collins of that time, and the FT-30 model made in 1935 was a kind of clone of the famous Collins 30FX. The transmitters where rugged constructed, reasonably priced and very reliable. The production (estimated) was 75% for amateur radio, the remaining 25% commercial.
In my opinion, this was the time when the best radios where made when Mr. Harvey was on his own. Real Harvey’s and nothing else :) Look at the many models produced between these years and I hope you agree. Sadly, not many seems to have survived till today, I have found only 4 alive so far and 2 of them are now safely in Sweden. If you ever see a old Harvey around, grab it fast please, never let it loose and make it shine again. Besides, you might find a Swede willing to pay very good to get his hands on it... :)
In mid 1933, Mr. Dick Mahler W1DQH joined the company. Read the interview in Electric Radio magazine from 1990 where he tells how it all started. Admiral Byrds second and third Antarctic expeditions in 1934/39 used Harvey radios.
I’ve learned even FDR used Harvey 80-T’s in the Civilian Defense Network down south before the war. The page is here: The Amplifier. (Source: Don Metz N3RHT) It was also used by the Police Networks at that time. In 1939, Harvey Radio Labs last ad appeared in QST...
1940-60: (Harvey-Wells) Clifford A. Harvey W1RF and John Wells W1ZD joined and started the Harvey-Wells Electronics company in Southbridge, MA in March 1940. The company production was 85% for military purposes and they where awarded the Navy “E” award for excellence during WW II. (Source: Within Spindle Newsletter, January 1957)
I could not find any ads until 1944 when they advertised about their broadcast transmitters in the ARRL handbook. The famous TBS-50 first appeared in QST of 1948. In 1954, the Picture Tour catalogue was made presenting the company...
In January 21 1957, Harvey-Wells was sold and acquired by the Within Machine Works. The Within Spindle newsletter tells more about this. A invitation ad by Harvey-Wells the same month is here. Also have a look at their Personnel & Facilities manual from the same year.
These early years of Harvey-Wells is hard to get a grip on. Even Mr. Mahler said the company history was difficult to understand :) I thought for a long time that Harvey-Wells did make radios for Harvey Radio Labs after it was sold to Mr. Lyman in 1940, this because they had similar models. Thanks to Mr. Bob Hannon who was a employee of Harwey-Wells during these early years, this is now verified not to be the case. (Source: Mr. Bob Hannon)
Got info from two articles in the Southbridge News 1945 that Harvey-Wells was making radar and beacon equipment for the war effort during the early years. The articles are found at the Interview page.
1940-68: (Harvey Radio Labs) In mid 1940, the famous old Harvey Radio Labs was sold to Mr. Frank Lyman Jr. by Mr. Harvey. One of the first transmitter made was the 100-XE model in September the same year. I learned by Mr. Greer Hardwicke Preservation Planner at the town of Brookline, that the new President and treasurer registered in 1941 for HRL was Mr. Lyman. (Source: Mr. Greer Hardwicke)
The company did continue to manufacture radio equipment and made UHF transponders for the US Gov. to keep friendly and enemy aircraft’s apart. The page is here: 1944. Mr. Lyman also started Harvey of Cambridge (HarCam) with the same address as HRL and they advertised about broadcast transmitters in 1945. Also look at their cartoons or the HarCam catalogue from 1948.
Harvey Radio Labs with Mr. Lyman owned Middlesex Broadcasting Corporation and they continued to live on and own several broadcasting stations. The company existed till 1968.
1944-48: (Harvey of Cambridge) Between these years I found several ads by Harvey of Cambridge (HarCam) which was a new company made by Mr. Lyman. They promoted the last prewar 100-T transmitter once again, power supplies, test instruments, broadcast transmitters and FM radio equipment. This company coexisted with Harvey Radio Labs using the same address.
Myself I run my bellowed 80-T (serial: 1103) from late 1936 almost daily on 20m CW. The feeling sitting there, keying a transmitter this old is something very special. Fiddling with crystals, making sure you have enough spare Raytheon RK-20A’s or RCA-804 equivalent final tubes, very carefully tuning up the rig just to get 50W output!
The antenna used here is a free-hanging 560 ft LW made of extremely strong 18AWG phosphor bronze wire, pointing to the northwest (USA) at 310 deg. Im feeding the antenna directly using a 4:1 transformer to get lower impedance for the Harvey. It works great on all bands 160-10m.
In the near future, Im planning to build and erect a huge white beautiful 100 ft diamond shaped wooden tower designed in the 30’ies found in QST. Since last, I got my hands on a Harvey 10-T transceiver (serial: 2622) from 1939! Its going to be fully restored and put in our car as mobile HF rig.
Im now close to 100 DXCC countries with my old setup. Almost any station worked nowadays feels like a DX. Im using only crystals and try to preserve the old spirit as much as I can. On 20m my QRGs are: 14055 (main), 14067, 14066, 14064, 14060, 14042, 14036, 14031, 14022 and 14011 Kc/s. You can find me online on Fridays at 14055 when I have sked with Stan G3MEA at 0830Z, and later at the evening with Harry W1HVC at 2100Z. Just listen for the old sound of my dusty McElroy bug and Harvey 80-T! :)
Finally, a BIG thanks to ARRL for giving me permission to use the old ads and articles from QST! Also many thanks to all friends out there who helped me in my efforts to preserve a part of the history this way. The site has grown a quite lot since I started it back in 2001. In just 1 year it has now got +150 web pages and +1250 pictures online! Seems there is no end to this, and I do get continuously new information sent to me which I appreciate a lot...
Best wishes: Peter / SM5HUA