Transistor Radios Around the World

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1958 Realistic "Hi-Fiver"

Coat pocket radio, thermosetting plastic cabinet
5 3/8 x 3 x 1 5/8 inches / 136 x 76 x 41 mm
Four transistors (Hitachi, HJ50, HJ51, HJ54, HJ55, + 1N46 glass diode)
Superheterodyne circuit
Manufactured by Kobe Kogyo Corporation?
Distributed by Radio Shack, USA

The Realistic Hi-Fiver's cabinet is nearly identical to Kobe Kogyo's circa-1957 six-transistor KT-6, but the four-transistor chassis obviously is not. Whether or not Kobe Kogyo made the High-Fiver's chassis, this radio's manufacturer found more distributors than just Realistic — it was also marketed as a "Million", among other names. The "Hi-Fiver" example shown here was produced in mid-1958.

A very nice usage of cabinet plastics — the whitish plastic on the front dial area has a unique mottled visual texture (though unfortunately whatever plastic this was had a susceptibility to heat deformation, as has been seen on a number of examples found under various distributor names) — and the bright red plastic cabinet itself is made of hard, glossy thermosetting plastic, something often found on Japanese transistor radios made before 1959.

This cabinet design clearly was copied to some degree by the GDR manufacturer VEB Stern-Radio Sonneberg with its 1959-1963 series of six-transistor Sternchen radios. The Sternchen's cabinet dimensions were a bit larger (5 3/4 x 3 5/16 x 1 9/16 inches / 146 x 84 x 40 mm), but the cabinet colors were far more plentiful, as were the production numbers.

Realistic Hi-Fiver

Realistic "Hi-Fiver"

Realistic Hi-Fiver


Realistic Hi-Fiver

inside back

Realistic Hi-Fiver

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image

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