Color-coded user-serviceable radio, circa 1948

Color-coded user-serviceable radio, circa 1948

Boing Boing Gadgets points us to this fascinating piece from the January 1949 issue of PopSci for a consumer radio that sports color-coded components that can be easily swapped out by the user. A harbinger of the consumer electronics revolution to come. In fact, it was SO easy to repair that even “Mother Could Fix This Radio” (ouch).

Mother Could Fix This Radio (Jan, 1948) – [via] Link

6 thoughts on “Color-coded user-serviceable radio, circa 1948

  1. OldScot says:

    When TVs and Radios were made with tubes anyone could fix them. Look for the burnt out tube, the one that isn’t glowing. Remove the burnt tube or if in doubt, take all of them out. Take the tubes to the drug store, plug them into the tube tester, confirm the problem. Look up a suitable replacement model in the catalog. Buy the replacement. Return home and replace the tube(s).

    Yesterdays voltages weren’t consumer friendly but the technology certainly was.

  2. cmpalmer says:

    I wonder what device was the first to have the “No user servicable parts inside” sticker? Was it originally purely a personal safety liability issue, a “you’re going to break your gadget and expect us to fix it under warranty” issue, or was it related to intellectual property protection?

  3. Grier says:

    @cmpalmer: I would bet you one kajillion dollars it was a liability issue.

    After all, the circuits involved in the making of things like radios and TVs and amplifiers are usually pretty well known and can’t be copyrighted anyway — so what’s the point of protecting something everybody knows about?

    Plus, the language on those warning stickers has the greasy stench of legalese all over it.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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