Toshiba 6TR-188

Realistic Hi-Fiver

Harlie TR-10
.. and TR-659 transistors

Echo TRK-225

Royal Scot transistor

KOYO Parrot submin-tube

Star Lite mini-tube

Miniman Germanium

great cabinet plastic

Most transistor radio cabinets were made of a thermoplastic plastic such as ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), by far the most commonly used plastic for transistor radio cabinets. ABS is a polymer derivative of polystyrene, but it is much less brittle and so a much better choice for a radio cabinet.

Some transistor manufacturers chose other plastics for their cabinets -- Emerson used Cellulose Acetate Butyrate for its 555 "Nevabreak" radios and possibly for its 888 series as well -- a plastic very soft to the touch, so much so that many collectors in the '80s and '90s who cared about such things mistakenly assumed that the 888 series cabinets were nylon. And Zenith, of course, did use nylon for its Royal 500 series...

But then there are the odd few transistor radios, and toy germanium radios, and of course the Japan mini-tube radios, which had thermosetting plastic cabinets -- the same plastic as Bakelite or Catalin. And that's what this page is about. The plastic cabinets of these radios have a rich, hard sheen that can never be found on radios with thermoplastic ABS cabinets -- These babies truly shine!

2007 by Robert Davidson,

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