Crosley Radio Design
Crosley antique radio: auto stylingCollector's have often acknowledged the association between automotive styling and radio design. The one company that accentuated this art perhaps more succinctly than any other manufacturer, must surely be the Crosley Radio Corporation of Ohio, U.S.A.
Founded in 1921 by Powel Crosley (Snr), the company was set up following his discovery that radio sets of the day were too expensive for the ordinary worker's pocket. Having balked at paying $135 for a set to his son, Crosley determined and succeeded, to create a cheaper product which had a more effective circuit design, but built with better quality parts. Being a very talented engineer, Crosley survived the Great Depression, and went on to establish factories to produce refrigerators, and cars. Using the philosophy applied to his earlier endeavour, Crosley was determined to produce high quality goods at prices to suit all pockets. Unfortunately, the maxim which set him in good stead with radios was later to fail with cars, but it is his association with vehicles that set a standard in radio cabinet design in the early 1950's.
Those sets particulary influenced by automotive design, were the models affectionally referred to as the "Crosley Dashboards", although there were three different other models produced between 1950, and 1953 which also emphasised this style.
1950 heralded the first of the "Dashboard" marques, the model 10-135, which was a bakelite AM receiver, with a centrally positioned round chrome bezel, with a stylish tuning indicator in the centre. Even the tuning knobs resembled the wheels of cars! Later marques were identical, although they were spray painted in different colours over a plain black cabinet. Additionally, some models had a gold coloured dial, but these differences were purely cosmetic.
The second, and perhaps more interesting were the model D-25's of 1953. They had similar cabinets and styling, but had two dials instead of one, as these models incorporated a clock, and an extra power socket at the side. The clock also served as an alarm, with the power socket being particulary useful for the addition of a bedside lamp to use separately, or in conjunction with the alarm. This radio ideally suits the "Dashboard" sobriquet, and it is not hard to imagine being seated in the driver"s seat of a 1950's Crosley classic.
The other models which bore close similarity were the "bullseyes", models 11-103U (not pictured) and 11-118-U of 1951. The last being the E-15 series of 1953.
There were other Crosley sets which bore some resemblence to automotive styling, but the models covered in this article are more distinctive, and certainly very desirable sets to add to your collection.