Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Morton Chevrolet & KDKA election results ad, 1948

In 1948, the technology that provided election results wasn't as up-to-the-minute as it is today. Voters relied on radios, or their daily papers, to find out the election's outcome.

According to the November 2, 1948, Beaver Valley Times, that evening's KDKA election results radio broadcast would be the 28th anniversary of the first public radio election returns broadcast in Beaver County. Even reporting the election returns on the radio was quite the process back in 1920:
The returns were broadcast by KDKA, Pittsburgh, in its initial regularly-scheduled service and were received by the Daily Times, forerunner of the Beaver County Times, in Beaver.

Reception of the returns was made possible by Walter Barnhart, head of the Barnhart radio and electric store in Beaver, who built and operated the receiving equipment and amplifier used by the newspaper. No loud speakers were available, but Mr. Barnhart devised an amplifier by using a large megaphone loaned by Beaver high school.
A large crowd listened to the broadcast at the office of the Daily Times on Third street.
Morton Chevrolet, KDKA election results ad
Daily Citizen
November 1, 1948

1948, the year of the ad above, was also the year of the upset election in which the polls had predicted Republican Thomas E. Dewey would win the presidential election; but the polls were wrong, and Harry S. Truman became president. Truman was famously pictured gleefully holding up the erroneous November 3, 1948, Chicago Daily Tribune, with the large banner headline "Dewey Defeats Truman," and reportedly said, "That ain't the way I heard it."

Even though Dewey won Pennsylvania's presidential vote, the Daily Times reported that Ambridge had voted 2 - 1 for Truman.

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