Tag Archives: transistor radio

Transistor Radio

Transistor Radio

June 30, 1948
Transistor Radio
Regency transistor radio

“Tiny Blue Transistor Radio” by Connie Smith. 

          In the Exhibition Gallery of the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a display of sleeves for 45 rpm record and several transistor radios. On a tour with a young guest, I will ask them whether they know what they are--either.

         Most times they seem to know, but there are not surprisingly times that a head shakes "No." In an obtuse way, I kiddingly refer to these radios as "Personal Listening Devices." The term my attempt at re-naming a product with a 21st century twist. 

          Again with a young guest, I will ask them if they have a cell phone. Depending on the age they will nod "Yes" quickly or "No" longingly. I ask those without one how old is someone now when they get their first cell phone? The answers vary, but by the age of 10, cell-phone ownership is common.

          While holding up my own cell phone I will say to guests of any age, "As much as a child today waits impatiently for their first cell phone and all it brings with it, a Boomer waited with equal impatience for their first transistor radio."

Transistor Radio

          The transistor radio was not the first portable listening device. Tubed radios with large batteries existed, but were too heavy and bulky to actually be considered portable. They could be moved and put in a different place, but hanging out with friends at the park with one was simply too difficult.

          The transistor radio changed all that. The transistor itself had been successfully developed by Bell labs in the mid-1940s. As with any new invention, some scientists looked for other uses. On June 30, 1948 Bell Labs held a news conference at which a prototype transistor radio was demonstrated.
          A prototype is not a commercial product and it was still six years before a commercially viable transistor radio arrived. Two companies working together, Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.) of Indianapolis, Indiana, were behind the unveiling of the Regency TR-1, the world's first commercially produced transistor radio.  They made the announcement on October 18, 1954 and sales began in November. It cost $49.95, not inexpensive.

          Competition and development brought down the cost, though one could never describe even the least expensive models as cheap.

          Whatever the price, the cultural impact was great. Apple's Steve Wozniak stated, "My first transistor radio was the heart of my gadget love today. I loved what it could do, it brought me music, it opened my world up"
          Microsoft's Bill Gates stated, "Without the invention of the transistor, I'm quite sure that the PC would not exist as we know it today"

          Transistor radio untied Boomer teenagers from their parent's kitchen radio and their parent's nearby ears. Boomers could listen to their music (at first only on AM radio) with their friends (or alone), wherever they wanted.

          And as long as you had a wet tongue, you could test to see whether that 9-volt battery had any life left!

Transistor radio

Transistor Radio

 

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October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18 Peace Love Activism

Technological Milestones

Long distance telephone
October 18, 1892: the first long distance telephone line between Chicago and New York was opened. (see June 21, 1893)
Transistor radio

October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18, 1954: Industrial Development Engineering Associates announced the first practical transistor radio, the Regency TR-1. (see Nov 1)

US Labor History

Feminism
October 18, 1911: New York City agreed to pay women school teachers a rate equal to that of men. (Labor, see Dec 5; Feminism, see January > March 1912)

Black History

Irene Morgan
October 18 Peace Love ActivismOn July 16, 1944,  Irene Morgan (age 27), recovering from a miscarriage and traveling by bus from Virginia to Baltimore for a doctor’s appointment refused to relinquish her seat [as well as another Black woman] to a white couple. The driver, angered by Morgan's refusal, drove the bus to the Middlesex County town of Saluda and stopped outside the jail. A sheriff's deputy came aboard and told Morgan that he had a warrant for her arrest. She continued to refuse and had to be physically subdued. She was jailed for resisting arrest and violating Virginia's segregation law. On this date [October 18, 1944} Morgan was convicted. On January 27, 1001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal. (BH, see June 3, 1946)

October 18 Peace Love Activism

Tommie Smith and John Carlos

October 18, 1968: the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended Tommie Smith and John Carlos, for giving a “black power” salute as a protest during a victory ceremony in Mexico City. (see “In November”)

October 18 Music et al

Quarry Men
October 18 Peace Love ActivismOctober 18, 1957,  The Beatles before their US appearance: The Quarry Men performed at the New Clubmoor Hall (Conservative Club), Norris Green, Liverpool. This was Paul McCartney's first appearance with the group. The line-up for The Quarry Men was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Eric Griffiths, Colin Hanton, and Len Garry. Paul McCartney, suffering from a case of the stage jitters, flubs his guitar solo on the song "Guitar Boogie". Upset with his playing, Paul tries to make amends by showing John a song he had written, "I Lost My Little Girl". John then shows Paul some songs that he has composed. The two start writing songs together from that moment, which marks the birth of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. Pete Shotton, out of the group by this time, had no real musical ability and knew it; he was almost relieved when, during a drunken argument, John Lennon had smashed Pete's washboard over Pete's head. That was the end of Pete Shotton's career as a Quarry Man. (see Jan 24, 1958)
WNEW-FM
October 18, 1967:  press release from WNEW-FM announcing that Rosko will be joining station on October 31. (see Oct 29)
Rolling Stone magazine
October 18 Peace Love Activism
October 18, 1967: the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine released with a cover dated Nov 9 and featuring a photograph of John Lennon in the film How I Won the War. (see Dec 22)
John & Yoko arrested

October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18, 1968: John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrested by the Drugs Squad. Lennon and Ono were temporarily living at Ringo Starr's flat at 34 Montagu Square, London. Following a tip-off from a newspaper journalist friend, they had thoroughly cleaned the flat to make sure it was free of drugs. Lennon related: All of a sudden, there was this knock on the door and a woman's voice outside, and I look around and there is a policeman standing in the window, waiting to be let it. We'd been in bed and our lower regions were uncovered. Yoko ran into the bathroom to get dressed with her head poking out, so they wouldn't think she was hiding anything. Then I said, 'Ring the lawyer, quick,' but she went and rang Apple. I will never know why.... That thing was set up. The Daily Express was there before the cops came. In fact, Don Short had told us, 'They're coming to get you,' three weeks before. So, believe me, I'd cleaned the house out, because Jimi Hendrix had lived there before in the apartment, and I'm not stupid. I went through the whole damn house. (see Nov 1)
“I Can’t Get Next To You”
October 18 Peace Love ActivismOctober 18 – 31, 1969: “I Can’t Get Next To You” by The Temptations #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Cold War

Cuban Missile Crisis
October 18 Peace Love Activism
October 18, 1962: President Kennedy met with Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko, who claimed the weapons were for defensive purposes only. Not wanting to expose what he already knew, and wanting to avoid panicking the American public, Kennedy did not reveal that he was already aware of the missile build-up. (see Cuban missile crisis)
Vietnam & DRAFT CARD BURNING
October 18, 1965: the FBI arrested David Miller for burning draft card on October 15. (Vietnam, see Oct 30; Draft Card, see Nov 6)

Environmental Issues

October 18, 1972: Congress passed the Clean Water Act, overriding President Richard M. Nixon's veto. (see December 28, 1973) (NYT Clean Water Act article) 
October 18 Peace Love Activism

LGBTQ

October 18, 2012: the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan became the second in the nation to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. The decision upheld a lower court judge who ruled that the 1996 law that defines marriage as involving a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The three-judge panel said the law violates equal protection. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier in the year also found it unconstitutional. (see October 23, 2012) (NYT article)
New Jersey

October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18, 2013 (Friday), LGBTQ: NJ state Supreme Court ruled that  the state must begin granting same-sex marriage licenses on October 21 (Monday) (see Oct 21) (NYT article)

Newsweek

October 18 Peace Love ActivismOctober 18, 2012, Newsweek magazine, in print publication since February 17, 1933, announced that would end print publication at the end of the year. (NYT article)

Sexual Abuse of Children

Boy Scouts of America
October 18, 2012: thousands of pages of internal documents, police files and newspaper clippings were released about how the Boy Scouts of America had policed the ranks of its scoutmasters and other volunteers to guard against sexual predators — and how they had often failed. The files were put together over a 20-year period in states across the nation on 1,247 men who were accused of abuse between 1965 and 1985, often with multiple victims. The release of the documents creates, for the first time, a public database on specific abuse accusations. (Sexual abuse, see Dec 21; BSA, see January 28, 2013) (NYT article)

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