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125 Years of Radio: A Timeline From Tesla to Today

This exhibit explored the development and growth of radio, through a timeline of engaging facts, technological developments, and artefacts curated from the museum’s collection.

Adams Morgan Radio

This Adams Morgan RA-10 tuner and DA-2 amplifier were the best wireless systems available at the time and were used to transmit wavelength messages from the Atlantic seaboard to Scotland in the winter of 1922

Radio Aesthetics

Once radio had been successfully achieved, the next challenge was to make it disappear. Ornate decorations, clear materials, practical pedestals and pieces of furniture all became ways the affluent demanded that the electronics be concealed so as not to mar the look of their pristine living rooms.

Wartime Radio

With the advent of World War II, radio became the preferred source of news and information for the often confused and frightened public. Labeled the voices of the war effort, the first Radio Journalists kept people up to date with the progression of the war while entertainers worked to soothe public anxiety. Sturdy transmitting and receiving units were also used as communications devices between Commanders in the field and Governments at home.

Sparton Radio

The Sparton Model 558 radio features cobalt blue mirrored glass, black lacquered wood and chrome bands or “speed lines”. The mirrors on this deluxe model were etched to give the illusion of multiple layers of glass.


One of a series of 5 designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, it is considered to be one of the best examples of streamline Art Deco design

Plastic Radios

The development of plastic revolutionized the consumer radio industry. From plain Bakelite to marbled Catalin, the use of plastic gave designers a greater freedom of creativity in cabinet styling. The significantly reduced production costs of the plastic radios meant greater sales, as they were much less expensive than their wooden counterparts. Today, colourful, fanciful plastic radios are highly sought after by radio collectors.

Crystal Radios

In 1920, radio station KDKA in Pittsburg receives the first federal broadcasting licence, which encourages the building of crystal radio sets to listen to the programming.

QSL Cards

In 1922, QSL cards become a popular way of confirming transmissions between two amateur radio stations or operators

Panasonic Portables

Panasonic produces a line of portable radios in bold colours and funky designs marketed as “The Crazy Colour Portables. Even When They’re Off They’re On”

The Fleming Valve

Sir John Ambrose Fleming invents the two electrode vacuum diode, or oscillation valve, which is the first one to reliably detect radio waves

Novelty Radios

In a last ditch effort to keep the transistor radio alive, manufacturers target the younger generation by creating novelty radios based on popular kids TV shows

Plan your visit

Visitors are welcome to purchase admission tickets in-person upon arrival, or here on our website via the ‘Buy Tickets’ button below. Take a deep dive into the history of television. Enjoy browsing the world’s most comprehensive collection of television receivers. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday (2pm-5pm), Saturday (10am-6pm), and is closed Sunday & Monday.

Adults $10
Seniors and Students $5
Groups 10 + $5
Children 12 and under FREE
Buy Tickets
MZTV Museum of Television
  • 64 Jefferson Avenue
  • Toronto, Ontario M6K 1Y4
  • Phone: 416-599-7339
  • Email: [email protected]

Adults $10
Seniors and Students $5
Groups 10 + $5
Children 12 and under FREE
  • Tuesday - Friday: 2pm - 5pm
  • Saturday: 10am-6pm
  • Closed Sunday & Monday



© MZTV Museum of Television
MZTV is part of the ZoomerMedia Digital Network