Once upon a time, radios were magnificent handcrafted creations that stood regally in the corner of living rooms across the nation. The arrival of cheap plastic-cased transistor sets in the 1950s put an end to all of that, as mass-produced radios became affordable status symbols for youth around the globe. The glamor evaporated as we raced into The Gadget Age.
There are still a few holdouts, however. Tom Kipgen is a retired salesman who launched a second career as a creator of whimsical radio sets a few years ago. Each is a handmade masterpiece, and no two are quite alike. Best of all, they're reasonably priced.
The E.T. Crystal Radio is Tom's take on a curvy little green alien. In addition to an AM crystal receiver with a hand-wound coil, it incorporates a compact but powerful amplified speaker in its head. There's an on/off volume knob on the front panel, along with a headphone jack on the back. The tuner is a vintage 1937 FADA Radio mechanism that allows a full 360 degrees of motion. In exchange for a mere $245 earth dollars, E.T. could phone home from your house.