Proposed 'Rogertone' transistor radio designs made as a gag by Eric Wrobbel in the early 1990s:

Dream radio designs just for fun

As an artist, I’ve been most unkindly accused on occasion of being “stuck in the past.” This strange and unprovoked criticism mystified me for a long time. I realize now that these comments are a natural reaction from those who are adherents to, and heavily invested in, the cult of the new— those who believe that everything new is better than everything old. As for me, what I actually do is walk a middle path, eager to embrace the new when superior, satisfied to be faithful to the old when unsurpassed. What you see here will give comfort to my critics but who cares about them?

I am a collector of stylish and interesting things. Some of the very most stylish things are transistor radios made in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Early on in my collecting days, hardly anyone who saw them appreciated the radios I’d accumulated. So I was pleased to come across another collector of these radios in the late 1980s, Roger Handy, and we became friends. A few years later, as a gag, I sent him a phony letter dated 1960 from a made-up Japanese manufacturer. The letter was in the form of a response—as if Roger was an importer and had ordered a quantity of radios with the immodest name of “Rogertone.” The letter asked him to choose his preferred design from the four “dream radio” drawings you see here.

What: Design

For: a joke

Client: self

When: early 1990s

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