"On This Day" In Engineering History Blog

"On This Day" In Engineering History

Tune in to find out about significant engineering events that took place "on this day".

Previous in Blog: October 16, 1964: China Tests an A-Bomb   Next in Blog: October 19, 1943 - Fighting More Than Tuberculosis
Close
Close
Close

October 18, 1954: The First Commercial Transistor Radio

Posted October 18, 2006 7:00 AM by Steve Melito
Pathfinder Tags: gagdets October 18 radio transistors

Fifty-two years ago today, Texas Instruments (TI) announced that the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates (IDEA) would use TI transistors to manufacture the world's first commercial transistor radio. When the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) rejected Texas Instruments' transistorized design, TI turned to Regency IDEA, a small Indianapolis-based manufacturer that is now part of RELM Wireless. The first TR-1 radios rolled off the Indiana assembly line in November 1954. They sold for $49.95 and were available in five colors: black, white, gray, green, and beige. The TR-1 received AM broadcasts and featured four transistors, each of which cost about $2.50. Although profit margins were slim, approximately 100,000 radios were sold by year's end.

The use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes as amplifier elements allowed the TR-1 to achieve a smaller size and use less power than tubed radios. Traditional portable radios were tabletop devices that resembled metal lunchboxes in terms of size and weight. They required one or more "A" batteries to heat the tube filaments and a large, 45V - 90V "B" battery to power the rest of the circuitry. By contrast, transistor radios weighed less than half a pound and were small enough to fit into the listener's pocket. These portable radio receivers required a single, 9V battery and could be outfitted with an ear phone. Teens whose parents disliked Elvis could now listen to songs such as "That's Alright Mama" in private. Years later, when these fledgling consumers became parents, the gadget revolution was well underway.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: October 18, 1954: The First Commercial Transistor Radio

10/19/2006 10:19 AM

Talk about a trip down memory lane! Want to see some footage of how these units were built? Just choose the "complete film episode" link on this web page. It's totally '50s.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Blog: October 16, 1964: China Tests an A-Bomb   Next in Blog: October 19, 1943 - Fighting More Than Tuberculosis

Advertisement