Whether it is going for a stroll on a random night, or a spontaneous road trip with your best friends, music is always a necessity for any fun journey. Blaring music in your car can be therapeutic, create a forever lasting memory, or simply just make life that much more fun. It can be very difficult to ever imagine any sort of car trip without music - but believe it or not - the radio was not always equipped to automobiles. In fact, radios would be around for nearly 20 years before the process of integrating them into vehicles would begin.
History of the Radio
On Christmas Eve of 1906, the first radio would make its way onto the scene with Reginald Aubrey Fesseden producing the first ever public voice broadcast. Of course initial integrations of the radio had very limited functionality but this entertainment would spark the beginning of the evolution of the radio as we know it today. Over the next few years the radio would begin to evolve and innovators found themselves interested in trying to create a usable radio in a vehicle. In 1922, Chevrolet would release its car radio at a whopping price of $200. The radio would prove to have much more inconveniences than it did enjoyment for the customer. Different companies would adjust their radios based on the short comings of Chevrolet and by 1930, Galvin Manufacturing would introduce the now well-known brand name “Motorola” - the first affordable, commercially successful car radio. The introduction of this technology to the public would provide a springboard for Motorola to grow into the huge company it is today.
The Struggles Addressed in the First Installations of the Car Radio
As mentioned before, different companies tried integrating radios within a car but could not completely construct a successful radio installation. A variety of complications presented throughout the process of incorporating this mobile technology. Creating a successful installation into a car wasn’t going to be as simple as just placing the radio in and powering it. Engineers had to develop a way to power the radio, store the radio, and produce a static free sound that made the listening experience enjoyable.
Connecting the electronics to the already complex electrical system within a vehicle created a lot of static due to the electrical. By eliminating and integrating certain electrical circuits the sound became clearer and much more enjoyable. A separate battery system was initially put into place in order power the radio by itself. After powering the radio, its components were broken up into in order to conveniently fit the radio within the car. By breaking up the radio into separate parts, the radio was much easier to place into side panels and the dashboard of the vehicle.
Once the radio was successfully integrated into the car, one last problem remained. There was a concern with maintaining a strong enough connection between the radio and different broadcasting signals in a mobile environment. The radio reception in a moving car was very different compared to a standstill radio plugged in at home. Due to the inconsistency of signal from the car going in and out of broadcast signal range, a bigger antenna was developed and installed in order to successfully maintain signals.
The Progression of the Car Radio
From struggles to maintain AM signals to wireless Bluetooth connectivity, the car radio today shows it’s come a long way from the initial Motorola prototypes. From the 1930s to around the 1980s, AM radio was the preferred broadcasting signal for the general public, mostly because it had become an industry standard. It wasn’t until the very late 1970s that the industry began the transition to FM signals, which had been around for decades already. Between all of this, the 1960s brought along the 8-track which was a repeated loop of magnetic tape that produced its name; 8 tracks. This allowed listeners to control their own preference of music and would eventually lead to the invention of the cassette player. The cassette player retained a lot of its hype for many years but would eventually be phased out in favor of the CD players in the 80s. )Add some more context about where we’re at currently(
Current Day CapabilitiesAs we look back at the history of the car radio over the past century, innovation shows to have played a huge role in our technological advancement. The nostalgia remains between generations, and different inventions from decade to decade remain appreciated. With the capabilities and knowledge we have today to restore vehicles and radios, it allows us to combine generational value with our technologically advanced product value as well.