Handheld Radios

Handheld Radios

   After visiting Germany in 1936 and noticing the tensions there, Paul Galvin returned to the US anticipating a war soon (Steinbock, 2002). He urged his researchers to search for ways to apply radios for military use, basing specifications on police radios. Company engineers "recognized the strategic value of portable communications'' when they observed cars being abandoned during battle. This insight gave the company a head start on preparing technologies such as the Handie-Talkie (Motorola Heritage, N.D.). ​​​​​​​

   The U.S. Army Signal Corps was skeptical of the Handie-Talkie due to its poor range, but after demonstrations and an endorsement from Winston Churchill, they accepted the two-way radio (Petrakis, 1991). Galvin Mfg. Corp. also offered the Walkie-Talkie, their first FM radio that had more range.

(International Military Antiques, N.D., Modified by Sasha Dragoshanskiy)

 The Motorola logo, 1930-1955 (1000 Logos, N.D.).

Often confused, here are the Handie Talkie (N.A., circa 1940, Modified by Sasha Dragoshanskiy) on the left vs. the Walkie-Talkie (N.A., circa 1940, Modified by William Kim) on the right.

Similar billboards were found on every roadway, proudly tying Motorola's radios to the war effort. This was a tactic to associate the brand with victory (MUV, 1944).

The Handie-Talkie (SCR-536) was the main means of communication on the battlefield, giving an advantage to the U.S. Army during WWII, breaking the barrier of car-mounted radios and allowing for handheld, two-way communication (Olive-Drab, N.D.).

The Handie-Talkie became a symbol of the war because of the lives that it saved (Patrimonio, 2015, Modified by Sasha Dragoshanskiy).

   The company sold 45,000+ Handie-Talkies before the war ended and received five U.S. Navy "E" awards for excellence in production (Klemens, 2010). Even the famous special ops group, Carlson’s Raiders, purchased one hundred of them (Petrakis, 1991), refining the company’s reputation as a successful radio manufacturer.

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