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Communications Technology

Transistor Radio Turns 50 175

theodp writes "Before the iPod, there was the Regency TR-1. Fifty years ago Monday, tiny Indianapolis-based I.D.E.A. partnered with TI and shook the world with the first pocket-sized AM radio, so impressing IBM chief Tom Watson that he provided a $49.95 (roughly $345 in current dollars!), four transistor TR-1 to each of his senior managers to kick-start the company's transition from valves."
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Transistor Radio Turns 50

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  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) <homerun@gmail.com> on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:06PM (#10560650)
    For a neat one page history of the shirt-pocket sized transistor radio along with a picture of the TR-1, go here: transistor radio [acusd.edu]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:21PM (#10560750)
      If you look at the expanded pic [acusd.edu] of the "shirt-pocket radio", you also see a Zenith hearing aid, which has a shape (especially considering the location of the earphone) surprisingly similar to an iPod...
      • That reminds me of an AM radio I built from one of those copper coil kits for kids. It was more of an ear-plug than a headphone, though. And when I say ear-plug, I mean that it was a massive thing that went right down your ear canal.

        Which reminds me of the first headphone I ever used. It was a single ear-plug that plugged into one of those K-Mart black and white TVs. It was plastic, but the cord was a simple twisted deal. Not much in the way of wire protection.

        God, this stuff takes me back.
        • When I was 5 my dad helped me build a crystal radio from scratch.
          we wrapped copper wire around a TP roll, got a germanium diode, a copper strip, a 2,000ohm earphone and a board.
          We wrapped the wire around the TP roll and shellaced it. We screwed the copper strip to the board with the other parts, wired it all up and I was listening to radio without batteries. I thought that was neater than hell (in 1966) and it really inspired me to experimenting.
          When I was six, a kid gave me a transistor radio he dropped,
          • When I was 5 my dad helped me build a crystal radio from scratch.
            we wrapped copper wire around a TP roll, got a germanium diode, a copper strip, a 2,000ohm earphone and a board.


            Yep, that's pretty much like the radio I built. Unfortunately, we were so far away from the broadcasting stations that I could only pick up the feignest of signals. The electric motor kit was much more interesting, especially after my dad explained how it could work as a generator if you applied mechanical power.

            Odd as it may sou
          • Oh and btw, here's an oldie I've been hanging onto for some years now. I don't really know the age of this thing, I bought it at a flea market about 15 years ago and it's in magnificent condition..

            http://www.systemrecycler.com/pocketradio/ [systemrecycler.com]
        • That reminds me of an AM radio I built from one of those copper coil kits for kids. It was more of an ear-plug than a headphone, though. And when I say ear-plug, I mean that it was a massive thing that went right down your ear canal.

          A crystal radio.

          Sadly, every crystal radio I ever built only picked up WBAL [wbal.com], which turned me into a talk radio junkie at 7.
      • My first impression seeing that picture was that the thing in the front was some recent MP3 player, put there to contrast it with the old radios.. Only reading the text below revealed it was a 1952 design. Case is quite rounded and silver and very small.

      • by boredMDer ( 640516 ) <pmohr+slashdot@boredmder.com> on Monday October 18, 2004 @08:26PM (#10561061)
        'which has a shape...surprisingly similar to an iPod...

        ...you mean a rectangle?
      • by biobogonics ( 513416 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @11:03PM (#10561971)
        If you look at the expanded pic of the "shirt-pocket radio", you also see a Zenith hearing aid, which has a shape (especially considering the location of the earphone) surprisingly similar to an iPod...

        "Why a hearing aid?" you may ask. Interesting history there - Bell Labs, probably in view of the work done by Alexander Graham Bell with the deaf and hard of hearing, allowed transistors to be used in hearing aids without royalty payments. If you have ever seen the large B batteries once used with vacuum tubes, you will understand why the transistor was such a breakthrough in creating a wearable hearing aid.

        • The typical B battery was about the size of a cassette Walkman[tm], but weighed quite a bit more, several pounds (weight US, not monetary, UK). Then you had to have your A battery for the filaments, and your C battery for the grid (technically, you might skip this one with cathode bias). Add in the wight of the larger components, the extra heat dissipated, the heavier chassis and case to protect the glass tubes from breakage (and the wearer from heat and broken glass), and you had a substantial package o
  • Transistors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman@gm3.14ail.com minus pi> on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:06PM (#10560655) Homepage Journal
    UltraSparc IV: 66 million transistors [aceshardware.com]
    Pentium IV Prescott: 125 million transistors [tech-report.com]
    Power4: 170 million transistors [geek.com]

    So how many transistors are in the TR-1?

    4

    For everything else, there's vacuum tubes. (Or diodes, depending on your radio set.) :-)
    • Re:Transistors (Score:4, Interesting)

      by antiMStroll ( 664213 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:20PM (#10560745)
      4! I dreamed of a four as a kid, back when radios bragged right on the front panel about the number of silicon devices inside. Mine was stuck with two but it had the side benefit of being a conversation starter. People couldn''t understand how a radio with 2 transistors worked.
      • What, are you some kind of a weird kid too young for /. ??? In my time the radios mentioning "7 transistors inside" were made out of germanium transistors!

        Paul B.
      • 4! I dreamed of a four as a kid, back when radios bragged right on the front panel about the number of silicon devices inside.

        Of course there were some advantages to vacuum tubes. I enjoyed my bedside "All American 5" tube set. The lovely glow served as a night light and I could use it as a hand warmer when it was cold. Also, it was great fun to turn the set off and listen to the sound disappear as the tubes cooled.

        (You know you are getting old when you remember the days when you had to "warm up" electro
    • Re:Transistors (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Recip_saw ( 734767 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:24PM (#10560766)
      Later there was a class of radios called "Boy radios" from Japan. The US put a high tariff on devices having 3 or more transistors, so the Japanese designed radios using only two. Very clever designs using only 1 transistor to do all the initial amplification and signal detection and then one to amplifiy the signal for a speaker.
      • This type of design was common with portable radios -- tube radios. I used to collect old radios & TVs and refurbish them when in high school. Portable battery operated radios, lunch box sized recievers for consumer use and trancievers for military or emergency services, had some amazing circuitry to reduce size & power.

        An easy thing to do was combine several elements into a single tube. That meant a single power-hungry filament could support two triodes and/or pentodes, and possibly also a couple

  • by kalpol ( 714519 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:08PM (#10560663) Homepage
    Must be using one for his web server.
  • by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:12PM (#10560692) Journal
    Heh. Funny to think that at one time, a transistor radio would be as ostentatious as the little white iPod headphones.

    Of course there were no portable headphones.

    Just saying.
  • On my way back from a football game where my Dad was using a transistor radio, to listen to the play-by-play, I listened to my 5cmX1cmX3cm transistor Radio Shack radio.

    They are ubiquitous in our lives now, and it's hard to imagine a world without miniturized electronics.
  • by fembots ( 753724 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:13PM (#10560700) Homepage
    The germanium transistor was first demonstrated privately at Bell Labs Dec. 23, 1947, by William Shockley and his team. However, production problems delayed its practical use. Until it was perfected, the invention was kept secret for 7 months and no patents were filed until 1948; the first public announcement was June 30, 1948.

    Nowadays, it's more like the patent was filed 5 years ago out of thin air, first public announcement was 24 months ago. Product is sold with some bugs and patches/fixes/recalls were made in the following 24 months.
    • Here [cox.net] is a pdf copy of the patent. Notice how the complete circuit diagram, together with a detailed description is included. That's what a patent is supposed to be, not the obvious and vague "one-click" shit they patent today.
  • 50 years? (Score:3, Funny)

    by comwiz56 ( 447651 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ziwmoc.> on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:13PM (#10560701) Homepage
    How many people on slashdot have been alive this long?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:22PM (#10560754)
      "How many people on slashdot have been alive this long?"

      And are still virgins?
    • I hope to live to see 100 year old I Love Lucy re-runs, at least.

      Too old to be a "boomer", too young to be "gen X"...

    • "How many people on slashdot have been alive this long?"

      None of us. We're all over on Geezerdot.

    • I remember my first transister radio in the 60s. Red plastic with a dead cow's skin case.

      Soldered a six-transister radio from a correspondence electronics course in the late 60s. Still have it.
    • I'll be 50 next year. I'd forgotten I have to call the transistor radio, "sir".

      It's not really odd to me that most folks have no clue what a vacuum tube is. It's a bit odd that most folks have no clue what a transistor is. Society has changed as much as technology over the last 50 years, at least in the USA.

      50 years ago, almost everyone knew what a tube was, whether they cared or not (and most cared to some degree).[0] Today most people know what a computer or iPod is, whether they care or not, but an
  • Inflation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morkano ( 786068 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:18PM (#10560729)
    he provided a $49.95 (roughly $345 in current dollars!)

    Wow. What struck me most about that article is how much inflation there's been in 50 years. Thats 700%! I don't know about you, but to me that's just insane.
    • Re:Inflation (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:31PM (#10560796)
      Wow. What struck me most about that article is how much inflation there's been in 50 years. Thats 700%! I don't know about you, but to me that's just insane.

      Especially considering more than half of that inflation occurred between 1970 and 1983.

    • Re:Inflation (Score:5, Informative)

      by qbzzt ( 11136 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:41PM (#10560852)
      Actually, it's not that bad.

      345/49.95 = 6.9 (= 590% inflation)
      power(6.9,1/50) = 1.04 (= 4% inflation).

      4% inflation is not such a big deal.
      • Ahh, but where does the value of the money go? How much value did the government and banks get through the federal reserve system?
        • Nowhere. Inflation doesn't do that. It's just a changing of the scale; there's no wealth going to any particular source. Unchecked inflation is bad for banks because it makes investment more costly, which raises interest rates, which reduces demand for loans (their main source of income). And the Federal Reserve doesn't work like that. The best measure of national wealth is the real GDP.
          • Re:Inflation (Score:3, Informative)

            by falsified ( 638041 )
            People will nitpick, so:

            GNP (Gross national product) measures the amount of output produced by all people/firms/capital from a nation, regardless of where that input is located; a Korean car plant in Kentucky counts for Korea's GNP, not the USA's. So, in a sense, the GDP doesn't measure national wealth, but output produced within a particular country.

            • Then how do you explain that the value of gold hasn't changed in thousands of years? A nice gold coin can buy you a suit and pair of shoes, and 2 thousand years ago, a nice toga and sandals.

              Inflation doesn't happen because joe farmer wants more for his corn, and therefor the blacksmith charges more. No, it happens because more money is printed and it trickles out. Why was there no depressions or inflation before the federal reserve system?

              Our money is worthless, it's entire value is based on the th
              • Well. My post completely backs up what you're saying. The value of gold hasn't changed relative to other things because its utility hasn't been significantly modified.

                Inflation happens because people are always trying to get the upper hand, even Farmer Joe, AND because more money is being printed. When more money is printed for no reason, hyperinflation occurs (Think Russia in 1996 or the former Weimar Republic).

                And yes, all money is just scraps of paper or chunks of minerals. I never said otherwise. Infla

              • Oh, and depressions didn't happen as much because the GDP rarely moved, as I stated. However, "panics" (from what I can tell, they're pretty much slight depressions or severe recessions) happened when many firms tried to withdraw from banks at once. Off the top of my head, there was the Panic of 1877, and I believe there were two others in the 1830s. These were short-lived because the run on banks quickly died off.
                • Tell ya what, go find a old documentary by the name of "the money masters". It's about 4 hours long, but I think your lack of thinking will be corrected by it. I used to believe all the rhetoric they taught us in school, but after looking at that documentary I'm a bit more convinced that bankers are behind it.

                  If you don't mind the download, www.suprnova.org, look for a file by the name of "good ones".
    • How Much Is That [eh.net] says...

      CPI: $342
      GDP Deflator: $286
      Unskilled Wage: $494
      GDP Per Capita: $810
      GDP: $1440

    • I'm pretty sure back then transistors costed a tad bit more than ~$0.04 ea in 2000 packs.
    • Re:Inflation (Score:3, Informative)

      by Waffle Iron ( 339739 )
      What struck me most about that article is how much inflation there's been in 50 years. Thats 700%! I don't know about you, but to me that's just insane.

      Be thankful that you didn't live in Hungary in 1946. They had 41,900,000,000,000,000% inflation [wikipedia.org] in the month of July alone.

    • Re:Inflation (Score:2, Informative)

      by alaivfc ( 823276 )
      A general rule of thumb for inflation is that prices double every twenty years. By this standard, the given price is a little high, but not terribly so.
    • Well, you have to remember we hadn't invented the WIN Button in those days.

      rj
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:19PM (#10560736)
    in a portable radio was considered impressive.

    And I think the IC's I was working on 35 years ago were produced from one inch wafers and were one transister or diode per chip which were mounted in an IC to replace a vacuum tube or valve based circuit.

    But that's progress. Now you can have a 3 Ghz pentium that will put out as much heat as that old vacuum tube based technology ever could.

  • Didnt the TR-1 only have 3 transistors? sure the TI reference design had 4, but i could swear that their engineers managed to cut one of em out to make it cheaper.
  • $345! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:27PM (#10560777) Homepage
    You say $345 with an exclamation mark as if that's a lot of money for a portable entertainment device. How much do you think an iPod costs? Or a Rio?
    -russ
    • Re:$345! (Score:3, Funny)

      ... as if that's a lot of money for a portable entertainment device. How much do you think an iPod costs?

      A lot!
    • Re:$345! (Score:2, Informative)

      by vigyanik ( 781631 )
      You say $345 with an exclamation mark as if that's a lot of money for a portable entertainment device. How much do you think an iPod costs? Or a Rio?

      You have missed the point. The submitter wants to underscore the similarity with the IPod by showing that even their prices are similar once you adjust for inflation.

    • Does your boss buy all of the engineers iPods?
    • Yeah, it was a bargain, comparatively. But you still had to come up with the money. If yuu're a well-paid geek, no problem. If you're a teenager who has to work for the money, or even a low end working Joe or Jane with a family to provide, it's not as cheap as you seem to think.
  • I was on a bus today, and I saw a kid with one of those old Shockwave tape players. You know those yellow ones that had two black hatches that would close it.

    It had antiskip on the cd player version of the shockwave, and it was so cool. This was when I was back in elementary school, and I wanted one so badly.

    I thought to myself, wow that thing was huge, how did we ever use tapes! and I looked around and saw all the people with ipods or other mp3 players on the bus. Even mini-disc players are way to ou
  • by Ocelot Wreak ( 203602 ) <[moc.em] [ta] [kaerwtoleco]> on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:30PM (#10560791) Homepage
    ... a vacuum tube is == a "valve" in the UK.

    And I, for one, want to welcome the arrival of our new iPod Overlords!

    -Ocelot Wreak.

  • by Allnighterking ( 74212 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:31PM (#10560799) Homepage
    I can remember fishing with my dad as we listened to the Cardinals play by play on his. He won it in a national sales contest and I might add was quite the object of jealosy for having it.

    If I remember right his had 9 transistors. At that time when you bought one it would tell you how many transistors it had. The more transistors the better the "quality" and the higher the price. 9 was pretty much top of the line for portables.

    The Sony's where considered cheap and low quality. (and they fell apart so very easy.) If you wanted a good one there was only one way to go. RCA. Though the people from Phillips and GE had their contenders.

    The RCA's had honestly better quality speakers etc so there was a difference in quality (over the cheap Japanese imports). His also took a single 9 volt battery and a small V/U meter to tell you signal strength. Even heard my first Beatles tune on it.
    • Fake transistors (Score:5, Interesting)

      by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:47PM (#10560871)
      If I remember right his had 9 transistors. At that time when you bought one it would tell you how many transistors it had. The more transistors the better the "quality" and the higher the price. 9 was pretty much top of the line for portables.

      I remember the prestige accorded to the transistor count in those early radios; it was bragging rights for us kids on the playground to have the radio with the higher count. Trouble was, the manufacturers caught on to this early and soldered in fake parts to raise their total. I remember a picture in an electronics mag showing the bottom of the printed circuit board in one radio, showing all three leads of each of a couple of the transistors soldered together in as one big connected blob.

    • The more transistors the better the "quality" and the higher the price.

      In SAT terms, Transistors : radio = jewels : watch

      rj

  • by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:37PM (#10560820)
    Tom Watson that he provided a $49.95 (roughly $345 in current dollars!), four transistor TR-1 to each of his senior managers to kick-start the company's transition from valves."

    I wish I had specific references of this, but it was a practice by some portable radio manufacturers to add extra transistors just so they could market as being a *12 transistor* radio. I've seen a couple of these where they only used two poles directly from the battery i.e. as diodes. I've seen one case where they just added extra ones before the speaker which did reduce over all sound quality. Sorta like they added an extra unnessicary smoke stack to the Titanic, cause more is better.
    • I've seen one where the extra transisters where just twisted together on the board, not attached to anything other then themselves.
    • some portable radio manufacturers to add extra transistors just so they could market as being a *12 transistor* radio.

      Oh yeah? Well, my Pentium IV has *100 million* transistors! How do ya like that, huh? huh?! - Sadly, this appears to be Intel's marketing strategy these days.

      Good thing radio makers weren't competing on frequencies - "My radio goes up to 300 Mhz!" "Oh yeah? Mine goes to 350!". We'd have ended up in the terahertz range by now. At least the 4th stack on the Titanic served some purpose -
  • Grandpa's Walkman (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Technician ( 215283 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @07:38PM (#10560827)
    Just for nastalga sake, I still have my grandfathers "Walkman" It's from the 50's when plastics were the big thing. It's bright red, pre-transistor AM radio about the size of a gradeschool lunchbox. It uses 3 sets of batteries. It used a 1.5 volt filimant battery, a 22.5 volt battery (about the size of a nine-volt) and the big high voltage B battery of 67 volts. It does not use an AC cord.

    Going transistor improved battery life and permitted smaller size. Due to the smaller size and early speaker technology, the early transistor radios were known for their tin sound. They mostly sounded like a set of headphones on a desk. Earphones (mono in the ear) were common as was simply holding the radio up to the ear like a cell phone.

    Being an early geek in those days meant taking apart some of the early transistor radios. (grade shool age) Deceptive marketing was common. Just like the standards for car audio watts (RMS, Peak, per channel, all channels together, un distorted, 10% distortion, max power at any distortion etc..).

    Transistor count was the big seller.. The more the better. I remember taking apart a 9 transistor radio only to discover that only 3 of the transistors were used. 3 of them had all three leads stuck in the same hole. 3 of them were used as diodes with two leads in one hole and the other lead in another hole. It was a simple regenerative reciever, not a superhetrodyne with some semblance of fideliety.

    In marketing, not much has changed in the years.

    My old printer claims X number of pages ink yeild for it's color cartrige at 15% page coverage. The new printer claims it does more pages with it's high yeild cartrige. In the fine print it does 1.5X more pages but at 5% coverage. In my book, that's less yeild. The new cartrige is over twice the price. Carts refrenced are the HP 23 and the HP 78. I can get two of the former for about $45 or one of the latter for $52. Needless to say, my old printer is the primary color printer, not the new one. Thanks to the truth in advertising, they do specify how the page yeild was calculated, but they have gone a long way to imply comparing page count of these two cartridges is accurate, when it is deceptive. Do you want the 600 page count cartrige or the 900 page count one? Come on guys. point out the 600 count is with 15% coverage and the 900 count is with 5% coverage. (page counts rounded off for example. See HP's website for stated page yeild claims.
  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @08:00PM (#10560921) Homepage Journal
    Since the original server is down (yeah, that's a good idea, let's post a link to a personal web page on cox.net!):

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =2269893061 [ebay.com]

    Who knows how long the photos will stay up, but if you do a completed-items search on "Regency TR-1" you'll find several other examples.

    I wonder how much a MINT!! RARE!!11! NWE IN BOX L@@K!! iPod will fetch in 2054?

  • by hndrcks ( 39873 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @08:06PM (#10560951) Homepage
    Writen by humorist James Thurber for the New Yorker back in the late 50's or early 60s. The essay is in this book [amazon.com].

    He writes of his drawer-full of cheap Japanese knockoffs that worked for a few days, then began to each emit a strange and unique sound - his fond reminiscing about 'Old Squeem' still makes me laugh.

  • Tubes vs Transister (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2004 @09:24PM (#10561366)
    From a person which did not live in a tube world back in the old days. I must admit, I have gone back to tubes (values) for my audio needs. After rebuilding a Dynaco ST 70 and my own Tube pre-amp. I will never go back to solid state technology. I use to laugh at people that said that tube audio amps sounded better than todays gear. Well, after I have heard a tube amp. It has changed my mind.
    An added benefit, it's very easy to build a simple tube amp or pre-amp.

    Tubes were replaced with Transisters, but there is still a place in todays world for tubes.

    I'm just building my first 300b monoblocks. I look forward to smashing my current future shop transister gear out of the way.
  • Transistor Timeline (Score:2, Informative)

    by DankNinja ( 241851 )
    PBS has an excellent timeline that describes the history of the transistor,
    'Transistorized! The History of the Invention of the Transisor' [pbs.org].

  • by jangobongo ( 812593 ) on Monday October 18, 2004 @10:11PM (#10561655)
    A Transistor radio mini-history [ndirect.co.uk] has a picture of an early transistor [ndirect.co.uk] circa 1947. From the website:

    ...USA research scientists of Bell Laboratories, Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain managed, in December 1947, to invent a solid state device that they called THE TRANSISTOR. They succeeded in creating a completely new amplifying device just by adding a second contact point to the already popular CRYSTAL DIODE based on a piece of germanium crystal with a pointed "cat's whisker" touching its surface. In 1956 in recognition for their extraordinary work they were awarded the Nobel Prize. (Can't tell from the website if this one pictured was the very first one invented by Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain of Bell Laboratories.)

    Transistor inventors Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain were awarded a Nobel prize for their work in 1956. It's amazing how something so primitive went on to revolutionize the electronics industry.
  • Can anyone remember when Sir Clive Sinclair developed his transistor radio? Or, for that matter, his all-transistor amplifier? I'm not certain, but they may have been even earlier.
    • Remember?...

      Do you mean the x20? the 20 watt PWM amplifier that could only supply 10 watts? Or the six transister radio that had only three transistors, but used them all twice?

      I personally made thousands of both these things in the summer of 1966 (to the sound of the Isley Brothers "unchained melody" and any amount of Everly Brothers tracks. I also made a modified version of the radio that acted as a transmitter (for bugging).

  • The Roswell crash occured in 1947. Or did it take the US government 7 years to figure out how to use the technology found in the crash?!

  • You Can't Buy One (Score:3, Informative)

    by mbstone ( 457308 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @07:51AM (#10563953)
    Have you recently visited a store (e.g. Target or Wal-Mart) and tried to buy a new transistor radio (defined as a battery powered radio the size of a pack of cigarettes)? I wanted one to listen to the presidential debates. I couldn't find a transistor radio, or a headphone radio, the smallesst thing they had was a $9 portable radio cassette player that was large enough to have a carrying handle.
  • In 1957 (I think it was) my father had a subscription to the 'Arend', which was a Dutch version of the American magazine Eagle, a magazine for boys and girls of around 13 years old. He still has these magazines, and in there is an item about the soap box radio, which was the size and shape of one of those plastic boxes you use to carry a bar of soap around in while traveling. For that time it was an amazing thing: suddenly you had radio everywhere because it was battery powered AND portable. It's actually q
    • It's actually quite strange that we had to wait until the invention of the walkman in the 1980's before portable music really became popular because the technology has been around since the late '50's.

      I'm not sure what you're trying to say here; portable music was huge fairly quickly. It was even big before the transistor radio. My parents had a portable, RCA, tube, AM radio (width and height of a school lunchbox, maybe 2 inches (5 cm) deep) from when they were dating. That puts it at late 40s or earl

      • I was born in Holland in '68 and I can't remember anyone taking a portable radio with them to school until the walkman became popular. So apparently that was different in America.

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