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The First Transistor Radio Made In Salina Is Now Headed For The Smithsonian

Reg Speller/Getty Images

Let’s head back to the early years of the 1950s. The War just ended, and new technology was emerging all over the world. Here in America it was 1953. The cutting edge of technology was the transistor radio. That cutting edge of technology was created right here in Central New York.

General Electric’s plant in Salina in 1953 turned theory into reality with the transistor radio. Engineers led by Arthur P. Stern went to work proving that transistors could replace tubes in a radio. This team created GE’s first prototype of a transistor radio. How big was this first prototype?

About the size of a pound cake, lacking a speaker and held together with slot-head screws, the radio wasn’t meant to be sold to the public, but rather to demonstrate the viability of transistors, said Jeff Marier, an engineer at Lockheed Martin, who also collects radios. Marier shared the story of the radio with Baldwinsville students last week, explaining to them that the radio is “part of the history of innovation in our country and part of our history in Syracuse.”

On Friday (11/16), that prototype will be received by the Smithsonian Institution to become part of its permanent collection of electronics. If it wasn’t for this great invention you’d never be able to listen to Central New York’s Greatest Hits!

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[via Syracuse / CNYRadio]

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