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Radios

The first radios used wireless telegraphy to send audio signals in Morse code. In the late 1890s, these radios were used by ships to improve ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication. Aviation began to experiment with radio around 1910, and during World War I, radio was used as a communication tool by the military. It was after World War I, during the '20s, that radios began to appear in private homes and radio broadcasting stations were developed for the public.

During the '20s and '30s, radio became a leading source of information and entertainment for the public. The importance of radio grew during World War II when governments relied on it to relay news and propaganda to their citizens. The entertainment provided on radio also began to change during World War II from serial programs to music. Today, the radio is a source for popular music and special-interest talk shows.

Early radios were nothing more than glass tubes mounted on a board. Later, the tubes were encased in metal or wooden boxes. By the '20s, radios became more elaborate, with radio cabinets constructed of wood in elaborate styles to make each radio look like a piece of furniture. Early plastics such as Bakelite became a popular exterior for radios during the '30s and '40s.


Quick Facts

  • Antique radios can be identified by the model number, which includes a combination of letters and numbers. The name and model number is usually stamped somewhere on the inner components of an antique radio
  • The first commercially-successful car radio was produced by the Galvin brothers in 1930. In an effort to identify their product as a motorized Victrola, they branded the radio Motorola
  • The first transistor radio available to the public was the Regency TR-1, produced in a joint effort between Texas Instruments and Industrial Development Engineering Associates. It appeared on the market in 1954

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Crosley Radio 9.1 x 6 3/4 x 11 1/2 in. (23.1 x 17.1 x 29.2 cm.)
Jul 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage Crosley Radio 9.1 x 6 3/4 x 11 1/2 in. (23.1 x 17.1 x 29.2 cm.)
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$205 Bids
Vintage Zenith Long Distance Radio 10 x 7 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. (25.4 x 19.7 x 40 cm.)
Jul 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage Zenith Long Distance Radio 10 x 7 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. (25.4 x 19.7 x 40 cm.)
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$703 Bids
Vintage Zenith Consol-Tone Radio 7 x 6 x 13 3/4 in. (17.8 x 15.2 x 34.9 cm.)
Jul 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage Zenith Consol-Tone Radio 7 x 6 x 13 3/4 in. (17.8 x 15.2 x 34.9 cm.)
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$52 Bids
Welbilt Collector’s Edition Radio
Jul 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Welbilt Collector’s Edition Radio
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$52 Bids
Sanyo flip clock radio, model10FA-T40WS, made in Japan. 33cm W, 15cm D, 11cm H.
Aug 05, 7:00 PM AEST
Sanyo flip clock radio, model10FA-T40WS, made in Japan. 33cm W, 15cm D, 11cm H.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
Highly Stylized WORKING Czechoslovakian TESLA TALISMAN Model #308U Bakelite Radio
Jul 28, 8:00 PM CEST
Highly Stylized WORKING Czechoslovakian TESLA TALISMAN Model #308U Bakelite Radio
by Deco Days Gone By
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
VINTAGE GRUNDIG S450DLX FIELD RADIO RECEIVER
Jul 27, 10:00 AM EDT
VINTAGE GRUNDIG S450DLX FIELD RADIO RECEIVER
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
Vintage Zenith Clock Radio 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 x 12 in. (14.6 x 14.6 x 30.5 cm.)
Jul 25, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage Zenith Clock Radio 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 x 12 in. (14.6 x 14.6 x 30.5 cm.)
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
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Röhrenradio, Telefunken Opus 52, nur Licht leuchtet, ca. H-43cm B-62,5cm T-26cm.
Aug 03, 1:45 PM CEST
Röhrenradio, Telefunken Opus 52, nur Licht leuchtet, ca. H-43cm B-62,5cm T-26cm.
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€151 Bid
VINTAGE AUDIO DEVICES STUDEBAKER TRAVEL SOUND AUDIO BOX
Jul 27, 10:00 AM EDT
VINTAGE AUDIO DEVICES STUDEBAKER TRAVEL SOUND AUDIO BOX
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
Hard Rock Studabaker AM/Fm Radio
Jul 23, 9:00 AM EDT
Hard Rock Studabaker AM/Fm Radio
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
GERMAN TELEFUNKEN OPUS RADIO
Aug 02, 10:00 AM EDT
GERMAN TELEFUNKEN OPUS RADIO
by New Hampshire Auctions and Appraisals LLC
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
WEATHER RADIO, SONY WALKMAN
Jul 25, 4:00 PM CDT
WEATHER RADIO, SONY WALKMAN
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid
1920's "Valley Electric ABC Radio" Battery Charger w/Original Box
Aug 06, 10:00 AM EDT
1920's "Valley Electric ABC Radio" Battery Charger w/Original Box
by Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty LLC
Est: $110- $210
$50 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Radios


Bonhams

Bonhams

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Atlee Raber Auctioneer