Early Start

   The Galvin Manufacturing Corporation was founded by Paul and Joseph Galvin at the beginning of an era of communications innovation. Pressures from the Great Depression encouraged the company to branch out from battery eliminators to building car radios, and the same spirit of innovation that kept them in business during that time fueled the production of the first cell phone.  These car radios also broke the barrier of portable radio technology, allowing for listening on the go.

   On September 25th, 1928, the Galvin brothers started their business in the Chicago area (Gilfoyle, N.D.), but the Great Depression soon struck with a decline in sales for the company. When they were struggling to stay afloat, they resorted to car radios, a rising industry at the time.

   “In May 1930, Galvin announced plans to drive his...automobile from Chicago, Illinois, to Atlantic City, New Jersey...a distance of about 850 miles ...He intended to demonstrate the new radio at the Radio Manufacturers Association Convention in June. With only one month left to complete a working model, the team worked day and night. A few days before Galvin departed, the crew successfully built a radio that received a clear signal with the car motor running. By squeezing some radio parts inside and others under the floor, the radio fit into the car. Although rough roads ...tested the radio to its limits, it withstood the journey” (Motorola Heritage, N.D.).

"If somebody bought a new car and decided to put in a car radio, they'd get a real shock. They saw us go in and rip out the brand new headlining in the car, drill holes into the floor for our batteries, and rig up a whole complicated electrical system with a network of wires" (Wavering, 1932). Galvin Mfg. Corp. employees traveled around the country installing radios (DPLA, 1929).

​​​​​​​Police wanted to replace payphones with one-way car radios as their method of communication, and the company obliged (Motorola Heritage, 1936).

The company's first product was the car radio. They called the brand “Motorola”, meaning “sound in motion” and utilizing the popular suffix "-ola" (N.A., 1994).

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