Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Coyne Electrical and Radio School

The origin of the name Coyne lays with the brothers Coyne about 113 years ago. In 1899, the Coyne Electrical School of Boston started franchising. The first branch of its technical school was to be in Chicago. Other branches were later established in St. Louis and New York.  Needless to say, Coyne College has had many incarnations.  Just a few years ago it was called the Coyne American Institute. The 1908 Patterson's American Education directory just called it "Coyne's School." It was established in 1899, and in the 1920s and 1930s was the kind of correspondence school that advertised in magazines like Popular Science, Electronics World and various pulp periodicals. They still exist today, based in Chicago, Illinois with two campuses. In the 1960s they had moved up to advertising in Billboard. More here.

It began as the Coyne Electrical School of Chicago and opened in January o 1899. There is little public information on those early years but presumably they were hawking early radio knowledge, drafting and automotive skills. In 1915 they were "Coyne national Trade schools."  In 1921 they were still billing themselves as "Coyne Trade and Engineering Schools." They started advertising radio classes in 1922. It's president starting that year and through at least 1955, was B.W. Cooke. He lists himself as a "manager" in a 1915 advertisement. Interestingly in 1926 through 1948 their ads sometimes list H.C. Lewis as the president of their radio division. Both of them put their disembodied floating heads on Coyne advertisements with various titles.

B.W. Cooke was also the publisher of Automotive News in the 1930s. He was the director of the Chicago Motor Training Corporation in 1925. Coincidentally both of those were located in Chicago. An L.L. Cooke ran an electrical school with a similar M.O. just a few blocks away. I cant' prove it, but I suspect a family connection.

In April of 1925, H.C. Lewis purchased 1200 WTAY-AM from Oakleaves broadcasting. The station ran at a puny 15 watts.  It's original calls were WJOC-AM but had to change them to avoid confusion with WJAZ-AM. It had only signed on in October of 1923.  The call sign was changed about a year later to WGES-AM and increased it's power to 500 watts. Their own literature claims that it was a full time station but in fact it was a share-time with WMBB-AM. The station caused enough interference in downtown Chicago that besides losing money, it also obstructed the reception of many other stations. Lewis tried to sell it, then practically gave the station to Joseph Gunyon in 1929. Lewis was later wrote "I see absolutely no value in a school operating a radio station..."  For more on that read Educations Own Stations by S.E. Frost. Their radio program continued even without the radio station. In 1960s, the Coyne Electrical School merged with the American Institute of Engineering and Technology.