A Brief History of Zenith Transistor Radios
As Told Through My Personal Collection

Zenith Transistor Radios Arrive!!

Zenith introduced its first transistor radio in November,1955. The radio was called the Zenith Royal 500. Although introduced almost a year after the Regency TR-1, the Zenith radio had several big advantages. First, Zenith engineers were able to evaluate the shortcomings of the TR-1; and second, they had the advantage of both audio specialists and electronic design engineers who had solid state experience from their hearing aid product line. Wisely, they chose to build a radio that worked well rather than trying to "copy-cat" earlier offerings. Also, they made the wise decision to use penlight cells rather than specialty batteries.

Here is valuable Zenith information from Ray Andrejasich, an engineer who joined the Zenith Radio Corporation transistor design unit in 1957. In a 1996 speech, Mr. Andrejasich discusses transistor design at Zenith in the early days with a focus on the Royal 1000 Transoceanic radio.

Dwight Poppy, who did major engineering work on the Zenith Royal 400, 500H, 810, 820, and 880 radios talks about his work at Zenith. Mr Poppy did the IF design work on the wonderful Royal 500H.

Please click on a date to view the radios in my collection and to learn about them. There are many models that I do not have. If anyone who would like to add to this radio library, please email a picture of your Zenith radio and I will add it to the collection, giving photo and ownership credit.


Model Years For Zenith Radios

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