Collecting Transistor Radios!

This week on The Collectors Show we meet Michael Jack, an accomplished collector of transistor radios. You can see his collection here:

A collection of 43 transistor radios, like these, sold on ebay in August, 2008 for $3,050.00.

A collection of 43 transistor radios, like these, sold on ebay in August, 2008 for $3,050.00.

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Background on Transistor Radio Collecting
Michael Jack is a well known radio collectors from Ontario, Canada who has published many articles about collecting radios. His collection of radios is of a special nature, all transistors. On his Flickr site there are photos of over 1,100 transistor radios dating back to the 1950’s.

Transistor radios were popular in the early 1960’s. They represented the miniaturization of everything that was a big part of the culture then.

With the manned space program came the technical need to make things smaller. Transistors played a huge role in making things smaller for carriage into space. Small radios would fit in a shirt pocket. You could sneak them into school, on long bus trips and summer camp. Transistors replaced vacuum tubes in not just radios, but televisions. They were the start of the electronic and information revolution.

When the Eveready Battery Company invented the 9-volt battery in 1956 specifically for use in portable transistor radios, the stage was set for market expansion. By the early 1960s, a pocket transistor radio was on the wish list of every American adolescent.

Transistor radios became so cheap by the 1970s that they began to be produced as novelty and advertising items: cars, soda cans, sports figures, political memorabilia and more. Many of these promotional radios are what gets collected now.

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