Originally founded in 1894 to manufacture telephones, the Stromberg-Carlson company also produced radio components, and began selling their own complete sets during the early 1920s. By that time, the radio craze had fully absorbed the American public, and radio pioneer RCA was cornering the market after scooping up over 2,000 broadcasting-related patents.
Stromberg-Carlson entered the field by making smaller parts for tube radios. Eventually, the company applied its telephone-audio expertise to develop a successful line of radio headsets. In 1923, the company was licensed to produce the “Neutodyne” radio circuit designed by Dr. L. A. Hazeltine. Stromberg-Carlson’s first set came out in early 1924, and the company steadily grew its radio production, eventually requiring RCA licenses for several products.
In 1926, Stromberg-Carlson became the first manufacturer to merge phonograph and radio technology by incorporating a phonograph jack into its radio chassis. By the end of the decade, Stromberg-Carlson sold sets with fully integrated radio and turntable technologies, and the company’s radio sales surpassed that of its telephones.
The 1930s represented boom years for Stromberg-Carlson’s radio development, as it introduced new modifications like automatic volume control, improved amplifying methods, and an early push-button tuning mechanism. Ads from the late '30s emphasize other innovations, like the unique Stromberg-Carlson “acoustical labyrinth,” a complex baffle design which improved sound quality by guiding audio waves through a series of interlocking chambers, and its “Te-Lek-Tor” series, which included remote-control capabilities. “Let your dealer arrange an audition,” was the brand’s cheeky slogan, emphasizing its reputation for superior sound quality.
Over the next 20 years, Stromberg-Carlson created an array of gorgeous Art Deco-inspired radios, from the sleek, ivory-colored 140-K console to the tabletop 225-H with its floral-patterned speaker grill and octagonal dial. After the company’s merger with General Dynamics in 1955, the business was restructured to focus production on telephone products, and its radios were discontinued.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Jim's Antique Radio Museum
The Radio Attic's Archives
Phil's Old Radios
Clubs & Associations
- Antique Wireless Association
- Southeastern Antique Radio Society
- New Jersey Antique Radio Club
- British Vintage Wireless Society
- California Historical Radio Society