I find that I’m increasingly interested in both the appearance and function of radios, and how these two aspects interact.
Two summers ago, when visiting Guelph, where Dorothea and I were born and (for the most part) grew up, I visited the Hammond Museum of Radio. You can read a report of my visit in the Halifax Amateur Radio Club newsletter from October 2015.
The radios (and a handful of televisions) at the museum span the history of radio up to around the 1980’s. What struck me was the extraordinary effort some manufacturers made in cabinetry design. Hallicrafters, a manufacturer of communications receivers—not exactly a priority consumer item—went to great lengths to design functional but desirable rigs. I didn’t know this at the time of my museum visit, but the company hired designer Raymond Loewy in the late 1940’s to design the S-40A, which is one of only two Loewy designs that has found its way into the MOMA. Loewy’s work raised the aesthetic bar for other radio makers such as Zenith and Electrohome.