Trivia Question 10/18/12 – The First Transistor Radio

Regency TR-1 Transistor RadioOn this date in history… On October 18, 1954 the first commercially produced transistor radio was announced.  The Regency TR-1 went on sale in November 1954 and sold about 100,000 units its first year for $49.95 each.  Which is more than $400 today.


How many transistors did the first transistor radio have?




Two companies—Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas, and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.) of Indianapolis, Indiana—worked together to produce the Regency TR-1.  Texas Instruments needed to find a wide market for their newest device, the transistor.  In 1954, Texas Instruments approached RCA (and other noteworthy radio manufacturers of the era), but they expressed little interest in selling transistor (or “transistorized”) radios. However, a small Indianapolis company, the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates was interested.  It had been making television UHF converters, signal boosters, filters, and hi-fi gear.

Regency TR-1 was a superheterodyne receiver.  The radio was assembled from four n-p-n transistors and one diode. It contained a single transistor heterodyne, followed by the two cascades to amplify the radio frequency. Then (after detection) the last cascade amplified the sound frequency.

The radio measured 3″ x 5″ x 1.25″, weighed 12 ounces, and used a “standard” 22.5 volt battery.  It came in a cardboard box with the color stamped on the end. An optional earphone sold for $7.50.


We had a total of 37 people check into tonight’s net and 8 of those had the correct answer.  Congratulations to:

  • K6FCC – Khlil
  • N6GTC – Brad
  • KD6JEV – John
  • KD6JPD – Jerry
  • KE6RPY – Bill
  • KJ6SBW – Mike
  • KC6TDR – Pat
  • WA6USL – Murray

Thanks to everyone who checked in.

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