Back when Superboy encouraged kids to build radios with razor blades

Talk about hitting all of my nostalgia points! Hat tip to SWLing Post reader, Mitch, for sharing this ad from a 1960s comic book:

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7 thoughts on “Back when Superboy encouraged kids to build radios with razor blades

  1. Dan

    Never saw ads for REAL monkeys, but you mentioned shrimp – and I ordered a kit of Sea Monkeys. They were brine shrimp eggs that you put in water, added “Sea Monkey Food” and in a couple weeks they hatched and swam around. Not too long afterwards, the water gets very cloudy and stinks up your bedroom, and mother says “No more Sea Monkeys”…

    Ahhh – those were the days!

  2. Mario

    Kevin, those ads about sand-in-the-face of the weakling on the beach were for Charles Atlas’ muscle building correspondence course (nowadays called “distance learning”). Ha, I signed up for his course way back when. Never got to the beach and never got the muscles. Some dreams are destined to be unfulfilled.

  3. RonF

    Amused it just glosses over the “attach pencil lead to the short side of pin” without mentioning how to attach it. I wonder how many kids in those few decades used glue, and subsequently gave up terribly disappointed? 😉

  4. Kevin

    Personally my favorite ads were about the poor 90 pound weakling who was having sand kicked in his face while his ‘girlfriend’ walked away arm-in-arm with the bully. But good old ‘dynamic tension’ came to the rescue and the bully ultimately lost both his self-respect and the girl.

  5. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

    For anyone looking to replicate these radios, when I was a boy back in the early 1970s, I used have a plain crystal radio with a 1N34 germanium diode and a crystal earphone. It could pick up about five different stations in the city. My razor blade detector on the same antenna and setup could pick up only one. It left a bit to be desired in the sensitivity department.

  6. Mario

    Yep, built one of these as a kid from an article in Popular Mechanics; it was called a “foxhole” radio. Used on of Dad’s (R.I.P.) Gilette double edged razor blades to make it. Never got it to work though. Decided to build one using a germanium diode and had better luck.

    Comic book ads in the ’50’s and ’60’s had all sorts of interesting advertisements for kids: “shirt pocket”crystal radios, mini-spy cameras, X-Ray glasses, shrimp eggs, “The Big Ear,” chihuahas that fit in teacup and even real monkeys! Those were the days before responsible advertising hi hi.

    What a great post Mitch. Let’s hear from other readers about their memories of old-time ads. And thanks Thomas for this great blog.


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