80 Years - The Evolution of Radios
Radios from the early 1920's operated on batteries. Around 1928, electric radios became available as a result of the development of the "indirect heated cathode" vacuum tube by RCA. This did not help the people who lived in the country where electricity was not available. This led to a new group of battery radios referred to as "FARM" radios, which continued into the late 1940's. Cabinets used during the 1920's were generally made of wood; however, some were metal and a few used an early manmade material called BAKELITE. The floor model radios were called HIGHBOYS, when the legs were longer than the cabinet, and LOBOYS, when the legs were shorter than the cabinet. Table radios were generally referred to as COMPACTS, regardless of how big they were. In later years they took on many informal names, generally associated with their shape.
By Cliff Huff
1924 Battery Breadboard
1928 Electric Lowboy
1928 Electric Highboy
1928 Electric Compact with Matching Speaker
This decade was called the GOLDEN AGE OF RADIOS. The 1930's saw the development of most of the CIRCUIT technology used today. Some of the more significant of these innovations were:
o Birth of Frequency Modulation (FM)
o Built-in electromagnetic and electrostatic speakers
o Many types of tuning devices such as pushbuttons, shadow graph tuning and Tuning Eye devices
o Many shapes, sizes, materials and styles of cabinets, incluiding the very popular Cathedral style cabinet. Some cabinets, made to disguise the radio, were called novelty radios
o Integrating record players with radios
o Beginning of built-in antennas in the late 1930's
o Wide use of Shortwave Bands - accentuated by the War-in-Europe
o Portable radios
o Small, cheap personal radios
1937 Electric "Tombstone"
1933 Electric Lowboy with Doors
1934 Art Deco with
1938 BC/SW Bands
1938 Bakelite - Art Deco style
The 1940's - 1960's
The 1940's were a ho-hum time for radios. TV was on the horizon, being introduced at the world's fair in New York in 1939. WW-II shut down all domestic electronics production until 1946. After the war, plastic, as we know it today, led to the inexpensive table-top radios. One of the more well known radio products of this time (1950-1970's) was the plastic alarm-clock radio which set on a table in almost every room of the house. The mass production of these cheap radios resulted in very inexpensive vacuum tubes. Most of these AM radios used what became known as the ALL AMERICAN FIVE set of miniature vacuum tubes.
The invention of the transistor by Bell Labs in the later 1940's, and subsequent miniaturization, (integrated circuit development by Texas Instruments in the early 1960's), revolutionized the electronics industry. This made possible the small, pocket transistor radio - the ultimate portable. And the flood gates opened on the imported Japanese radios.
The better quality floor model combinations (AM/FM radio, phonograph, television) took the place of the large radio consoles of the 1930's. Various types of tape recording devices were also being added. This was the beginning of what is today called the HOME ENTERTAINMENT CENTER.
1940 AM - Eurea Plastic case
1950 AM - Wooden case
1952 AM - colored Bakelite case
1940 AM - Mounted in a Globe
1946 AM - Metal Novelty
The 1970's - 2000's
The miniaturization of electronics resulted in a new generation of radios - The Transistorized NOVELTY Radio. These were small, inexpensive radios that are generally of three types:
o A reproduction of a very popular earlier vacuum tube radio
o A child's toy
Transistor AM/FM - Jukebox Novelty
Transistor AM/FM - Car Novelty
Transistor AM - Battery Novelty
Transistor AM/FM - Novelty
Hello, I collect and restore old radios and also some that are not so old. These pictures are from my collection. Also included is a brief overview of eight decades of domestic radio development.
Cliff Huff - Carrollton, TX
Place Mouse Over Picture for the Model Number
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