Trivia Question 10/20/11 – First Transistor Radio

Regency TR-1 Transistor RadioQUESTION:

The first Transistor Radio, the Regency TR-1 was announced on October 18, 1954.  It was put on sale in November 1954, and was the first practical transistor radio made in any significant numbers.  Billboard reported that “the radio has only four transistors. One acts a combination mixer-oscillator, one as an audio amplifier, and two as intermediate-frequency amplifiers.”

How much did the first transistor radio sell for when it was introduced in 1954?




In May 1954, Texas Instruments had designed and built a prototype and was looking for an established radio manufacturer to develop and market a radio using their transistors. None of the major radio makers including RCA, Philco, and Emerson were interested. The President of Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.) of Indianapolis, Indiana at the time, Ed Tudor, jumped at the opportunity to manufacture the TR-1, predicting sales of the transistor radios at “20 million radios in three years”.

One year after the release of the TR-1 sales approached the 100,000 mark. The look and size of the TR-1 was well received, but the reviews of the TR-1’s performance were typically adverse.

At the time of the introduction of the Regency TR-1, transistors were difficult to produce. Only one in five transistors that were produced worked as expected (only a 20% yield) and as a result the price remained extremely high. When it was released in 1954, the Regency TR-1 cost $49.95 (over $420 in today’s U.S. dollars).


A total of 33 stations checked in to tonight’s net.  Of those, 6 got the correct answer to the trivia question.  Congratulations to:

  • VE3GDB – Cameron
  • KD6JEV – John
  • KD6NIW – Oliver
  • AF6TT – Leon
  • AD6UP – Louie
  • WA6USL – Murray

A big thanks to everyone for supporting the Association by checking into the weekly net.


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