Est. 2017


Antique Automobile Club of America

Trivia Answer:

What brand is responsible for the first commercial in-car radio?

(A) Motorola  (B) GE  (C) Blaupunkt  (D) Samsung

A. Motorola

Motorola was the brand responsible for the first in-car radio. It hit the market in 1930 and would set you back $110 – about $3,000 in today’s money. And, that was at a time when a new car would only set you back around $650.

Some historians argue that the first car radio was installed by Kelley’s Motors in New South Wales, Australia, in 1924, but it was the precursor to Motorola – Galvin Manufacturing Corp. – that introduced the first mass-market car radio in June, 1930.

Brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin’s first radio ran on six vacuum tubes, took up about 10 litres of cargo space, received AM signals only, was housed in a wooden case and was powered by two high-voltage batteries stashed under the passenger seat, plus the car’s battery.

Paul Galvin, realizing the radio needed a brand, created a portmanteau of “motor car” and the suffix “ola” (slang for anything audio) and came up with Motorola.

The Galvin brothers’ expensive unit was the first commercially successful car radio, and the first product to wear the Motorola name.

source: various


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A flyer for a push-button Motorola car radio, a common option on cars starting in the late 1930s

A circa-1930 brochure advertises a Motorola car radio