postal engineer (1907-1983)

Born in Zilah, Romania in 1907. His father, the elder Géza Kádár was protestant priest later vice bishop. The younger Géza Kádár studied at the Hungarian secondary school of Zilah but his final exam was unsuccessful, most probably because he did not speak Romanian. Romanian teachers arrived in the secondary school and they failed all the students. In 1927 students were forced to travel to Hungary where they successfully took the final exam in Debrecen.

Géza Kádár started his studies at the Budapest University of Technology in the same year. He graduated in 1932 as mechanical engineer, but as Romanian citizen he had to return to Romania to accomplish the one-year compulsory military service.
After his military service he came back to Hungary where he started working at the Hungarian Royal Post in 1934 as scribe. Not being Hungarian citizen he could only take a lower position. It was very difficult to acquire the Hungarian citizenship, finally his father (by then vice-bishop in Kluj at the church of Magyar street) came over to assist his son with his own connections. Géza Kádár’s career started to skyrocket.

His first accomplishment is in relation to radio networks and Endre Magyari, with whom he became good friends. He first got to know the transmitter in Lakihegy then oversaw the construction of the Fehervar Öreghegy. He traveled to Fehervar often on his company car (Gero Ormos reminisced that he was his boss at the Öreghegy…). In the publication “50 Years of Postal Engineers’ Services” he is mentioned as engineer who works at the Radio Operational department of the Telegraph and Telephone Directorate.

Other sources say that he was heading the Radio Counseling and Radio Interference Measuring Service. Attila Makkai remembered that Géza Kádár hired him as intern around 1941-43 when he was 14.
Because of electric interference making radio pickup impossible, the Post has hired special staff in the 1930s to search and prevent interferences. By 1936 there were four engineers and 16 operators worked on 32360 reports in a year. Among their equipment they had one oscilloscope and twelve interference detectors. On the September 1936 exhibition the Post presented the method and equipment of interference inspection and provided counseling and free of charge tube measuring service.

From 1937 the Radio counseling and Tube Measuring Service received a permanent place and personnel in the building of the Pos headquarters in the 5th district, Petőfi Sándor street. This is where Géza Kádár was employed as head of engineers. In 1943 an article appeared under his name: “Evaluating the Quality of Radio Transmitters” in the publication “Radio Compass, Guide for 1943”. He must have been hired as permanent staff, since he is mentioned as postal engineer of the Hungarian kingdom in the Radio Compass.
At the end of the war 28 radio engineers of the Hungarian Post 22 have left the country together with the German forces to the West. Géza Kádár was one of the six radio engineers who stayed in Hungary. He survived the siege of Budapest in their home in Zuhatag street. He was probably not forced to go West because he worked at the Radio Counseling service and he was out of sight of the authorities. It was the engineers and experts of radio stations that were forced to leave the country.
After the war he was still managing the Radio Intermittence Supervision and Radio Counseling Services, so in 1947 for example he still had a company car together with a chauffeur. He designed the first tube measuring equipment for the radio tube inspection. In some parts of surveying the radio intermittences, you need shielded environment. The first of shielded measuring room was built on the initiation of Géza Kádár in the cellar of the Post Experimental Station. From the building in Petofi Sandor street (where the intermittence inspectors were working) the people were commuting to the Experimental station even during the end of the 50’s if they wanted to make a measurement like that.

In the Radio Annals of 1948 his writing appeared with the title „Spread of Radio Waves and Interference”. At that time his rank was chief postal engineer. He has a similar article in the 1948 Radio Compass „Reception Interference and How to Avoid Them”.
Around 1950 he is commissioned to build the cable network of radio in Hungary. He does this with responsibility and precision. He must have thought this was important. Today we think of cable radio as the controlling mechanism of the Rakosi era, which was created so that people could not listen to foreign radios only the Kossuth radio, transmitting the messages of the party. The issue is not that simple however. Laszlo Zelenka went on a study trip to the Netherlands in 1936 where he studied cable radio. He wrote an article in Radio Technology about his experiences. Cable radio was popular in Switzerland, Netherlands, England, Belgium and Germany.

There were two good reasons for their existence in these countries and in Hungary: good voice quality and low price. In villages where there was no electricity, there was hardly any radio. For cable radio you only needed electricity in the nodes, not at the end points – the loudspeakers.
After the war, in a poor and looted country people were happy to have cable radio, because for a monthly fee of HUF 6 they could get cheap entertainment, knowledge and information in villages. Cable radio was based on nodes where a receiver got the transmission of a central station (Lakihegy), then they changed the voice into voice frequency lines with high-performance amplifiers. There could be 20-30 4-Watt loudspeakers connected to a 100 watt amplifier. Nodes could be placed in postal offices or the mayor’s office and postal officers were responsible for their management. In Budapest the nodes got the voice directly from the studio, one of the nodes was in the post office in the so-called “Klotild Palace”.
In the early 1950s Géza Kádár’s engineer salary was quite low. He earned HUF 700 a month as the only bread earner in the family. He had to take a second job in the Orion factory, repairing faulty radio equipment for HUF 100 a day. (He got married in 1942 and had two daughters).
He repaired stuff around the house but did not make a radio as an amateur. When the first television experiments started he got a company tv for try. This was an East-German „Rubens”, for which he made aerials himself so that he could get the transmission of a further away stations. This was not successful he could only get some transmission from the South, Yugoslavia. Their apartment in the foot of Svab-hill was not ideally placed. Later he was interested in quadforphone experiments and voice transmitters. He built a large loudspeaker in the corner of their living room.
As part of his job he conducted postal operator- and sparks training and wrote textbooks for them entitled „Introduction to Radio Technology”. This textbook was published four times, last time in 1955 by the Technical Printing. He also taught at the vocational school on Gyali street, his name appears in the Anniversary Annals as contract lecturer. In 1951 his book „Loudspeakers” was printed by the Transport Printing Company and at the time was used as textbook. According to the Preface of the author he meant to provide practical information to experts, with minimal mathematical explanation. This was true to his later materials as well, his drawings and the practices for repairmen became regular handbooks.
In 1956 his textbook „Radio Technology I.” appeared for the third-year students of Telecommunication Vocational school and then the next edition appeared with his editorial work, written by others, since that was about transmission technology.
Géza Kádár worked with receivers mainly. In 1956 his drawings entitled „Connections of Radio Receivers” appeared and was so popular that in 1957 it was re-printed in an edited and enlarged version. At that time Géza Kádár was working at Post Headquarters at the Radio Reception Technology Department as the officer of radio interference prevention. The drawings were done by two colleagues of his Béla Fazekas and Jozsef Pál.
In 1958 another book was published for repairmen „Radio and Televison Receivers”, which is quite interesting and valuable, since the first picture and connection drawing of a television was in, among them the legendary „Leningrad T-2”.

Until 1979 he published collections and service-books every year or every other year, but he also contributed to the „Industrial Library” series as well. His last published work is „Radio and TV Circuitry 1975-77” in 1979 at the Technical Printing House.
He was a gracious host and he always liked to entertain his wide network of friends. The experts of radio receiving from socialist countries met in the framework of OSZSZ (similar to OIRT) each year in a different country, and the atmosphere in the 50’s became ever friendlier. Since he spoke good German and Romanian he contributed to the development of this friendly relationship. (He did not speak Russian however and the interpreter caused a lot of problems with her lack of the appropriate key words.)
As a result of the conferences the first standard (Postal standard) appeared in 1960 about the methods and requirements of interference prevention.
Before his retirement his last national work was the diffusion of cable radio. The cheap transistor radios operating on one or two AA batteries made cable radio obsolete, especially since the maintenance of this system was far bigger than the subscription fees could have covered.
As the child of a protestant priest he could not proclaim atheist principles and join the communist party. In October 1956 he was voted into the “Worker’s Council”. Maybe this was the reason why he never got a passport between 1967-70 to visit his friends in the US and at 60 he was forced into retirement.
After his retirement Janos Volgyi asked him to come and work at Gelka (an electric equipment repair service).This work helped him both spiritually and financially. In 1975 at the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Radio people still thought of him. He received an Arany memorial ring and plaque. In the anniversary edition of “Modulator”, the magazine of radio technology, he published an article in which he remembered radio interference prevention and its history.
He died at age 76 in April 1983 in Budapest. There was a short obituary published in the July 1983 edition of Radio Technology.

My thanks to Csilla Székelyné Kádár, Mrs. Klara Pataki, Béla Násfay, Árpád Koós and Ferenc Kovács for the information they shared with me.

Dénes B. Balás


50 Years of Postal Engineer Service Ministry of Commerce of his Highness, Bp. 1938.
Obituary. Rádo Technology, July 1983, Budapest.
Dénes B. Balás: Dr. Endre Magyari Postal Engineer Worked in Gyali Street.
Tivadar Puskás Telecommunication Vocational School. 2004, Budapest.
Geza Kádár: Interesting Cases of Averting Interference . Modulátor, 1975. 7th year, 1st ed.
Gusztav Sugár: History of Hungarian Radio until 1945. PRTMIG, Budapest, 1985.
Istvan Stur: Radio Exhibition of September 1936. Hungarian Post, No. 1936./10. Budapest.