Tag Archives: Radio Hat

Radio Hats of Yore

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who writes:

Hey Thomas, if you haven’t already covered this in the SWLing Post, this might be worth mentioning:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/radio-hat-1931-1949-man-from-mars

TURNS OUT, LISTENING TO PODCASTS on your morning commute is nothing new. In 1931, the British cinemagazine Pathetone Weekly—which documented odd fashion trends during its run from 1930 to 1941—premiered a new invention: the Radio Hat.

In it, a man waiting for the bus decides to listen to the radio—via his straw hat, from which two large antennas poke out.

As a Pathetone Weekly title card read: “They say there’s nothing new under the sun—this little French idea to while away the bus waits, must surely be!”

According to an August 1930 issue of Modern Mechanix, a Berlin engineer invented the hat, which allowed its wearer to “listen to the Sunday sermon while motoring or playing golf, get the stock market returns at the ball game, or get the benefit of the daily dozen while on the way to work by merely tuning in.”

[Continue reading…]

The video link in the article to a 1930’s British cinemagazine Pathetone Weekly­-which documented odd fashion trends during its run from 1930 to 1941­-shows a fascinating demonstration of the Radio Hat, which was way ahead of its time!

Click here to view on YouTube.

Very cool! Thank you for sharing, Ed. I love how the radio hat is so conspicuous–hey, I’d wear it!

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A true fashion statement: the “Man-from-Mars Radio Hat”

Customer fumbling with the tuning knob a

(Source: Mashable)

Inventor Victor T. Hoeflich, founder of novelty manufacturing corporation American Merri-Lei of Brooklyn, New York, introduced his “Man-from-Mars Radio Hat” in March 1949.

In the press conference, he used teenagers as models. Sold in department stores across the U.S. and by mail, the hat retailed for $7.95. Designed after a pith helmet, it could be ordered in eight colors: Lipstick Red, Canary Yellow, Blush Pink, Rose Pink, Tangerine, Flamingo, Chartreuse and Tan. Later seven more color options were added.

Although the hat had a futuristic appearance at the time, this was in fact due to technical limitations. While the transistor had been invented in 1947, it was still experimental and not widely available. And portable transistor radios did not appear until 1954. The hat’s radio relied on valve technology, and Hoeflich made the valves a prominent feature, as well as the loop aerial. The tuning knob sat between the two valves.[…]

Continue reading on Mashable.

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