My Dad, James Koehler, was VP of Motorola Engineering in the 1960’s experimenting with new technologies for color television sets. Growing up was like living in an electrical engineering lab, we had TV prototypes all over the place many half built with coiled wires and tubes hanging out as my Dad tried out all kinds of new ideas in our living room. I was constantly asking him what he was working on.
When I look back on it I’m sure I was very annoying. The upside to this was I was able to play with all the new gadgets he was designing. I would invite my friends over to see the prototypes he had built and enjoyed watching my friends grow with excitement when they walked into my room. Many would blurt out, “Wow, I wish I lived here”. Dad went on to engineer many successful products and that excitement of watching him design and build new devices as a small child stayed with me forever.
Dad gave me a Philco radio one day and told me to play around with it. Well I did thumbing through the various AM radio stations wandering around the house with the antenna up trying to get good reception. It was cool. Music on the go through this little box. I noticed the beige colored earphone and quickly jammed it into my ear. Not a good experience I thought. I wanted to hear the music in both ears like I can without the jack. I told my Dad I needed another earphone jack. He said “We can’t make it that way”. I said “Why”? then I asked if he could bring home another radio with an earphone jack which he did. So I taped both radios together back-to-back and tuned them both to the same music station and popped both earphones in my ears. “Viola” semi stereo. My Dad looked at me funny and said, “I think you’re on to something”.