Crystal radios were the first radios. They use no batteries
or other power to receive stations; they are powered by the faint
signals from the broadcasting stations themselves and can be heard only
through earphones. Beginning in the
1920s, amplifiers were added to radios to make them loud enough to
power speakers and those early, serious-looking crystal radios faded
But as you see on this page, the crystal radio
to survive in the form of a toy.
Many a kid has
been fascinated by these little radios, some of us even built our own.
is the Remco Tiny Tim,
in the USA in 1959. The box for
it is shown below. Upper center is one of the many rocket-shaped
crystal radios made during our early-’60s obsession with space travel.
This rocket is the model MG-305 from Miniman
(Japan). To its right,
another gem from Japan, the Current
NP-81 Pincushion Radio.
is not only a radio, but is also an actual pincushion stuck with real
pins, and it has a thimble and built-in retractable tape measure you
can see peeking out on the right. For more on these delightful little
radios, see my books,
Toy Crystal Radios Volume
1 and Volume 2.