/arts-days

June 27

First Motorola brand car radio

The first car radio, the Motorola 5T71, retailed for about $120 in 1930. That’s about $1,700 in today’s dollars!

Photo Courtesy of Motorola Archives.

1895: Joy Ride
Paul Galvin is born in Harvard, Illinois
When Paul Galvin and his brother Joseph formed the Galvin Manufacturing Co. in 1928, their goal was to make battery eliminators—a device that would let a battery-powered clock or other appliance run on a house’s electrical current. However, when the stock market crashed in 1929, the brothers teamed up with a radio parts company to design the first car radio.

It took hard work to figure out how and where to install the various parts needed for the radio, but the team eventually solved the problem. Galvin was soon driving around the U.S. teaching car dealers how to install radios in their vehicles. As demand grew, Galvin hired more people and sent more trucks out to do the installations.

Galvin Manufacturing eventually became Motorola, a company still around today based in Schaumberg, Illinois, not far from Galvin’s birthplace.
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