There's an allure to the Regency TR-1 transistor radio that can't be denied. It was the first (widely sold) transistorized consumer product, had beautiful and daring styling for the time (styling that still holds up, in my opinion), and further demonstrated the significance of engineering and technology in the 20th century. The story is one of American ingenuity and business daring. And the coincidence of the radio's introduction and the emergence of rock and roll music in the same year is fascinating. The TR-1 is a true collector's prize.
On October 9, 2012, the PBS television show "History Detectives" ran an episode including the Regency TR-1 transistor radio. You can watch online.
If you're only looking for repair info, see my separate repair page.
And Time Magazine rates it among the All-TIME 100 gadgets.
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) in London called me for an interview a few days prior to the Oct. 18, 2004 50th anniversary of the announcement of the TR-1. It ran on BBC on Oct 18 at various times -- I caught it at 0515 GMT. It's a 1.0 MB mp3 file.
I have obtained the long lost film of the Regency TR-1 factory, circa 1955. And somebody also posted it on YouTube. See the TR-1 actually being built. INCREDIBLE !
And some people believe that the TR-1 looks somewhat like another "popular electronic device!" By the way, after this mention my site received 798,000 hits in the next 36 hours (at peak it was about 20 hits per second) !
If you're of a certain age you'll surely remember the 1960's music group,
the Byrds, with lead guitarist/vocalist
But did you know that nowadays he collects transistor radios, and has a
treasured Regency TR-1G?
I think I spotted a red TR-4 on his shelf too. How cool is that?
Invention & Technology
magazine had a wonderful article on the
TR-1 in their Fall 2004 issue. I supplied the photos! (Link to the
They give lots of
background on the radio and tell the story of its development.
They show some of the radios from my collection, including
the insides of one. Good stuff!
The author, Bob Simcoe, was interviewed on National Public Radio on
Nov. 5, 2004 at 2040 GMT. Here's the
2.1 MB interview (mp3 file). Very interesting!
Here are some nice photos of several extremely rare pearlescent TR-1s: Meridian blue, pearl white, and lavender. And, here's the highly unusual "Clearback" TR-1 (offered to dealers).
And here's a fun photo of LOTS of radios together.
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