Dear Sun Spots: In response to the inquiry about Wiseman Electrical (Jan. 6, 2007): The name of the place was Wiseman Auto Electric. It was on Blake Street, just behind the Wiseman Building (Pine and Blake) which has since been destroyed by fire. It was also near where Lobsterland was once located. Here Philip J. Wiseman also ran a radio shop, sales and service. In the 1920s, radios ran on batteries, and people would bring in their batteries to be charged. The shop was the first in the state to sell radios. Silver Marshall they were called. They had gleaming chrome plated chassis.

The Wiseman Auto Electric Garage also was the only certified odometer, speedometer, calibration center for the state of Maine and also sold Atwater Kent radios.

Robert J. Wiseman and Philip J. Wiseman, were the sons of Dr. Robert J. Wiseman Sr., former mayor of Lewiston who practiced medicine in Lewiston for many years. Philip became head of maintenance at Poland Spring. Robert Jr. became a doctor and Lewiston health officer for many years.

I myself am the grandson of Dr. R. J. Wiseman Sr., nephew of Philip and Robert and son of Priscilla W. Dam, daughter of Dr. R. J. Wiseman Sr. – John Dam, Lewiston.

In addition to responses from other readers, Sun Spots wonders if you’re aware that you can check out the Web site for more on Atwater Kent radios. According to the site, Kent was a thrifty New Englander born in Vermont, educated in Massachusetts who invented the closely timed ignition system, and operated the world’s largest radio factory in Pennsylvania. He was always interested in automobiles and, particularly, in the means of igniting internal combustion engines. He patented the contractor, a breaker point mechanism, and the distributor to enable the use of a single coil. Income from his ignition systems enabled Kent to enter the radio business with a fully equipped manufacturing facility, a national service organization and an appealing concept, the Open Set. (We call them breadboards.)

Kent brought the best minds of his time into his organization to do radio design, factory operation, marketing and product advertising. He was demanding of his people, but fair. He was also very careful of his company’s reputation. His radios were of very high quality and reliability with strong customer appeal to the middle class. Kent’s customers often bought another Atwater Kent radio to replace an earlier one that lacked the newer features.

Dear Sun Spots: Is it possible to find out when the state quarters for 2007, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, will be coming out? Thank you. – Doris C., Sabattus.

As you and other state quarter collectors may have noted in previous columns, there is no actual date set for those quarters being released this year and next. Those to be released this year are: Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. In 2008 the states being released are Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii. According to the U.S. Mint Web site, none of these has been released yet. However, if you are interested in ensuring you’ll get these coins upon release, you can subscribe online at the U.S. Mint Web site at

Dear Sun Spots: I recycle Christmas holiday cards into gift tags. If anyone still has their cards, I will pick them up in the Lewiston/Auburn area. Or please send them to me and I will reimburse your postage and send you a packet of tags. Please call me at 786-3014. – Carol, Auburn.

Carol wondered if perhaps her request might elicit a ‘mountain’ of cards. However, Sun Spots has to say the samples Carol provided were beautiful and even better than those that are bought. Others wishing to reduce and recycle might also consider this option for recycling cards. In addition, you might also check out the Web for possible patterns that you and others might use for a variety of styles.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]

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