• 1960 Display Cabinet
• Concentric Ring
• Travel Radio
• Four Weenies
• Deep Vee
• Hers 'n' His
• Earphone-Only
• Gets No Respect
• Coffin
• A pair of Penny's
• Cat's Eye
• 309A
• Bathroom Scales
• Two 5TRs
• 314A
• 3 shirtpockets
• SW mini-portable
• 7TP-30
• 2 SW shirtpockets
• 3 coatpockets
• As Advertised
.. in LIFE

• As Advertised
.. in LIFE

• Not Advertised
.. in LIFE

• Cat's Eye box
• Bath Scale box
• 8TM-41 box
Toshiba Transistor Radios
Toshiba Transistor Radios

So how come this is the only transistor radio gallery here which is devoted to a single manufacturer? Simply because Toshiba made so many great radios…

Other manufacturers such as Sony may have produced a number of radios more earnest or honest in terms of industrial design, but what sets Toshiba apart from these is how
unserious its cabinet designs could be and still look so stunning! And so many of Toshiba's transistor radios were so unusual that many of the models have inspired nicknames for themselves among collectors: "Coffin," "Bathroom Scale," "Shoulders" or "Robot," "Cat's Eye," "Concentric Ring"...

The following pages show 32 Toshiba transistor radios produced and sold in the “Golden Age” of Japanese transistors, 1959-1962. These include a number of Toshibas produced under the
Trancel and Penny’s labels, as well as one “El Dorado.”

While radios going by the names of Trancel and Penny's were made exclusively by Toshiba -- and there were many models made under those names, sometimes with identical Toshiba model equivalents, and other times not -- there were also those strays such as the El Dorado mentioned above. Collector Russ Spreeman recently sent me information on two such examples, a Realistic 95L-020, and a Viscount, both of which have all Toshiba components, and very "Toshiba" looking cabinets, including the hallmark Toshiba model-number-in-the-circle stamped into the cabinets' back faces, and the Toshiba serial numbering scheme detailed below. And Dave Best sent info on a Seabreeze 6TP-309, marketed in Canada, and identical to the Toshiba 309. And a Toshiba found on this site but not in this Toshiba section is the Viscount 833 SW portable. I'm sure there are many other "strays" such as these that I'm not aware of, and if you know of any you should feel free to enlighten me here...

A Word on the Manufacture Dates:

If you're a Toshiba collector, or just a transistor smartypants in general, you'll no doubt notice that most of the models in this Toshiba gallery have been assigned manufacture dates, many of which don't agree with those found in the price guides -- so what gives here?

The price guides were written and published at a time when the only available indications of mfr dates were Sams TSM copyright dates and old magazine advertisements: some dates were solid, but the majority were only guesstimates...

Since then a "hunch" was proposed by collector Fred Mason in early 1997: The hunch was that Toshiba placed production dates within its serial numbers, but since Fred only had three Toshiba transistor models, he really couldn't say for sure. I sent him a list of serial numbers for 29 Toshiba models in my collection, along with my guess of what the coding scheme was -- and for him (and for me), this confirmed the hunch.

Here's the serial number coding scheme:
1. The first digit is the final digit of the year of manufacture,
2. The second and third digits indicate the month of that year,
3. The five remaining digits are the "core" serial number.

For example: a "Concentric Ring" 8TP-90 has the serial number 00800512...
this would mean that it was set number 512 produced in August, 1960.

Go grab your vintage Toshibas, look at their serial numbers, and you'll note that:
a. For each set the first digit is either 9, 0, 1, or 2 -- as in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962 (and 3's & 4's of course would refer to '63 & '64 sets).
b. The second digit is exclusively 0 or 1, and if it
is 1, then the third digit is without exception 0, 1 or 2. Get it? That's how a 12 month calendar would display in two digits...

While this serial number scheme gives a precise production date, it
does not give a precise distribution date: serial numbers indicating a November or December production date for a particular year would very likely belong to models labeled as distributed in the following year...

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© 2007 by Robert Davidson, transistors@abetterpage.com

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