Since moving back to Chicago, I've been trying to visit every museum in the city, because my former city, Miami, lacked those resources. And I can't say that I blame Miami, because who really wants to be inside while in a tropical paradise. I get it. Anyway, I really missed museums and Chicago has so many offer! I recently visited The Museum of Broadcast Communications in the River North area ... a stone's throw away from the Magnificent Mile. When I arrived, the museum was empty and I had it to myself for a good 30 minutes, which was great. I didn't know what to expect really and I was pleasantly surprised ... I mean, I KNEW that they would have communication stuff, but their layout and scope is pretty impressive. I really loved walking down "memory lane" and even though most of it is specific to Chicago history, I think everyone would enjoy it. The second floor is dedicated to radio and the third floor has a remarkably interesting TV and popular culture collection.
I began to marvel at how beautiful the majority of logos and generally typography on the radios and TV's ... truly classic design. Please enjoy the selection of photos that I took & if you have an hour to spare while in downtown Chicago, I recommend this museum ... it's really awesome.
'The Great Debate' TV Camera
This very camera was used to televise the debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, on September 26, 1960, from Studio 2 at WBBM-TV (CBS) Chicago. I did not know that televised event was even IN Chicago ... I just assumed it was New York or Washington D.C.. Apparently, this was Kennedy's 'close-up' camera ... and he scored big points that night with his good looks and charm. And yes, this camera shot in black & white - it's specifically an RCA TKlla-Image Orth TV camera.
Presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy, 1960, Chicago.
'The Great Debate' TV Camera (detail)
Timeless CBS logo designed by William Golden in 1951.
High Fidelity TV (brand unknown)
I swear that this was our TV from when I was a kid. I guess that they all looked alike - the large console model was where it all started. It appears like the brand logo is missing ... there is a space on the top dial area where it must have resided. This TV didn't have a remote control, which is something incomprehensible by today's standards. Actually, remote controls didn't hit the TV market until 1950 and were produced by Zenith Radio Corporation.
High Fidelity TV - detail
Look at the on/off pull-knob! That looks ready to break at any moment, but these TVs are pretty resilient and built to last. Very nice use of condensed san serif type to identify the controls.
DuMont UHF TV Set
Love those concentric rings emulating radio waves! Not only did DuMont make TV's, they were also a pioneer TV network in the Midwest and East Coast. They couldn't compete with the 'Big Three' networks: ABC, CBS & NBC; also, even though their station and products operated on the superior UHF, it was more costly to purchase DuMont TVs with this 'technology', so they fell out of favor with 'The Regular Joe'. If you didn't know UHF means 'Ultra High Frequency', VHF means 'Very High Frequency' ... duh.
DuMont UHF TV Set - Dials
RCA Victor 'New Vista Color' TV
Nice mix of extended and condensed type, with an italic serif.
Sears, Roebuck & Co. Silvertone TV - 7 inch screen
The Silvertone's tagline was 'The Right Way to See Television'. I found on of their brochures online and it reads: "Your friends and neighbors are talking television. Your newspaper is full of television news and programs schedules. Even your radio tells you about it. Furthermore, – television set owners aren't only the upper classes. They're folks like you and me who stay home nights so we can get to work on time in the morning. Television goes a long way. Television has come a long way to where, today, it is a 'must' for better living (and you'll find that 'must' in Silvertone). " LOL.
Sears, Roebuck & Co. Silvertone TV logo
Admiral TV logo & dials
As retro as you can get, with faux gold and everything.
Massive radio dial with presets for: WMAQ, WLW, WGN, WJR, WLS, CKLW, WOWO and WSPD It's hard to see unless you zoom in, you could also tune in to radio transmissions from Guatemala City, Cartagenas, London, Schen'y, Berlin, Moscow, Rome, Buenos Aires, Havana, Cincinnati, Toronto, CHICAGO, N.York, Pitts'gh, Caracas, Mexico City, and La Ceiba. Awesome!
Stromberg-Carlson Hazeltine Neutrodyne Receiver Dial
I dunno, it's a random photo ... I just liked the stroked type; it didn't plug in with ink/paint.
Sparton Radio (top) & Emerson Radio (bottom)
Sparton Radio (detail)
If you zoom in and look at the Sparton radio dials, they used two different typefaces on each dial-face. The left is a clock and the font is a medium, condensed, block-style san-serif and the right dial-face is the volume control and that typeface is bolder and blockier still. And the Sparton logo, spaced out on a horizon bar looks GORGEOUS. The MBC has the very popular Art Deco Sparton 'Bluebird' radio, but I couldn't get a decent shot of it, as it was behind a case. It's worth the Google search ... go look it up!
I find it so interesting how the designers worked with the two-digit and three-digit numbers and the demarcation line of where to find the right spot for that station ... just see how subtle that little line moves under the numbers. GEEKING OUT RN. The museum left the price tag on the knob - they paid $65 for it ... that should be removed though.
Motorola Radio - Wood
Oh so Art Deco! Kinda looks like a car - beautiful craft and details ... the speakers and knobs are similar ... very nice.
Motorola Radio (detail)
There's a bit of a calligraphic style to the numbers - it seems like a car speedometer. I wondered what 'kilocycles' meant - here is the definition from the the AntiqueRadios.com website: "KC = kilocycles. The AM broadcast band on most old radios covers .55 to 1.5 kilocycles, or 550 cycles to 1500 cycles. In later years, the 'KC' designation was replaced by the "KHz" designation, which stands for Kilohertz. Radios with FM will cover 88-108 megacycles (MC) or megahertz (MHz)."
1950's Trav-Ler Karenola Radio
Condensed font for the numbers in display, although it loses readability with the recessed dial that creates a shadow. The Trav-ler logo is adorable in that 1950's way. The radio itself seems really delicate and that plastic looks so brittle, that you know if you dropped it, it would shatter. Cool design tho with those red knobs and red needle; horizontal lines on the exterior and vertical lines inside on the dial .... ties it all together.
1960's Portable Emerson Radio
Emerson Radio's have an abundance of cool radio designs and this checkerboard face hiding the speaker is hip as heck. This radio makes it clear that it has high-fidelity sound by showcasing the 'FM' (Frequency Modulation) on the top of the dial in gold foil. The number dial is really plain and on a whole, it's an elegant design directed to the young, hip set of the day.
1950's Vintage Art Deco Crosley Radio
Crosely is the mack-daddy of cool radio designs ... this one looks like a Cadillac. The Crosley name is tracked very wide and everything is pretty symmetrical. The Art Deco style numbers are large and readable - looks so good.
Crosley Radios at Target Stores Today
The Crosley radio design is so good that Target stores sells modern day versions of radios with CD players/Bluetooth with a retro design. That's what you call, ' Timeless Design'.
This radio looks like a miniature television set just without the screen. The box is cut on an angle, like a piece of cheese, the speaker vents are large for it's limited face, two dials, little feet, loud orange-color and the conservative san-serif Admiral logo. Simple and fun ... I envision this in a 1950's California kitchen.
1950's Philco Bakelite Radio
The radio is a work of art. It's Modernist, understated and elegant. I love the even larger radio ration dial as compared to the volume dial and the condensed Philco logo, tracked wide. I think this might be my personal favorite.
1950's Westinghouse Radio - Music and Voice Recorder
My favorite part of this radio is the Westinghouse logo and I love how it looks with the subtle dark speaker circle behind it. This radio has a voice recorder - interesting.
1940's General Electric Radio - Wood Body
Wow, this thing is a classic. Very understated EVERYTHING. Beautiful numerical display.
Mid-1950's Trutone Portable Radio
This radio is solidly built and I love the leather handle for elegant transport. I definitely remember their rather masculine style - I think my dad had one of these radios. What I wouldn't give to have that radio today!
1950's Zenith Portable Radio
Lovely serifed numbers on the dial - kinda of a ballsy move, since that might have come across as fuddy-duddy. The plastic pattern over the speaker seem to be moving. Zenith had many logos used simultaneously and this condensed logo seems to be the one used for the hip products. I really love this radio.
Zenith Shutter-Dial Console Radio, 1941, Model 12S265.
Zenith Radio Corporation had many factories in Chicago, my dad worked at the Zenith factory located on West Grand Avenue; it was his first job upon arriving from Cuba in the 1960's. As I look at the radios, the Zenith ones in particular, I just think of my dad so much. Because he ONLY bought that brand and encouraged all his friends to do the same. All of our electronics were Zenith brand for many, many years. So, it strikes a very sentimental chord with me. Makes me miss my dad and miss all the cool Zenith products. I wish that we had kept at least one of his transistor Zenith radios.
Zenith Console Radio, 1940's
A. Work. of. Art.
Zenith Console Radio, 1940's
This is craftsmanship and awesome design - I love the classic thunderbolt 'Z' Zenith logo!
1940's Edison Record Player
I couldn't find too much on Thomas A. Edison's record players - the focus was more on his invention of the precedent, phonograph. It's a lovely machine in the typical, large wooden console of the time. The angled-lettered logo is lovely, with its capital 'E' with a long swish.
WGN-TV Channel 9 TV Color Camera
This camera was used to shoot legendary WGN 1960's & 70's kids TV shows like: Bozo's Circus, The Ray Rayner Show and Garfield Goose and Friends The 'G' has decided to be a serif to its san-serif logo members.
WGN-TV Channel 9 TV Color Camera (detail)
RCA Television Pedestal, Made by Houston-Fearless Corp., Los Angeles, California