It was on this day in 1954 that the first transistor radio appeared on the market.

mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 15,087
18 October
https://writersalmanac.org/
Transistors were a big breakthrough in electronics — a new way to amplify signals. They replaced vacuum tubes, which were fragile, slow to warm up, and unreliable. During World War II, there was a big funding push to try to update vacuum tubes, since they were used in radio-controlled bombs but didn't work very well. A team of scientists at Bell Laboratories invented the first transistor technology in 1947. But the announcement didn't make much of an impact because transistors had limited use for everyday consumers — they were used mainly in military technology, telephone switching equipment, and hearing aids.

Several companies bought licenses from Bell, including Texas Instruments, who was bent on being the first to market with a transistor radio. Radios were mostly big, bulky devices that stayed in one place — usually in the living room — while the whole family gathered around to listen to programming. There were some portable radios made with vacuum tubes, but they were about the size of lunch boxes, they used heavy nonrechargeable batteries, they took a long time to start working while the tubes warmed up, and they were fragile. Texas Instruments was determined to create a radio that was small and portable, and to get it out for the Christmas shopping season. They produced the transistors, and they partnered with the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates, who manufactured the actual radios. Their new radio, the Regency TR-1, turned on immediately, weighed half a pound, and could fit in your pocket. It cost $49.95, and more than 100,000 were sold.

Texas Instruments went on to pursue other projects, but a Japanese company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo decided to make transistor radios their main enterprise. They were concerned that their name was too difficult for an American audience to pronounce, so they decided to rebrand themselves with something simpler. They looked up the Latin word for sound, which was sonus. And they liked the term sonny boys — English slang that was used in Japan for exceptionally bright, promising boys. And so the company Sony was born. Soon transistor radios were cheap and prevalent.

With transistor radios, teenagers were able to listen to music out of their parents' earshot. This made possible the explosion of a new genre of American music: rock and roll.

"...[Transistors] replaced vacuum tubes, which were fragile, slow to warm up, and unreliable...

et tu, Garrison?

;)

I shook my finger at the SE 2A3 amplifiers that were reproducing the above-mentioned from
VPR (via a Mac MR-67 vacuum tube tuner) and said "Don't you listen to him!"

:)

"Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

Comments

  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 3,668
    I thought the most interesting part of Garrison's little blurb was how such a small, innocent-seeming piece of technology (and something seemingly unremarkable by today's standard's let be honest) literally revolutionized culture and paved the way for the advent of rock n roll.

    And here as someone raised in the 80s and 90s, I thought it was the walkman lol...
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  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 4,807
    $50 in 1954 is about $450 today....
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  • Viking64Viking64 Posts: 488
    edited October 18
    Benny Hill - "Transistor Radio" :)

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  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,185
    I got my first transistor radio in 1960, could have been 1961. It was a gift and it took a 9 volt battery. I do remember that much.


    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.
  • boston1450boston1450 Posts: 5,876
    Interesting article. I remember in the 60's having tube radio's & tube consoles players at home & my mom would spin albums for hours. What memories. Who could forget the little transistor portable radio's back then. I had one i brougnt everywhere & the teachers would hold during class so i couldn't turn it on low. Time flies
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  • oldrockeroldrocker Posts: 1,614
    Neat read.

    Back when I was a runt, got my first one from a grandparent.

    Spent a many hours listening to WLS radio out of Chicago.

    Never could figure out how that little thing picked up a signal that far away.

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 7,829
    oldrocker wrote: »
    Neat read.

    Back when I was a runt, got my first one from a grandparent.

    Spent a many hours listening to WLS radio out of Chicago.

    Never could figure out how that little thing picked up a signal that far away.

    AH YES Larry Lujack if I'm remembering correctly

    Spent many hours doing that same thing.

  • oldrockeroldrocker Posts: 1,614
    I don't remember the guys names, but I do remember my Mom saying "don't hold that thing against your ear"...

    It explain a lot... :D
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 4,807
    I still have a tube radio.

    It outlasted any of my transistor radios7e7uoihjijrr.jpg

    HT:Polk LSiM 706 LSiM 705's VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's| Marantz AV7702 | Sunfire TGA-7401 | Oppo BDP-103D | Sony PS4 | Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 64" Plasma | SVS PB13 Ultra | MIT EXP 2's (Fronts & Center)

    ManCave: Parasound Halo A23 x2 Amps Parsound Halo A21 Amp & P5 Pre | Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's| Usher BE-616 Center|KEF T100 Surrounds | SVS SB2000 Sub |Oppo UDP 203 | MIT Shotgun S3's | Marantz SA8004 SACD | Bluesound Node 2 | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Budgie Phono Pre | Samsung 50" SUHD TV

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  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,185
    edited October 19
    I have a like new Stromberg- Carlson, 1940's. It is 100% original and works great.

    Mikey, the one you have from the 30's?


    1kkrx7s8v4vj.jpg


    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 4,807
    I believe late 30's yes. My dad tells me it was the first radio he saw with push button presets
    HT:Polk LSiM 706 LSiM 705's VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's| Marantz AV7702 | Sunfire TGA-7401 | Oppo BDP-103D | Sony PS4 | Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 64" Plasma | SVS PB13 Ultra | MIT EXP 2's (Fronts & Center)

    ManCave: Parasound Halo A23 x2 Amps Parsound Halo A21 Amp & P5 Pre | Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's| Usher BE-616 Center|KEF T100 Surrounds | SVS SB2000 Sub |Oppo UDP 203 | MIT Shotgun S3's | Marantz SA8004 SACD | Bluesound Node 2 | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Budgie Phono Pre | Samsung 50" SUHD TV

    Patio Polk Atrium 8's |Marantz 2252B |

    Office Bluesound Node | Audioengine P4 | Peachtree Nova 125SE |

    Closet | SDA SRS 2.3's | Monitor 5B's Yamaha M80 | Yaqin MC100B with Shuguang Treasures KT 88's & CV181Z's | Tesla E83CC's | Marantz 2385
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,185
    So that's obviously been in the family a long time, that's cool.


    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's
    Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC, Audio Art IC3; Speaker cable LA International SS-800; PS Audio AC-3 power cords; All into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.
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