Sony's Transistor Radio Kit
By James Grahame
Japan’s first miniature transistor radio, the TR-55, was introduced by Sony in mid-1955 at a price of 19,900 Yen ($55). It was available only in Japan and achieved modest success. However, Sony's second transistor radio was much more interesting - especially for DIYers.
The TR-2K radio kit was released a few weeks after the TR-55 at the bargain price of only 5,700 Yen ($16). They achieved the low cost by eliminating the internal speaker and amplifier and making buyers do all the assembly work themselves.
The company struggled for a couple of years until the international release of their TR-63 “Transistor Six” shirt-pocket radio in 1957. Instead of shoehorning in traditional components, the TR-63 was designed around all-new miniature devices. It was the smallest radio ever manufactured, selling over 100,000 units in four different colors. More importantly, it established Sony as a credible international brand.
I wonder if anyone still has an unbuilt TR-2K kit sitting around on a shelf? Assembling one could result in the best unboxing video ever.