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Regency TR-1: The First Transistor Radio

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Published on Dec 28, 2008

This is my 1954 Regency TR-1, the first commercially-produced transistor radio.
It was made by IDEA Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. The factory is just
down the road from where I live.

It's a four-transistor radio that operates on a 22.5 volt hearing aid battery and it
sold for $49.95--quite a chunk of money for a radio back then.

I found mine in 1990 at an old TV repair shop. It's far from mint but it's intact.
I replaced all the electrolytics in it and it sprang to life. Lately, it needed some minor
touch-up work in the antenna section, but after those repairs, it continues to play.

Performance is....lacking. Put this next to Zenith's Royal 500, and the 500 will blow
the Regency away. Tone quality is very thin, sensitivity is marginal. A tube portable radio
from the same time period would easily outpace it.

Just the same, it was the first transistor radio that you could buy, and in terms of performance,
there was nowhere else to go but up.

The radio is playing with a reproduction 412 battery that I just completed. It uses two 12-volt garage
door opener batteries.

  • Category

  • Song

    • Tequila
  • Artist

    • The Champs
  • Album

    • Simply Instrumental
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • Grupa BB Media Music, The Orchard Music (on behalf of In The Mood); SOLAR Music Rights Management, CMRRA, UMPI, UBEM, EMI Music Publishing, UMPG Publishing, and 8 Music Rights Societies

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