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First pocket-sized transistor radio
(Sony TR-63, 1957)

First pocket-sized transistor radio
According to the official Sony website, "The selling price of 13,800 yen equalled
the monthly paycheck of the avarage Japanese salary earner."  It cost $39.95 in the U.S.

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There are 23 comments for this item.

Posted by Goose at 2:44 am (PDT) on Mon June 19, 2023   
Thank God for transistor radios (Radio Shack, with a two-pronged 9v battery)! They were small enough and portable enough to sneak into your pocket so that, with a 'earphone,' you could stealthily listen to the '69 World Series in the afternoon during your 6th and 7th period Jr. Hi. school classes in NY, back when the World Series was played during the DAY! And on the beach, EVERY transistor radio was tuned to 77-WABC!
Posted by GlenEllyn at 7:34 pm (PDT) on Mon May 18, 2020   
Howdy Bob Mathews,

Per your previous post:

"Sony still makes a nice one, the ICF-S10Mk2.

Yessir, See my post below from May 29 2013
The link is still good -- only now it's $23!"

I clicked your link and today they're asking $169.98!! But there's also a link to a "newer model" for $18.

I happen to have the exact same model shown in your link. I think I spent about $13 when I bought mine a half-dozen years ago. I still use it from time to time. Not the greatest sound, but hey, it's portable!
Posted by Doot at 5:06 am (PDT) on Fri March 27, 2020   
My first transister radio, back in the early 60's, was pretty worthless because it pick up mostly static.
Posted by chrisbroz at 1:52 pm (PDT) on Sun October 2, 2016   
With regards to transistors and radios, just like the earlier term 'Rock and Roll' (when it was still new and something of a novelty, the word 'transistor' seemed to appear with regularity in RnR songs of the day...it's a good thing (IMHO) that when ICs were introduced (Integrated circuits) in the mid 60s that they didn't have as much influence on the lyrics of songs of their time (the British Invasion and a whole new type of rock)
Posted by chrisbroz at 1:46 pm (PDT) on Sun October 2, 2016   
Those big 'portable' (in name only) radios used oddball dry cell batteries...IIRC 9 or 12 volt monstrosities, that had, IIRC, three pronged plugs to connect them...a pair of old sisters used to come into my dad's TV store lookin' for 'bat'tries' and those were the ones they wanted...even in those days (the late 50s/early 60s) they were getting hard to find...dad was the only one who sold em...the newer transistor radios were all the rage and only required the more common 9 volt 'bat'tries'...I still remember the old logo of the electrified cat on the Eveready batteries!!!
Posted by Bob Matthews at 5:26 pm (PDT) on Sat September 24, 2016   
Yes Dolly, that's how I remember it too. The big one first. So big that you carried it on a shoulder as you walked!
Posted by Dolly at 9:10 am (PDT) on Sat September 24, 2016   
Before trnsistors they had those big portable radios sort of like today's boom boxes. I had one of those it had turquoise leatherette trim and I took that thing everywhere I went , playground, schoolyard other kids stoops we would play wmgm top 40 every nite and dance I then got a transistor when they. Came out but I liked that big portable..my memory is not that great maybe it was the other way around but I don't think so I'm sure it was the big portable first no??
Posted by Bob Matthews at 4:02 pm (PDT) on Sun July 24, 2016   
Sony still makes a nice one, the ICF-S10Mk2.

Yessir, See my post below from May 29 2013
The link is still good -- only now it's $23!
Posted by Tommie at 2:40 pm (PDT) on Sun July 24, 2016   
My first transistor radio was a "boy's radio", which was what they called radios with only 2 transistors. It was a Coronet and could only pick up local stations within South Bend, IN, but everyone else was listening to WLS Chicago with their 6 transistors. This was in 1962. I saved up and bought a Mitsubishi 6 transistor and I was ecstatic! I went through a lot of those square 9 volt batteries listening to Dick Biondi at night in my room. The cheapest batteries were off-brands and didn't last too long. Then I bought a Motorola 10 transistor radio, thinking it would be much more p[owerful, but it wasn't. I found out later that those extra transistors were put in just to sell more radios, they didn't do much to increase range. I have a small collection of so-called pocket radios, but they're newer models, not vintage. I still listen to them because they are AM-FM. Sony still makes a nice one, the ICF-S10Mk2.
Posted by CJ at 12:34 am (PDT) on Sun July 24, 2016   
And you knew you had the "Top of the Line" when it touted that it was
7 - transistors.
Posted by Chuck Kopsho at 10:06 pm (PDT) on Sat July 23, 2016   
Back in the 70's, I bought a pocket transistor radio from our local Rexall for just a coupla bucks.
Posted by freddo30 at 3:28 pm (PDT) on Wed April 20, 2016   
Had fun taking one apart when it failed. Made in Japan. Synonym then for junk.
Posted by CJ at 9:08 pm (PDT) on Tue March 29, 2016   
I feel privilaged...when I got mine in 1960 it came with an earphone so I didn't have to listen to it under my pillow late at night. Smile
It even came with a case that had 2 slits in the back for my belt to go through, so I could listen to it while cutting grass with the push mower.
Posted by IOfferMyBentNickel at 5:46 am (PST) on Tue January 19, 2016   
Great picture of a "vintage" transistor radio. I was delighted to notice a lot of members recalling listening to their radios under their pillows. Me too. I remember receiving my first portable radio in 1975 and attempting to listen to the radio station until it "signed off the air" (little did I know about radio programming in those days) and fell asleep. I don't remember the make or model of the radio.
Posted by oneshotbob at 12:34 pm (PST) on Thu December 5, 2013   
Have a friend who is a tech wizard in Canada and he is replacing 2 tranistors in my Sony TR 63. Not many people are aware that this radio had a piece of sponge on the inside of the back cover. He also found out when taking my radio apart that it preceeds the Sony Tr 63 skematic. These are his words about it;s age because Sony exported the TR 63 into Canada a full year before the USA.

" We'll probably never figure out the total story behind this radio, even though it bears the model number designation; it's clearly different in several areas. The Sams Photofacts documentation is typically pretty good, but it's U.S. domestic market and may not reflect early models exported to Canada under the Gendis Sony flag. In reality, I would consider what you have to be fairly unique, it calls itself a Tr-63; but has enough differences, that it is really something else".
Posted by oneshotbob at 12:40 pm (PDT) on Mon September 16, 2013   
The Sony TR 63 was great babe bait in 1957 untill the battery died. The batteries were expensive and I would put my little square dying battries in the oven to get another 5 min of Rock and Roll from CJCA in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Posted by oneshotbob at 12:33 pm (PDT) on Mon September 16, 2013   
My presentation box arrived for my Gendis (Canadian) TR 63 from an eBay sellar and it is in mint condition. The person who owned for the almost 60 year old box put all the love and carring that I have in my TR 63 radio. Just need a case and earphones but they are not rare as my presentation box. What are the chances of matching up a Canadian radio and box?
Posted by oneshotbob at 3:50 pm (PDT) on Thu September 12, 2013   
Have a TR 63 Sony like one in this Gallery. Looking for a case and earphones. Have the very rare presentation box.
Posted by Bob Matthews at 7:34 pm (PDT) on Wed May 29, 2013   
Cathy, you still can! Under $12 at Amazon.
Posted by Duff at 4:13 pm (PDT) on Sun May 26, 2013   
My first transistor radio, a 6-transistor beauty that came in a jewelry-style box, was a gift from my grandmother ~1960. Might have been a Sony -- I can picture the radio (off-white, no big dial, gold-colored metal speaker grill with stylish vertical grooves), but not the brand. I used it to listen to rock 'n' roll under my piloow (Murray the K and Mad Daddy on 1010 WINS New York <bing!>).
Posted by Cathy Taylor at 1:30 pm (PDT) on Sun May 26, 2013   
I would love to find one these today.
Posted by paktype at 1:53 pm (PDT) on Tue March 13, 2012   
Got a portable transistor radio from my cousin for my birthday in 1978. Listened to many a ballgame with it under my pillow.
Posted by joesauntie at 5:46 am (PST) on Sat January 9, 2010   
ahhhh, the beloved "JADE" radio of my childhood was a treat from Dad when he got some overtime...mine was olive green and my brother's black....they had a nifty plastic/vinyl case with perforations to let the sound through....I listened back and forth on the dial from KYA and KFRC here in the SF Bay Area...."Ode to BillyJoe" was the big hit that summer!

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