Retro Radios

Adding a touch of retro styling to your home is easy to achieve with a vintage reproduction radio - all the ambiance of old styling but with the benefits of modern technology. Choose from early 20th century big wooden cabinet radios, 30's and 40s art deco, 50s box style, groovy 60s transistors or 70s Ghetto Blasters.

Rise of the Radio
The radio was the focal point of the home. Image from ARFTS Archive
Crossley Reproduction Companion Radio

Widespread public broadcasting didn't really take off until the 1920s and thereafter, growth was exponential, with radio stations popping up everywhere - of course, people had to have a radio to listen to them, so the radio took off too, as a consumable item.

The first of these were big and bulky and were really more like  pieces of furniture, such as a dresser or a cabinet. They became centrepieces of the home, where the family would gather to listen to their favourite radio show.

As the decades rolled by, the radios got smaller and more convenient - they could be transported from room to room with ease. Not only the size but the style changed to. In the 20s, and 30s and 40s art deco was the predominant style feature, while in the 50s a modern, streamlined look was the go.

1950s Phillips bakelite radio

Telefunken radio, circa 1950
Reproduction 1959 classic Bush radio in baby blue from eurocosm

1957 German Akkord Transistor radio

Transistors (portable radios based on transistor based-circuitry that could work via battery or mains) were invented in the late 40s by a trio of scientists - William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, who won the Nobel prize for their efforts in 1956. The invention became commercially available in the early 50s and formed the basis of modern electronics. It was so successful because it  allowed smaller  and cheaper radios to be produced.

Motorola ad which appeared in a 1960 edition of Life
In the 1960s, thanks to Japanese mass production,  radios got smaller, cheaper and more transportable than they had ever been - down to pocket-size, which meant people could listen to music wherever they went. As television had to a large extent supplanted the radio serial, music became the defining feature of radio listening and hoards of teenagers followed the development of rock'n'roll through their transistors.
Reproduction 1966 BushTR130 transistor from eurocosm
Japanese Panasonic transistor from 1960

The Ghetto Blaster/Beatbox 
In the late 1970s and 80s, radios suddenly got big again with the invention of the Ghetto Blaster, with AM/FM and cassette deck, after stereo radio emerged. The idea was to have the thumpiest, loudest, cleanest sounding street sound on the block. Coinciding with with the popularity of the Ghetto Blaster was the rise of hip-hop music and break dancing, both of which arose out of US street culture.

70s Ghetto Blaster

Crossley Solo
Some designs aren't exactly reproductions, nor are they completely contemporary. The word for these is...apparently, newstalgic -inspired by the old but with an eye to the modern. The Crossley Solo at right has a retro charm in its curved edges and large dials but is a new design rather than a copy of an old radio.
Sangean table Top Radio

Similarly the Sangean Table Top is not a replica but has the warm look of an older design. The Table Top has a kind of crisp 60s feel to it and incidentally, Sangean make great quality radios.

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