Regency TR1: Anniversary of the first commercially available transistor radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Tilford, who shares the following:

Today is the anniversary of the announcement of the first commercially available transistor radio, the Regency TR1, in 1954. It wasn’t very good, but it started something.

You can tell something about the frequency allocations of the time by how the numbers are spaced.

To put the ad below in context, the median weekly family income in 1954 was about $81.00.

Thank you for sharing this, Bill! If you’d like to read more about the TR1 and view a wide variety of product photos, check out this dedicated TR1 website.

I’m curious if any Post readers own a Regency TR1. Please comment!

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8 thoughts on “Regency TR1: Anniversary of the first commercially available transistor radio

  1. James Patterson

    I live down under in New Zealand.Very few pocket size Transistor radios hit the market over here back in the day.However the Electrical & radio/TV shops did stock the main brands such as National etc.For those who could afford them it was a very exciting thing to have an AM pocket sized radio in your pocket.I remember as a teenager,working hard on my Father’s farm,to be able to afford one,it was a 6 transistor Philips,and to me,it was the “Bees knees”. The best ! Well to this very day,Ive been collecting what is left,at Flee markets,second hand shops etc.Most I find are badly corroded or cracked. I repair and restore,because most of these small AM radios were made to last.Their very ruggered design,very much like old cars,were very basic and mostly easily repairable. I have a passion for them and and I joyfully continue to collect the very early ones and try to bring them back to their former glory. So Im always looking out for any that are still available.Thankyou.

  2. Andrew

    WOW !! Thank you Bill (and Thomas) for this, it brings back memories I had almost forgot, Dad (R.I.P.) had one of these with the leather case and he brought it with him wherever he went, and now that you make me think at it, I wonder if the radio may still be sitting in some cardboard box down the basement, I think I’ll check that at first chance !

  3. Michael Black

    All transistor portables had dials like that. A fancier variable capacitor would have been needed for a more linear dial.


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