Sonora Excellence 301 (1948) : Brown bakelite cabinet shaped like a car radiator grille. Some were ivory lacquered. Very smart on top of the fridge ! The mirrored dial lists many exotic station names. The magic eye (tuning indicator) fascinates the listener with its changing green light.

Sonora Excellence 203 (1950) : Marble-like plastic cabinet with luminous columns and golden knobs. Another remarkable creation by Sonora. Beautiful at night !

Sonorette 1952 : Small brown bakelite bedside radio with a unique shape. Also exists in white, red and green, but those colours are quite rare today. This radio is an AC/DC type, so it has no transformer but a large heating resistor inside to warm up the atmosphere !

Excelsior 52 : This S.N.R. (Société Nouvelle Radioélectrique) radio with a trapezial cabinet has a remarkable design. The two knobs are shaped like "sombreros" and the linear wave selector has the tuning knob in the middle. This radio has 5 scales including three spread bands of shortwave.The two loudspeakers provide an excellent musicality. And there is of course the inevitable magic eye. Here is the gold and brown version.
There is also a Russian version of this radio, known as Zveda Red Star, which you can see here.

Excelsior 55 : This beautiful radio, made by the French company S.N.R. (Société Nouvelle Radio-électrique)has a lizard-green lacquered metal cabinet. Its shape may evoke a lyre or the wings of a butterfly according to your imagination. A great classic of the fifties and a masterpiece of industrial design. It features 5 wave bands including two short waves bands. And of course the magic eye is not missing.
Close-up of the plastic logo of the base (often missing))

Oceanic SurcoufOcéanic Surcouf (1956) : Remarkable cabinet design. Wood + ivory, gold and translucent (back-lit) emerald green plastic., Encore plus beau en Even more remarkable at night !

Radiocapte (1955) : One of the most curious radios of the fifties. Almond green plastic cabinet. The base contains the chassis and the upper part houses the loudspeaker hidden behind a round panoramic dial, surrounded by the golden halo of the loop antenna. This futuristic design is one of the last remarkable creations of Radio Art. Have a look at the back.

Sony TR63 (Japan 1957) : One of the first shirt-pocket transistor radios made by Sony and claimed to be the smallest radio in the world. Early transistor radios were expensive and looked like items of jewellery. Thick plastic case, gold plated grille. Enamelled Sony logo. Real leather pouch. The circuit has 6 oval shaped transistors. The dial scale has 2 red triangular marks to indicate the 640 and 1240 Khz frequencies of Civilian Defence in case of a nuclear attack. Those marks were compulsory on all radios sold in the USA between 1953 and 1963. It is a good clue for dating transistor radios in particular.

Last updated january 11 th 2012
Copyright © 1997-2012 Jean-Luc Fradet