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John F. Rider (1900–1985) was an American radio engineer best known as publisher and author of over 125 books for radio and television servicing. He founded John F. Rider Publisher Inc., and was responsible for annual volumes of the Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual from 1931 to 1954.

John F. Rider
John F. Rider Publisher of Technical Books for Radio and TV.jpg
John Francis Rider

OccupationActing Director (Signal Corps Publication Agency, US Army), Radio Engineer, Author and Publisher
Known forPublishing yearly volumes of the "Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual" 1931-1954
TitleLt. Col. John F. Rider, Signal Corps, US Army (Ret.)
Spouse(s)Florence Rider, Born approx. 1907, New York
ChildrenJanet Rider, Born approx. 1932, New York
AwardsLegion of Merit (February 1946)


Early yearsEdit

Born in 1900 to Austro-Hungarian parents, John Francis Rider immigrated to the United States in 1902 and grew up during the invention of the vacuum tube by J Ambrose Fleming and Lee DeForest and the invention of radio by Guglielmo Marconi. Before getting involved into publishing he served at the rank of Lt Colonel for the US Signal Corps after military service he became a radio engineer for Alfred H. Grebe a manufacturer of radios.[1] According to Alan Douglas, a noted radio historian, Rider may have been one of the many engineers that worked on Grebe's top of the line Synchrophase 7 Receivers in 1927.[2] He states, "John Rider was a good engineer, aside from his publishing career. I believe he designed the audio system of the 1927 Grebe Synchrophase 7, arguably the first hi-fi radio (response to 8kHz, way ahead of broadcast standards of the day). He conceived the idea of a tuned analyzer (Chanalyst) and sold the first VTVM using the balanced-bridge circuit that became universal for decades (Voltohmyst). He got his name on several patents in the test-equipment field, and wrote a large number of books himself".[3]

Rider probably accumulated a lot of knowledge through his military experience and radio engineering which enabled him to work for Hugo Gernsback as editor for Gernsback's Radio Craft Magazine. During the 1920s with the rise of radio manufacturers came the rise of the radio servicing business. The need for radio servicing literature (schematics, parts list, production changes etc.) rose. Gernsback started to produce compilations of servicing data for radio repair. See reference for example.[4] Rider was also an amateur radio operator and his call letters were W2RID.

John F. Rider Publisher IncEdit

Rider left Gernsback Publishing to start his own publishing company, John F. Rider Publisher at 404 Fourth Avenue, New York, New York (later moved to 480 Canal St., New York, New York). He, like Gernsback Publishing before him was involved with radio servicing literature. In early 1931 John F. Rider's Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual was`published. The book consisted of genuine service technical data from the radio manufacturers. Each volume represented a year of service data. This, in time became his best known and greatest contribution to the business. There were a total of 23 volumes, ending in 1954. Rider also published over a 125 other technical books on servicing and radio theory authored by him or in collaboration. He was a contributor to the WW2 US war effort through his technical publications and teaching military personnel for the US Army.

After WW2, many of the military training manuals were available at little or minimal charge. This was a great opportunity for publishers to capitalize on this as men leaving active military duty were looking to start a career or retrain. In 1955, Rider published the Basic Electronics series, based on the US Navy training books used in their training classes.[5][6]

The Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual 1931-1954Edit

Considered by radio collectors and restorers as his most important work. Rider made great strides to work with as many radio manufacturers as possible to get any servicing information that was available. As a result, the yearly bound volumes got quite large (sometimes over 600 pages). Manufacturers were represented were mainly from the United States. Often many uncommon and obscure models were listed. This gave others like Supreme Publications owner, Morris N Beitman an opportunity to provide a source of more common models, cutting the size and cost of obtaining service literature.

Rider stopped publishing the yearly Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual in 1954 for many reasons. One reason was the introduction of television in 1946. Rider started a Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual series for television. The television bound volumes became too large and there were many production changes for the models listed that Rider did not always have the opportunity to update or publish supplements. The other and probably the best reason that force the end of John F. Rider, Publisher Inc, was that Howard W. Sams Publishing or SAMS Publishing of Indianapolis, IN developed and copyrighted the Photofact service folder that had all the things that Rider provided but added large photographs to identify the parts along with much better written servicing instructions. This became important in complex circuits that have a high parts density in a given area, such as television and hi fidelity equipment. Such products became more prevalent after 1946, which coincides with the beginning of SAM's Photofacts. The large volume of TV service data was partly the result of RCA promoting the NTSC television design (based on its model 6TS30 chassis) by giving away its television designs for no royalties, and the rapid improvements in technology and production methods. Furthermore, SAMS Publishing released service notes by folder number (containing specific makes and models) not large bound volumes, making it easier to purchase servicing information.

The end of John F. Rider Publisher IncEdit

In 1955 John F. Rider Publications and all rights were acquired by Hayden Books. He stayed with Hayden until 1959. Rider retired from publishing in 1963 and moved to Florida. In 1985, he died in Miami. Other credits to his name include the Legion of Merit (LOM) Award and the Ralph Batcher Memorial Award in 1977,[7] presented to him by the Radio Club of America, for his preservation of radio and electronic communications in the United States.[8]

Military serviceEdit

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Col. Rider entered the service (age 42) with the grade of captain and after a brief stay at Ft. Monmouth was assigned to the Signal Corps Radar School (later, the Southern Signal Corps School) at Camp Murphy, Florida. There he organized and directed the Training Literature Division, whose responsibility was the preparation and printing of the texts to be used for the training of Early Warning and Antiaircraft Artillery radar maintenance personnel. It was in this school that virtually all ground force radar equipment maintenance personnel were trained. In addition, the school also trained ground force radar equipment operators and some airborne radar equipment maintenance men.

During his tour of duty at the SSCS, he was given a special assignment at Baltimore to direct the preparation of the prototype for all technical manuals on radar equipment to be used by the army. After about 20 months at Camp Murphy, Col. Rider was ordered to Ft. Monmouth to organize the Radar Division of the Signal Corps Publication Agency. This organization was responsible for the preparation of all literature (technical) on all signal-communication equipment procured by the Signal Corps, which covered everything from pigeons to radar. After about seven months of activity on radar literature, Col. Rider was made executive officer of the entire agency and placed in charge of all operations. Later, he became Deputy Director and when retired, he was Acting Director.

During his army career, Col. Rider received a number of commendations from the Chief Signal Officer and the Adjutant General, the Meritorious Service citation, and in February 1946, he was awarded the Legion of Merit decoration.[9]

Further readingEdit

More about John F. Rider can be found in the Journal of the American Wireless Association (AWA) Volume 16 (2003) Page 135 "John F. Rider, Hugo Gernsback and RCA Radiotron", by Charles Kirsten.

Some of Rider's other publicationsEdit

Earliest Known Year of Publishing Given. Many of the books listed were later updated or revised by Rider to be on pace with current technology and servicing practices. All books written by John F. Rider. Books that were co-written are noted by the person's name.

Title Earliest Publication Date Co-Author Comment
The Mathematics of Radio 1929 -----
A.C. Tubes And How To Use Them 1929? ----- Need to confirm the earliest publication date.
Trouble Shooter's Manual: Volume II, The Service Man's Manual 1929 ----- Pre-Perpetual Trouble Shooter's Manual. Bound, Soft Cover.
A Treatise on Testing Units for the Service Men 1929 -----
Sound Pictures And Trouble Shooter's Manual 1930 James R. Cameron Cameron Publishing Company. James R. Cameron introduces John F. Rider as a new writer to readers of motion picture text books.
Practical Testing Systems 1930 -----
Practical Radio Repairing Hints 1931 -----
Servicing Superheterodynes December, 1931 ----- This is the Original Edition, 1st Printing. The Revised Edition, 1st Printing July, 1934
Servicing Receivers by means of Resistance Measurements 1932 -----
The Cathode-Ray Tube At Work August, 1935 -----
An Hour A Day with Rider On: Automatic Volume Control 1936 -----
An Hour A Day with Rider On: Resonance And Alignment 1936 -----
An Hour A Day with Rider On: D-C. Voltage Distribution In Radio Receivers 1936 -----
An Hour A Day with Rider On: Alternating Currents In Radio Receivers 1937 -----
Aligning Philco Receivers 1937 ----- Volume I
Automatic Frequency Control Systems 1937 -----
Servicing By Signal Tracing 1939 -----
FM: An Introduction To Frequency Modulation March, 1940 -----
The Oscillator At Work 1940 -----
The Meter At Work December, 1940 ----- Split-Book, Upper is for illustrations, Lower is for text.
Vacuum Tube Voltmeters 1941 -----
Automatic Record Changers and Recorders 1941 -----
Aligning Philco Receivers: Volume II 1941 -----
Frequency Modulation 1943 -----
Inside The Vacuum Tube 1945 ----- Illustrated by Baxter Rowe. Stereoscopic Effect on Anaglyphs facing pages 9, 37, and 122, by using included Red/Blue Spectacles.
RADAR: What It Is 1946 George Clemens Baxter Rowe An easily understood explanation - How it did its job.
Understanding Vectors and Phase 1947 Seymour Uslan
Television: How It Works June, 1948 -----
Installation and Servicing Low Cost Public Address Systems 1948 -----
Rider Public Address Equipment Manual: Volume I 1948 -----
Volume 1 and 2 Rider's Television Manual 1949 -----
Encyclopedia of Cathode Ray Oscilloscopes and Their Uses 1950 Seymour Uslan
Radio Troubleshooting Guidebook 1954 J. Richard Johnson
Obtaining & Interpreting Test Scope Traces 195? -----
Magnetism and Electromagnetism 1959 -----

The On Line Rider's Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual- Nostalgia Air ProjectEdit

With the large interest of restoration and saving consumer "dead technology", the need for Rider servicing literature has grown. At this time the Rider servicing manuals are public domain. For historical and preservation reasons Nostagia Air ( took on a long term task of digitizing the thousands of pages of all 23 volumes of the Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manuals and designing the manufacturer index to allow one to have access to all volumes. Nostalgia Air provides free access and downloading for non-commercial use only.[10] Because of the public domain status, modern scanning and digitizing technology there are businesses selling the complete 23 volumes on one DVD.


  1. ^ Fritz, Jose. "An Hour A Day with John F. Rider". Arcane Radio Trivia. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  2. ^ Douglas, Alan (1989). Radio Manufacturers of the 1920's VOL 2. Chandler, AZ: Sonoran Publishing LLC. pp. 50–51. ISBN 1-886606-00-5.
  3. ^ Douglas, Alan. "Who is John F. Rider". Antique Radio Forum. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  4. ^ Gernsback, Sydney (1927). Radio Encyclopedia 1927. New York: Gernsback Publications.
  5. ^ Rider, John F. "John F. Rider 1900-1985 W2RID" (PDF). W8SU. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  6. ^ Fritz, Jose. "An Hour A Day with John F. Rider". Arcane Radio Trivia. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  7. ^ Batcher Memorial, Ralph. "The Radio Club of America Awards". Radio Clubs of America, Littleton CO. Archived from the original on 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  8. ^ Rider, John F. "John F. Rider 1900-1985 W2RID" (PDF). W8SU. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  9. ^ Rider, John F. (May 1946). "RADAR What It Is".
  10. ^ Air, Nostalgia. "About Nostalgia Air". Nostalgia Air. Retrieved 2013-03-29.