Your ‘Must Have’ Vintage Radios!
Why is there a revival in Retro Vintage Radios? And when I say vintage, I mean 20th Century!
Well, to be honest for me the answer is easy. Yes, you can have a tiny iPod, (which are very handy and a genius of technology and engineering, but I mislay mine constantly due to it’s size!), but you can’t really beat a vintage radio for both substance and style. There are so many to choose from and, yes, some of the most iconic names were actually ‘Made in Britain!’ Even more amazing!
On the 14th February 1922, Captain Peter Eckersley, a Marconi Engineer, broadcast the first wireless entertainment programme at 2MT, Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, UK.
2MT was the first British radio station to make regular entertainment broadcasts, and first in the world for regular wireless entertainment.
His regular announcement was “This is Two Emma Toc, Writtle testing, Writtle testing.”
Most of us will never have heard of 2MT, but its sister station, 2LO, which began transmitting from Marconi House on the Strand in London on 11th May 1922, led to the formation of the BBC.
Wireless radio entertainment had entered people’s home and was there to stay!
This is a great photo from the 1930s of a young lady with her ‘portable’ radio!
There are some very pretty, and highly sought after, Bakelite and wooden cased radios from the 1930s, as shown in the images below.
The late 1930s and 1940s also produced some very interesting designs! The brown bakelite and wood of the 1920s and early 30s makes way for the wonderful colours in Catalin, especially in America and Australia. Chrome accents were popular and used extensively too. If you are lucky to find any of these radios in good condition, you will be parting with quite a lot of money!
It wasn’t until after WW2, and the advent of the transistor in 1947, did radio really take off. People had more expendable income, radios were seen as props in cult films and used by famous actors, and it was the era of ‘Rock and Roll.’ This all added up to the ‘baby boomers’ being desperate to try out new radio design and technology.
The radio manufacturers increased output throughout the World, particularly in the Far East, with the rise of the brands such as Sony and Sanyo in Japan. Many companies were falling over themselves to come up with better, cheaper or novelty items, as seen in the selection of images below!
The Regency TR-1 was the first portable transistor radio to be sold in 1954. It was the result of a collaboration between two companies: Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas, and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.), Indianapolis, Indiana. It was quite small and could be held in the hand: I think the iPod has a similar look!
After the 1950s, the design and number of manufacturers of radios soared. That was until the 1980s, which saw the advent of the boom box radio, which you would hardly describe as portable, quickly followed by the introduction of DAB radio in 1997!
A selection of vintage radios 1960-1990
Then came the arrival of digital technology, DAB, and data streaming. It looked like the traditional radio had reached the end of its life but that wasn’t the case. Then came the ‘Revival’!
In 1990, a Martini advert featured the iconic Roberts R200 ‘Handbag’ radio. People clamoured to buy one, so much so that Roberts introduced a ‘Revival’ of their much loved radio but using the new DAB technology, with internals sourced from the Far East, and a much cheapened cabinet construction. These retro radios are still popular today but its more about the sound, the look and the history that keeps people interested!
I hope I have given you a flavour of ‘ Your Must Have Vintage Radios‘ and why I think there has been a rise in popularity of ‘retro’ radio. The images of the radios speak for themselves!