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the Car Radio:
In the early days of radio,only
Morse code could be
transmitted through the airwaves.
In 1906 on Christmas Eve, Reginald Fessenden used
a synchronous rotary-spark transmitter for the first
radio program broadcast, from Ocean
Bluff-Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
Ships at sea heard a broadcast that included Fessenden
playing 'O Holy Night' on the violin and
reading scripture from the Bible.
This was, for all intents and purposes, the first transmission
of what is known today as Amplitude
Modulation or (AM radio).
In 1928, Paul Galvin and his brother Joseph
the Galvin Manufacturing Company in Chicago manufacturing
These electronic devices enabled battery-powered
home radios to operate on household electric
A radio parts company founded by William P. Lear, was
also located in the same factory building as Galvin
Lear technicians also were experimenting with radio
The markets for automobile and radio were growing rapidly.
Paul Galvin knew that consumer demand would continue
and thought that Galvin Manufacturing could develop an
affordable car radio.
By 1930, the first Commercial In-Car Radio called
the Motorola 5T71 was introduced.
The Galvins came up with the name “Motorola” from
a combination of the words “motor” and “Victrola.”
(Victrola was the early name for
machines that played records)
The Motorola radio became one of the world’s first
commercially successful car radios.
In 1933, electrical engineer and inventor Edwin Howard
Armstrong of New York, invented the Frequency Modulation
Frequency modulation (FM) improved the audio signal of radio
by controlling the static caused by electrical equipment and
By the late 1930's, push button AM radios were
In 1940, Edwin H. Armstrong demonstrated FM
in a long-distance relay network, via five stations in 5
Also in 1940, FM radio was assigned the 42 to 50 MHz
band of the spectrum.
There was interest in the new FM band by station owners.
In 1941, W47NV began operations in Nashville,
becoming the first modern commercial
FM radio station.
By 1946, 9 million cars had radios, and by 1963,
cars were outfitted with radios.
The AM radio remained the standard in America until
the early 1950's.
In 1952, the first Frequency Modulation (FM) In-Car
In 1955, Chrysler and Philco announced that they had
developed and produced the world’s first
all-transistor car radio.
Chrysler made the all-transistor car radio, Mopar model
914HR, available as a $150 option for the
1956 Chrysler and Imperial
Chrysler discontinued its all transistor car radio option at
the end of 1956, due to it being too expensive, and
it with a cheaper (hybrid) transistors and low voltage
vacuum tubes car radio for its new 1957 car models.
In 1956, Chrysler introduced the first (and only)
phonograph, named the "Highway Hi-Fi".
The phonograph was equipped with a miniature turntable
mounted on the bottom dash on the passenger’s side,
directly connected to the car’s electronic system.
Chrysler-made 7-inch records, with about 45 minutes of
music all under a special contract from Columbia
that could be played by flipping a switch which enabled the
turntable to slide out from under the dash.
However, Chrysler’s Highway Hi-Fi did not work very well
since the record skipped every time there was even the
slightest bump on the road.
In the early 1960's, Earl Muntz of Los Angeles,
a new system based on 4-track technology used in audio
recordings, called the "Stereo-Pak".
It was available mostly in California and Florida.
In 1964, the 8-track tape was created was created by
association led by Bill Lear, along with Motorola, Ampex,
Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and RCA Victor
Records (Radio Corporation of America).
In 1965, the Ford introduced factory-installed and
installed 8-track tape players as an option on three of its
1966 models: the Mustang, Thunderbird, and the
luxurious high-end Lincoln.
Eight-track players became less common in car in the late
1970's and early 1980's.
In 1962, the compact cassette arrived.
In 1964 Philips launched the Compact Cassette and in 1968
a dashboard car radio with a built in cassette player was
also introduced by Philips.
In 1982, Bose became first premium stereo system.
Bose and GM’s Delco teamed up to offer the stereo
It was marketed to Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac
In 1987, the first car with an original equipment
manufacturer (OEM) CD player was the Lincoln Town
Car, and the last new cars in America to be factory
equipped with a cassette deck in the dashboard
was the 2010 Lexus SC430, and the Ford Crown Victoria.
In the 2010's new ways to play music came into
competition with the CD and FM radio such as:
SiriusXM satellite radio.
Today's cars are equipped with features like Bluetooth
technology to connect your smartphone
wirelessly and stream music from apps such as
iTunes, Spotify or Pandora directly to the stereo.
And the automotive head unit
( also known as: deck, receiver, in-dash stereo or dash
became increasingly important as a housing for front
and backup dashcams, navis, and operating systems
with multiple functions, including USB ports
to charge devices, as well as play music from
a phone or USB flashdrive.