This video is amazing! It shows an assembly plant in Lawrence, Indiana that was responsible for bringing the Regency TR-1 transistor radio to market, using boards and components manufactured at other locations across the nation at that time. This is an important factor in the success of the TR-1, which didn’t require manually-selected components for the radio to function properly. The circuit design compensated for known tolerances from components like the NPN transistors (image below) that ultimately lead to the displacement of vacuum tubes as the dominant radio receiver of its day. The use of transistors over tubes also meant the circuit operated with much lower power consumption (more on that below!). Here’s a picture of the board with some components populated (admittedly, I don’t know what package type those transistors are in):
Also shown is a ‘ferris wheel solder bath’ that is exactly both of those things, a ferris wheel and a solder bath:
OK now that’s crazy – you have to see it in action!
Some other fun facts about the TR-1:
The unit sold for $49.95 in 1954, which translates to ~$445.66 in today’s dollars!
Approximately 140,000 TR-1s were sold, proving there was a market for portable transistor radios – even at that price.
The radio required a battery about the size of a 9V but which was packed with 22.5V!