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About Alfred H. Grebe- Obituaries
Researched and compiled by Carl Ballenas
from his articles "The Early Years of Maple Grove Cemetery" (c) 1999

NEWS ITEM:  Long Island Daily Press Friday, October 25, 1935

ALFRED GREBE IS DEAD AT 40
Radio Pioneer Succumbs To Operation

Funeral services for Alfred H. Grebe, 40, radio pioneer and president of the Grebe Radio and Television Company, Manhattan, will be conducted at the residence, 88-89 195th Place, Hollis, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Burial will follow in Maple Grove Cemetery.

Mr. Grebe died yesterday in Post-Graduate Hospital, Manhattan, following an illness of 10 days. He had undergone a stomach operation.

He was for some years president of the Atlantic Broadcasting Corporation and built WABC, now the key station of the Columbia Broadcasting System.

He was born in Richmond Hill on the site now occupied by the large manufacturing plant which is still surmounted by the radio towers he used in his early broadcasting.

The property, which then ran from Jamaica avenue to Archer avenue, along Van Wyck boulevard, was acquired by his grandfather.

While attending the local public schools he became interested in wireless. His father, Henry Grebe, bought him a small set when he was but nine years old. His interest became so intense, according to George H. Dildine of 88-24 170th street, Jamaica, who taught science at P.S. 88, Jamaica, that his knowledge of electricity soon eclipsed that of his teacher.

After being graduated from P. S. 88, he attended the Jamaica Training School and went to a commercial radio school in Manhattan and conducted experiments.

At the age of 15, he became a licensed commercial operator, secured a position on a steamer and took a year's trip to India.

After three years of working on boats he came home, where he heard a radio station was being built in Sayville, the first on Long Island. He secured a job as an operator and worked there for some time.

By this time his fever over radio had spread to several friends and neighbors, who requested him to build them receiving sets. After making a few he decided to go into commercial production of the sets and parts.

His "factory" was a one-story shack in the rear of his home on Van Wyck boulevard. His business grew so rapidly that in 1914 he put out his first radio catalogue listing various parts for sale.

Shortly afterwards, his one-story became a two-story building because of the demand for parts by the entire community, which by now had become radio-minded.

In 1922, when the demand for parts grew so great, he built the present factory on Van Wyck boulevard tearing down his home in order to make room for the building. The only part of the home which remained was a large linden tree near the boulevard, which was planted by his father and which was preserved as a landmark by Mr. Grebe.

With his new factory equipped to turn out 100,000 completed radio sets and parts annually, Mr. Grebe found the supply a bit more than the demand. He established research laboratories and many devices now used in radio were first originated there.

In order to stimulate public interest in radio, he started several broadcasting stations at the plant. There were WAHG, his own initials, and WBOQ, the initials for Borough of Queens, among the first in the country.

On Nov. 1, 1926, WAHG became one of the first commercial stations under the name of WABC. The Atlantic Broadcasting System, with Mr. Grebe as president, operated it until 1929 when the present owners, the Columbia Broadcasting System, acquired it.

His stations did much original work in developing short wave broadcasting, and the equipment carried by Commander Richard E. Byrd in his flight over the North Pole was of Grebe design.

Among his contributions to modern radio were the uni-control system for super-heterodyne sets, high fidelity system for broadcasting, color tone, straight-light-frequency condensers and other lesser improvements.

He was head of the A. H. Grebe and Co. Inc. of Richmond Hill, which became the Grebe Radio and Television Corporation, with offices at 55 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, two years ago.

He was a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers, the Explorers Club, and the Radio Club of America and was also vice-president of the Nassau County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League. An ardent fisherman and conservationist, he had seen to it that radio stations he operated devoted time each week to the cause of conserving natural resources.

Surviving are his mother, Mrs. Edwin C. Dorff; his wife Stephanie N. Schuerlein Grebe; two daughters, Stephanie and Camilla Grebe, and a son, Alfred H. Grebe Jr.


OBITUARY: New York Times, Oct. 25, 1935

ALFRED H. GREBE, 40, RADIO PIONEER, DIES
Founded One Of Early Plants For Receiving Sets - Did Much Experimenting
LICENSED OPERATOR at 14

Born On Long Island, He Headed Radio And Telegraph Firm That Bore His Name

Alfred H. Grebe, president of the Grebe Radio and Telegraph Corporation and an early pioneer in radio when broadcasting was still in its swaddling clothes, died early yesterday at the New York Post-Graduate Hospital. He was 40 years old.

Mr. Grebe first became fascinated with the mechanics of wireless at the age of fourteen and by the time he was fifteen he was a licensed commercial operator. At the request of friends he made a few receiving sets for them when the radio fever first began to take hold of the nation. After making a few of these machines, Mr. Grebe decided to go into commercial production of radio sets.

He issued his first radio catalogue in 1914. A few years later, the Grebe plant in Richmond Hill, L. I. was equipped to make every part of a radio set and to turn out thousands of completed sets a year. Research laboratories were also established and many devices now used in radio were first originated there.

To stimulate public interest in radio, Mr. Grebe established several broadcasting stations, including WAHG, WBOQ and several experimental stations. The first named station derives its last three initials from those of Mr. Grebe. On Nov. 1, 1926, WAHG became one of the first commercial stations under the name of ABC. The Atlantic Broadcasting Corporation, with Mr. Grebe as president, operated it until the Columbia Broadcasting System, the present owner, acquired the station in January 1929.

Mr. Grebe was born in Richmond Hill, L.I. in 1895, a member of a family that was among the early settlers in that area. His birthplace is now the site on which stands his radio factory, surmounted by the massive radio towers of his original radio station. Self-educated, Mr. Grebe devoted a large part of his life to radio research. He was a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers, the Explorers Club and the Radio Club of America.

Surviving are his widow, two daughters and a son. Funeral services will be held on Sunday at 2:30 P.M. at the Grebe home at 88-89 195th Place, Hollis, L.I. Burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery in Jamaica, L.I.



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