View Full Version : How cheap could I get a transistor radio, in late 1963?
09-25-2003, 03:16 AM
...y'know, for whenever I manage to travel through time. ;)
09-25-2003, 07:44 AM
See Sony transistor radio list - All the collectable Sony tr sets produced from 1955 up to 1963 in chronological order (http://www.etedeschi.ndirect.co.uk/sony/sony.list.htm)
The original cost in yen is listed. Just do the conversion for the then current dollars to yen conversion.
09-25-2003, 08:27 AM
My WAG is $10. I would like to know how close I am.
09-25-2003, 09:01 AM
I bought my first in '65 for $3.98.
Now ask me what my children's names are.
09-25-2003, 09:30 AM
A really cheap transistor radio could be had for about $2.98. A slightly better one (more transistors -- think of it as more powerful chips) cost about $5.98.
You could also get a glorified crystal radio set with an earphone for about $1.
By the way, you'll need a 9-volt battery for that radio. Can't remember how much they cost -- probably a quarter.
09-25-2003, 10:01 AM
Based on this website (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/prod4.t11.htm) it looked like the exchange rate in the early to mid 60's was about 35. yen to the dollar, but that would make the radios a bit expensive ( $ 25-40 or so ) , so either this website or the other one listing yen prices may be wrong as something seems off by an order of magnitude or so, or I am mis-reading the chart. If it was 350 yen to dollar it would make more sense.
09-25-2003, 10:14 AM
At that time or a little later they were cheap enough that they were minor promotional items used by retailers. If you actually bought one, I think kunilou's figures are about right.
Incidently, the "transistor count" was supposedly sometimes a sham. I can't definitely confirm it, but it's been said that they would solder in a couple extra cheap germanium transistors in that actually did nothing, or use the base and one of the other 2 leads for a diode to be able to talk about their "9 transistor radio", which actually had, say, 5 functional transistors in the circuit.
What I CAN'T remember is exactly when the novelty wore off, and most people quit carting them around. I only came in as a youthful consumer of these things on the tail end of the wave.
09-25-2003, 10:16 AM
What was the Dollar's purchasing power in 1963? Saying it costs $4.00 sounds good untill you remember that you made about $85.00 a week.
09-25-2003, 10:53 AM
Minimum wage was $1.25.
A Jaguar cost Six Thousand dollars.
"A six transistor radio" was a euphemism for a totally worthless object. (Came from a contest on a radio show, where the voice droned out prizes until you said stop, and you got whatever the voice said. Mostly it said: "A six transistor radio!""
The ones without speakers were less than a buck, but you needed a pair of headphones, which cost more than the radio. The batteries were extra.
09-25-2003, 11:09 AM
A quick check gives a factor of about 6 for 1963 dollars to now, which sounds right. In todays terms, the $3 transistor radio is equivalent of something you spend a twenty on and don't get much change. Say about the price of a pair of movie tickets, maybe a little more. Movies were about a buck in the mid 60's.
09-25-2003, 04:12 PM
$3.00 is same as I am recalling. For that you could get a hand-sized transistor radio that ran on AA batteries.
09-25-2003, 04:47 PM
Where the heck is whitetheo (or whatever his/her name is)??? He/she knows EVERYTHING there is to know about radio history.
09-25-2003, 04:56 PM
I believe specifying the number of transistors was done in the same sort of "disclosure" that required mentioning the number of "jewels" in watches or the number of tubes in radio sets: it was a rough measure of quality and value just like today they list Mhz and MB for computers.
I very much doubt they would add a transistor or two which did nothing and this sounds extremely like UL to me. First of all, people are not stupid and word would get around pretty fast. Secondly, adding the expense of the transistors which do nothing is silly because for the same cost or little more you can make them do something and have a better product. It reeks of UL.
Would a computer manufacturer add RAM which went unused just to advertise the higher number? I doubt it and he would last long anyway.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A Japanese transistor radio
It's a Nakashuma
It's the Mark 4 model - that's the one that's discontinued
And it comes with a leatherette case with holes in it so you can listen right through the case
And it has a wire with a thing on one end that you can stick in your ear and a thing on the other end you can't stick anywhere because it's bent
. . . Allan Sherman (http://www.lyricsxp.com/lyrics/t/the_twelve_days_of_christmas_allan_sherman.html)
09-25-2003, 05:17 PM
I lived in Japan in 1964-'65 and the exchange rate then was 360 yen to the dollar.
09-25-2003, 08:21 PM
I bought my first on about 1961 or so. My memory, which could be incorrect, is that I spent about $10. It would have been a middle of the road model, as I didn't have but so much money. It was about the size of the current Sony Walkman, a hand-held and fitting size.
09-25-2003, 08:32 PM
On the linked site, the Model TFM-951J, an AM/FM Portable radio, sold in Mar. 1963 for 19,500 yen. In todays dollars, that would be $174,325 USD. :eek: :eek: At least, according to the converter on this site:
Thanks, I'll pass on the radio. :D
09-25-2003, 09:33 PM
At that time, I can remember my father predicting how transistor radios would finally come down to $1.00 per transistor. Back then transistors were still discreet components used in various stages of amplification and solid state integrated circuits were restricted to the domain of high end main frame computers.
If you paid $1.00 per transistor for modern electronics, your Pentium powered computer would cost $1,000,000.00 or more.
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