1940: When Sears Roebuck sold a wide array of radio gear

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Charlie (W4MEC), who shares a PDF of the 1940 Sears Roebuck Co. catalog section featuring a wide array of radio gear and test equipment.

This file is hosted on the Pro Audio Design forum and can be downloaded as a PDF (15.8 MB) by clicking here.

It’s a real nostalgia trip reading through the fine Hallicrafters, Hammarlund and National HRO descriptions. Thanks so much for sharing this, Charlie!

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8 thoughts on “1940: When Sears Roebuck sold a wide array of radio gear

  1. Mark

    I just put some of those 1940’s prices into a US inflation calculator and came up with over $5000 for the “Super Pro”. I guess they were the high end base stations of their day!

    Reply
    1. Michael Black

      Even today, the SP-600 is at the top end of tube receivers, somewhat behind the R390 and 51J4.

      I don’t know about the beginning, but the Super Pro line has generally meant high end, and many came into hobbyist shacks as surplus.

      I was a bit surprised to see one in the Sears catalog

      Reply
  2. Steve Allen

    My father gave me an SX-25 Super Defiant in the early 1960s. I think it was his first ham radio receiver before he bought an S-76 for himself. I remember so many nights listening to SW radio from all over the world. It was the receiver that got me interested in SWL.
    Steve, KZ4TN

    Reply
  3. John

    Then there was the equally interesting firearms section… 🙂

    The ham products existed at least into the 80’s where there was a Yaesu 2M with a Sears brand, IIRC as well as a Sears FRG 7 receiver. These were the end of the days where Sears was the Amazon of the era.

    Walmart ended that era.

    Reply
    1. Robert Richmond

      I have a very nice condition Sears FRG-7. Only repair I have to do during my ownership is the usual front-end fet, and I used the old preferred replacement with integrated esd protection.

      More info and pics of various FRG-7 models here:

      http://foxtango.org/frg7/foxtangofrg7.htm

      Sears listed its FRG-7 for $299.50 in its 1977 catalog.

      Reply
  4. Michael Black

    If it was all or mostly mailorder, adding to the line didn’t cause much overhead, but it might increase some sales. Radio Shack in the Tandy era made advances by selling niche items to a wider audience, no heec togo to an obscure basement store to buy that shortwave radio or metal detector.

    1940 seems a tad late, but for a brief time radio was mainstream. I gatner there were construction articles (maybe just for crystal radios?) in daily newspapers, so building and the novelty of radio was mainstream. Not sure when that ended, statistics about radioownership might be an indicator.

    Reply

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