#lookback: Philco Car Radio

    A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

    The year is 1949. “The War” has been over for 4 years, and the domestic economy is booming. You’ve just started your job down at the plant, married your high school sweetheart. Your future is bright, so you head down to the Ford dealership and purchase a brand spanking new Custom Four Door Sedan. Its sleek chrome grill, white sidewall tires, and big, swooping fenders won you over. But your new baby is missing one killer feature. It doesn’t have one of those fancy new car radios. Next stop: the radio shop, where you pick up one of these – a Philco CR-2 car radio.

    As the automobile grew in importance for everyday Americans, it also grew in size and luxury, and the radio quickly became one of the must-have features. Since most cars in the ‘40s did not have built-in radios, add-on radios like this became hot sellers. This model, like most car radios of the era, mounts under the dashboard. Installation is simple: two bolts through a bracket support the radio’s weight. An antenna connects to the side of the radio using the same socket that modern car antennas use. The wire coming out of the rear provides six volts DC from the car’s battery.


    Once the radio was connected, the left knob powered it on and adjusted its volume. After its tubes warmed up, you were ready use the right knob to find your favorite station. Then you were free to listen to all of the Hank Williams, Bing Crosby, and Tennessee Ernie Ford that you could handle through its single four inch speaker.

    This is not the first car radio ever produced. Philco itself produced car radios as early as the 1930s, but it is an early example of the car audio industry, and its quest to give us music, news, and entertainment while we travel. The several-hundred watt satellite radio smartphone-synced video-playing in-car entertainment systems with a dozen or more speakers that are common today all trace their roots to simple devices like this humble yet strangely stylish Philco.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museums

    May 11, 2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Spool Knitting”

    Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series



    May 16, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Teen Adult Bead Cleaning Workshop”

    Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series



    May 18, 10am at the Pioneer Museum, “Lander Downtown Walking Tour”

    Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series



    May 30, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Dr. Sayman Aryana: The Oil Industry in Wyoming”

    Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series


    The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.



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