First Transistor Radio

18 October 2016

The First Transistor Radio hit the market on this day (18 October) in 1954. (Read that in the voice of Garrison Keillor.)

Learning this today reminded me of one of my first pieces of electronics as a kid. It was a little blue, portable transistor AM radio that took 2 AA batteries. I got it as a prize from the school fundraiser, and I specifically remember it being listed as a transistor radio, like that was something special. I’m not sure how special that really was in around 1985, since we’d evidently had the technology readily available since 1954.

That radio was packed full of components on a board in its blue plastic shell. From the first time I had to open it to put batteries in it, I was intrigued by it — solder joints, variable capacitor, capacitors, resistors, transistors, antenna coil with ferrous core, bits of glue holding it together, etc. That thing came apart many times as I compared its contents to other devices and to those on my electronics kit later.


Filed Under: History Technology