The History of the Radio
By: Irma Haldane
With the introduction of CD players, AUX adapters and mp3 players in cars, the car radio seems like something of the past. Interesting enough though, the company who created the original car radio, is still very much relevant today.
In 1929, William Lear and Elmer Wavering sat in a car at a look out point with their girlfriends. One of the girls pointed out that it would be nice to enjoy music in the car. Thinking it was an interesting idea, Lear and Wavering pursued the concept. Having had both worked with radios previously, the two men finally made a model after tinkering with the electrical wiring in a car. They took the invention to a radio convention in Chicago where they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. Thinking that the car radio was going to a big hit, Galvin invested in the product.
After Lear and Wavering perfected their first model, Galvin went to the bank to apply for a loan. Hoping that it would seal the deal, Galvin had Lear and Wavering install a radio in the banker’s car. Unfortunately, the banker’s car caught on fire shortly thereafter, and no, they did not receive the loan. Broke but with an unwavering spirit, Galvin headed down to Atlantic city for a Radio Manufacturers convention. Without enough money to purchase a booth, Galvin parked his car outside of the convention and blared the radio for goers to hear. His display worked and the radios were put into production.
The first car radio was called 5T71. Knowing that it wasn’t a very catchy name, Galvin decided to come up with something else. Then, many companies added “ola” to the ends of their names such as Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola. Because the radio was intended for a motorized vehicle, Galvin came up with the name, Motorola – the very same name we recognize today.
Since the initial introduction of the car radio in the 1930′s, Motorola has been a leader in technological innovation. In the late 1940′s, they came out with one of the first affordable home televisions; the 1950′s, they released the first pager and in 1973, they were attributed to inventing the world’s first cell phone.
Having rounded on the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the cell phone, it is easy to forget a world without them. It is important to take the time to appreciate the impact a single company has had on our everyday lives. From the car radio, to pagers and now cell phones, I look forward to what Motorola has in store next.