1959 Crown TR-800
Coat pocket / small portable radio, thermoplastic cabinet
6 1/4 x 3 15/16 x 1 1/2 inches / 159 x 100 x 38 mm
Eight transistors (Hitachi, 2x 2N217, 2x 2N219, 4x HJ62, + 1N34A / NEC SD46 diode, Hitachi HV15 varistor)
Four 1.5-volt AA cells
Manufactured by Asahi Radio Mfg. Co., Ltd., Tokyo
Distributed by Shriro Trading Corp., New York
When I put the Crown TR-800 on my earlier site, The M31 Galaxy of Transistor Radios about twenty years ago, I wrote: "With its very " '50s" large-radius cabinet corners, painted speaker grill, massive slab of reverse-painted plastic, and the overall design in general, the Crown 800 is my candidate for "Coolest Coatpocket Transistor Ever Made, End of Story" — I'll amend that exuberance here by saying I still think it's the most striking looking coat pocket transistor radio ever made for the US market, its design relying much more on styling motifs than on the pure and honest design found among many of the earliest Japanese transistor radios that never found their way to the US.
I've put the manufacture year here as 1959, but the first TR-800s may have come out in late 1958.
The 800 was produced in three cabinet colors: turquoise, blue, and black — judging by what has shown up on eBay over the past years, black seems to be the least commonly found color.
The turquoise example shown here was assembled on December 2, 1959, as indicated by its dd/mm/yy production date stamp, 021259 (I needed a magnifying glass and a very bright light to read it). The blue example has no numbering. Please see my Crown production date codes page.