Two weeks ago, through a radio preservation group, I met the son of Heathkit product designer of the 1950s-70s, Stu Sizer––”stylist, artist, maker of models, bon vivant.” His son described the discovery of a few vintage Heathkit brochures, photos, and illustrations his father kept in his family’s basement shop, many of which had been scanned at some point.
Stu Sizer––”stylist, artist, maker of models, bon vivant”––was tasked with crafting Heathkit’s user-friendly and attractive exterior designs. For many years Sizer was Heathkit’s only product designer, and was therefore often busy. “He was a great dad,” his son told me, “but he spent a lot of time in the basement proof-building kits.” He adds wryly, “Let that be a lesson to the hams of this world.”
Sizer’s son kindly shared with us the following scans and photos of his dad’s work, many of which are original drawings; the series concludes with some clippings featuring Sizer.
On Stuart Sizer
I have the iconic CB walkie talkie and it’s along the design lines of Braun I would think. Let’s bring design back to radio
Looking at it now, I realize it’s a very simple case. Two pieces of metal formed into u’s, it had to be relatively easy to produce, the grill for the speaker being the real fancy work. But in that simplicity, it becomes a standout.
This is the kind of stuff you find in museums.Amazing that some of these things are still being used.
A great tribute to the designer of those stylish Heathkit products – thanks! By the way, the owner or chief executive of the “new” Heathkit has been identified – he is Andrew Cromarty N6JLJ of Palo Alto CA.
I hope he will pick up and continue the tradition of good distinctive industrial design in future Heathkit products.
Stuart must have had his hand in the GR78 receiver. It has a nice chrome bezel. I thought it was art deco inspired. I finally found out who was behind the look and feel of the Heathkit line. In high school our homemade radios worked as well but never matched the looks of the Heathkit. Modern radio designers should take a page from the Sizer design manual.
These are neat. I always thought that CB walkie talkie was very distinct.
Heathkit tended to have lines, similar function or even circuitry in different boxes over the years. So that “Indian” line of ham radio Heathkits was also very distinctive, then replaced some years later by the SB and HW line. I don’t know whether he fussed over control layout for every piece of equipment, but the broad lines were what gave Heathkits style.