The NBC Chimes Museum
A Celebration Of Old–Time Radio’s Most Famous Signature

promotional sets of nbc chimes

All spellings, line breaks, and formatting are reproduced as closely as possible to match those of the original paper documents.
Links to PDF scans of photocopies from the Library of Congress NBC Chimes files are now available after each letter.

                     February 16, 1938.

Mr. J. Ralph Corbett,
307 Sycamore Street,

Dear Mr. Corbett:

          This letter authorizes you to make use of the follow-
ing statement or other statements of substantially the same con-
tent in the promotion of your Nutone Radio Chimes.

     "In addition to using the Nutone radio chimes for dinner
      table signals, you may wish to duplicate in your home
      the most famous sound which comes out of your radio to-
      day -- the tones of NBC chimes.  By tapping numbers 1,
      3 and 2 (shown on the reeds of the Nutone dinner table
      chime) you will exactly duplicate the famous NBC chime

          We request, however, that any re-wording of the above
statement be submitted to us for approval.

          This consent is given on condition that all chimes
which are sold by you and which you represent to be a duplication
of the NBC chimes shall be satisfactory to us as a duplication of
the tone of our chimes.  This consent is also given on the ex-
press understanding that no rights are included under which any
radio station may broadcast our chimes.

          It is also understood that you will make no represen-
tations directly or indirectly to the effect that NBC is in any
way associated with the manufacture or sale of these chimes.

			             Very truly yours,

 				       E.P.H. JAMES
                                    Promotion Manager

A note in script at the bottom of the page says “By Ladner, Legal”.
This was Henry Ladner of NBC’s Legal Department.

Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

March 30, 1938 Mr J. Hugh McQuillen The Schoenhut Manufacturing Co 2048-78 Castor Avenue Philadelphia Pa Dear Mr McQuillen: I regret the delay in acknowledging your request for our reactions to your proposal to make and sell toy chimes based on the same three notes as those used for the NBC chimes. Mr Mason may have told you that we had already been ap- proached by another manufacturer regarding the production of full-sized chimes for home and office use. In view of the fact that these chimes will probably retail for two dollars or more, there would appear to be no duplicate activity involved. We have no objection to your stating that these chimes are "miniatures of the famous NBC Chimes" but we ask that you do not imply that they are replicas. For instance, and probably because of their small size, the tones are apparently an octave higher than the actual chimes. In this connection, I might point out the desirability of keeping your tones as close as possible to the G E and C of concert pitch, so as to avoid dis- cord when they are played simultaneously with the radio chimes. It is also understood that you will make no representations directly or indirectly to the effect that NBC is in any way assoc- iated with the manufacture or sale of these chimes. Finally, we request that advance proofs of all labels and all promotional and advertising matter in connection with these chimes be sent to us in order that we may have an opportunity of bringing to your attention any corrections which we feel to be desirable. Very truly yours, E P H James Promotion Manager MC
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

Date: May 24, 1938 To: Mr. E. P. H. James From: Henry Ladner Subject: NBC CHIMES I am returning herewith the proposed box for the miniature chimes to be merchandised by the Schoenhut Manufac- turing Company. As I told you on the telephone, the label on this proposed box seems to be contrary to company policy in that the impression is created that NBC is connected with the manufacture or sale of this product. In this connection it is also felt undesirable to place the letters "NBC" on the micro- phone shown on the box. I therefore suggest that all reference to NBC be deleted, except the explanatory statement at the lower part of the top cover, reading, "These chimes are a miniature of the famous NBC chimes and have been tuned to the correct notes." With reference to the larger model of the chimes, no permission should be granted to the manufacturer to sell to any one else but ourselves, any chimes bearing the latters "NBC". In accordance with your request we have asked the RCA Patent Department to secure a trade mark registration for us for the letters "NBC" appearing on these chimes, some of which I understand are to be sold by us in interstate commerce. As to the question you raised regarding the patentability of certain constructional features employed in the larger chimes, I under- stand you will discuss this matter direct with Mr. A.S.Greenberg of the RCA Patent Department. (Signed) HENRY LADNER Enc.
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

May 25, 1938 Mr J Hugh McQuillen The Schoenhut Manufacturing Company 2048-88 Castor Avenue Philadelphia Pennsylvania Dear Mr McQuillen: With regard to the printing on the box which contains your little set of chimes, I have talked with our Legal Department, and I find that I shall have to confirm the restrictions which I indicated might be necessary, in our recent conversation. In the first place, may I say that it would be a pleasure to us to be able to give you permission to use the letters NBC more prominently on the box, were it not for the fact that we deem it absolutely necessary to avoid creating such a precedent. This means that the name of the toy should be "Miniature Radio Network Chimes", instead of "NBC Radio Chimes." The statement "These chimes are a miniature of the famous NBC chimes and have been tuned to the correct notes." is entirely in order, and we shall be very glad to have you use this on the box. With regard to the microphone illustration, we shall be very glad to supply you with a line drawing of the NBC microphone, but again the Legal Department advises us that we cannot permit the use of the letters NBC on this microphone, for the same reason that we had to remove them from the name of the toy itself. However, it might be a good idea to substitute the initials, SMC, for Schoenhut Manufacturing Company, and if you use approximately the same type of letter, I think you would convey the desired impression, without in any sense implying that NBC is connected with the manufacture or sale of the product. I had been expecting to receive from you a sample of the finished toy, but so far this has not come to hand. I do believe we should see this before giving you a final "Go ahead" on this job. It has been a pleasure to work with you on it, and I am only sorry that we do not see our way clear to give you a freer use of our name in connection with this promotion. I believe, nevertheless, you understand our position. Very truly yours, E P H James Promotion Manager ej mot 5 25
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

Note: the following letter has “Mr. Lohr” written across the top, and a stamp indicated it was received Jul 1, 1939
in the Office of the President. This would be Lenox Lohr, who was President of NBC at the time.

Date: June 24, 1938
To: Mr. E. P. H. James
From: R. H. White - Detroit

Dear Jimmy:

Here is a little additional evidence to show you the importance
of the NBC chimes as a promotion piece.  I certainly hope you
get your order approved for an additional supply and that you
will be able to send me a few more.

On the train last night coming back from New York I met Mr. &
Mrs. D. P. Brother. As you know, Brother is head of the D. P.
Brother & Company Agency, handling Oldsmobile, General Motors
Truck and A C Spark Plug.  Mrs. Brother was telling me how much
she appreciated and enjoyed the chimes and told me this story.

I took a set of chimes in to Mr. Knudsen, President of General
Motors, who has plenty of millions of dollars.  Mrs. Brother
is a friend of Mrs. Knudsen and she told me that the NBC chimes
were being used in the palatial dining room of Knudsen, President 
of General Motors.  Mrs. Brother also told me that one of the
Knudsen daughters who is married has been trying for weeks to
talk her mother out of the chimes, but Mrs. Knudsen won't give
them up.

I also met C. A. Lewis, who is Paul Garrett's assistant in
General Motors in New York.  He told me that Buckham had given
him a set of the chimes and also sent a set over for Mr. Sloan.
He said since Mr. Sloan's personal and private secretary had
asked him if he could get another set, he was sure that Mr.
Sloan had also taken his set home.

Boy, you got something in "them there" chimes!

			         Yours sincerely,

RHW:w                              R. H. White

CC: Mr. Roy C. Witmer

Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

SCHOENHUT TOYS The Schoenhut Manufacturing Co. 2046 Castor Ave. Philadelphia, PA. July 1, 1938 Mr. E. P. H. James National Broadcasting Co. Inc. R.C.A. Building - Radio City New York, N.Y. Dear Mr. James: I have delayed answering your letter of June 8th until we came to a decision on the retail cost of the Radio Net- work Chimes. This has finally been established at 35¢. We did everything possible to make this a 25¢ number, but it just simply wasn't in the wood. At 35¢ I think we will do a good job, but naturally not like what we would have done with it had we been able to price it at a quarter. Again many thanks for your valuable assistance in securing the National Broadcasting Company's approval of our package. Yours very truly, THE SCHOENHUT MANUFACTURING CO. [signed] J Hugh McQuillen Secretary JMcQ:L
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

July 6, 1938 Mr J H McQuillen The Schoenhut Manufacturing Co 2046 Castor Avenue Philadelphia PA Dear Mr McQuillen: Thank you for your letter of July 1st, which I am acknowledging because Mr James is away on vaca- tion. Mr James will be very glad to know that you are now ready to retail your toy chimes. Very truly yours, Secy to E P H James MC
This is a carbon copy, so no signature is present. However, there are a few handwritten lines at the top of the sheet,
very forcefully written but later struck through. The only part that can be easily read is “Too expensive by far!”

Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

Radio Corporation of America INTERDEPARTMENTAL CORRESPONDENCE To: Mr. E.P.H.James, Sales Promotion Manager, NBC From: Mr. A. S.Greenberg Date: Nov.8, 1939 Subject: RCA-15622 James "Chimes Appln" Dear Mr. James:- I have not been successful thus far in securing patent protection on the chimes using the dummy chamber in one of the resonator tubes. The Patent Office has finally rejected the application on the ground that it would only involve a matter of mechanical design, and not ingenuity, to provide a dummy chamber in an un- symmetrical resonator tube. The purpose of this letter is to find out whether an appeal is warranted in this matter. That would entail, in addition to my time and work, a $15. appeal fee. Does the interest in the chimes still exist to an extent sufficient to warrant the appeal? The outcome of the appeal is doubtful, and less than 50-50 for a reversal of the Examiner. Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter, and I hope to hear from you soon. Yours very truly, [signed] A S Greenberg Assistant Patent Attorney. asg/aw
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter

To: Mr. A S Greenberg, RCA From: E P H James, NBC Date: November 22, 1939 Subject: PATENT PROTECTION NBC CHIMES Thank you for your memorandum of November 8th regarding the NBC Chimes. After checking with several people here at NBC, we have decided that an appeal is not warranted and we will forget it for the present. MC
Link to a scan of a photocopy of this letter