vintage radio

Posted to Pinterest, contributor unknown.

With all of the publicity given to RadioShack, its bankruptcy, and possible reorganization in the past few months, I decided that it was only fitting to take a look at the electronic retailer’s long and interesting history.

From The Mailbag

May 19, 2015
Gary of Rockaway, N.J. Used with permission.

I received many comments about last month’s Trans-oceanic article, mostly about the fond memories from past owners of the radios, and a few questions about them as well. In addition, Gary of Rockaway, N.J., shared this picture of his Clearfield glass dealer’s display radio and a short story of how he obtained it.

Gary writes:

P. Litwinovich collection.

Last month, we took a look at the beginnings of what would be the age of connectivity on the go, the battery portable radio. This month I'll feature a line of battery powered tube radios that brought the technology to its pinnacle. The Zenith Trans-Oceanic series of shortwave portables would stretch from 1941 through 1982, with tube models produced until 1963. The radios performed so well, and became so popular, that they earned the nickname "The Royalty of Radios."

Columbia University, Wikipedia, and others, photographer unknown.

In today’s age of mobile devices we can hardly imagine being on the go and not being connected at the same time. It was not always the case. As soon as radio became popular with the masses, the desire for portability, and hence the ability to stay in touch with what was going on in the world from anywhere became a priority. It was however, not a goal that would be easily achieved with 1920s era technology.

P. Litwinovich collection

As the country emerged from the Great Depression, and with war looming on the horizon, Americans were looking for something to cheer them up. The radio industry answered with Catalin cabinet radios. Catalin is a brand name for the popular thermosetting polymer developed by the American Catalin Corporation in the 1930s. It is an early plastic made from phenol formaldehyde resins. Early on, radio manufacturers had sought an economical replacement for costly wood cabinets.

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