Transistor Radios Around the World

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Before '54 --- North America --- Western Europe --- Japan and Pacific --- East Bloc and USSR

1958 Sony TR-610

Shirt pocket radio, thermoplastic cabinet
4 1/4 x 2 9/16 x 1 1/8 inches / 108 x 65 x 29 mm
Six transistors (Sony, 2x 2T65, 2T73, 2x 2T76, 2T84), superheterodyne circuit
One standard 9-volt battery
Manufactured by Sony Corp., Japan

Released in November 1958, the first truly mass-marketed Japanese pocket transistor radio exported to the US, several hundred thousand units involved — this and its seminal, multiple-award-winning cabinet design make it one of the most historically significant transistor radios ever produced. A small and slim radio that could easily fit into any shirt pocket (unlike its "pocket" predecessors, such as the Standard SR-F22, Hitachi TH-621 and Sony TR-63), the TR-610 incorporated a round brass-rimmed speaker grille that was to become an iconic emblem of the pocket transistor radio. Because of its unprecedented number of units imported to the US, its timeless cabinet design and its relatively low price, the Sony TR-610 was to become the second nail in the coffin (after the Sony TR-63) for the US consumer electronics industry.

The Sony 610 came in four cabinet colors: red, white, green, and black — I still think black is by far the color that works best for this set. Early versions of the Sony 610 had a gold-colored dial plate, and later versions had a silver-colored dial plate. In 1959 or 1960 a lower-priced, five-transistor version was released: the Sony TR-510.

Sony TR-610

Sony TR-610

Sony TR-610

Sony TR-610

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image

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