April 12, 2015


Warehouse find: Made in Japan: Transistor Radios of the 1950s and 1960s. It's fascinating to see how design often reflects a time period or trends in popular culture. That was the premise of this cool coffee table book published by Chronicle back in 1993. Transistor radios were not only cutting-edge gadgetry for young moderns, their aesthetics, like table-top radios in the 1930s and 1940s, were modeled to appeal to kids during the atomic, jet, and space ages. The book was designed by award-winning firm Erbe Design and has been long out-of-print and collectible. Bud's Art Books just found thirteen original copies in their warehouse and they can be picked up for only $11.95 each (copies may have slight damage to corners and covers). From their site: "Before the boom-box, the Walkman, or the compact disc player, there was the transistor radio. For many in the fifties and sixties, the transistor radio was an indispensable part of daily life--for catching a ball game, grooving to Top-40 tunes, or listening to late night radio under the covers after "lights-out." In order to attract the American consumer, Japanese designers borrowed motifs from automobiles, coffee shops, graphics, fine art, and other elements of American culture. Here is that story, plus a wonderful illustrated look at all the coolest designs. Here they trace m the history of the transistor radio from its American invention to its Japanese mass production and its subsequent stylistic developments. Made in Japan celebrates the pocket-sized radio as a popular cultural icon and as an art form in its own right; the "hipster" radio, for example mimicked the fashion style of the day, while radios with names like the Comet, Satellite, Skymaster, and Mercury reflected the burgeoning American obsession with space travel." 108 pages. Images below from Erbe Design. Enjoy! Don't miss Spy Vibe's recent post: Pussy Galore Calypso

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