All About Zenith Radios

Ah, radios: the prime living room entertainment for much of the 20th century. Families sat around the radio and listened to shows like Sherlock Holmes or important speeches about current events. Before television became common, having a quality radio to put in the living room was pretty much required.

One popular (and stylish) radio model was the Zenith Radio. The Zenith was a wooden radio that looks stylish even today, in a retro way.

The Zenith has its beginnings in the year 1918, when co-founders Karl Hassel and Ralph H.G. Mathews dreamed up their company, Chicago Radio Laboratory. They created hand-engraved radios made of Bakelite and ran their radio station called 9ZN. One of their employees suggested adding “ith” to the end of the station’s name — and “9ZNith” turned into “Z-Nith”.

From Joe Haupt, CC 2.0

From Joe Haupt, CC 2.0

The Chicago Radio Laboratory grew quickly. It moved into a large, 3,000-foot factory in 1921, just three years after its formation.

The company formed the first portable radio! Zenith also contributed to forming FM stations.  The company continued to give innovation to the radio world, and they did so with style and class. The sleek design of Zenith radios made them very popular among consumers. Radio collectors value Zeniths for their solid wooden designs with sleek details.

Here is a comprehensive list of Zenith radio models.

Do you own any Zenith radios?

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