Benjamin Electric MFG Co., est. 1901

Museum Artifact: Industrial Signal Horn Siren, 1920s

Made By: Benjamin Electric MFG Co., 120-128 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, IL and Des Plaines, IL

“The clear, powerful tones of Benjamin Signals are preventing lost calls, lost time, and costly interruptions the country over. To the farthermost corners of the greatest plants they shout the call for attention, finding the wanted man wherever he may be.

Hallicrafters Company, est. 1932

Museum Artifact: Hallicrafters Model 5R34A Continental Radio, 1952

Made By: Hallicrafters Company, 4401 W. Fifth Ave., Chicago, IL

“For radio equipment that won’t be satisfied with the limits of the pre-war world, for radio that will go places and do things hitherto undreamed of and uncharted—look to Hallicrafters, builders of the radio man’s radio.”—Hallicrafters magazine advertisement, 1944

William J.

Ampro Corporation, est. 1914

Museum Artifact: AMPRO Precision Projector, KS model, c. 1936

Made By: The Ampro Corporation., 2839-51 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL

“Everything that projection engineers could wish to achieve . . . everything that you movie-makers have felt should go into the ideal 16mm mechanism . . . everything you could possibly wish for, is combined in the AMPRO Precision Projector.” —advertisement in Movie Makers magazine,

S&C Electric Company, est. 1911

Museum Artifact: SM-4 Power Fuse Refill Unit, 1960s

Made By: S&C Electric Co., 6601 N. Ridge Blvd., Chicago, IL

In 2012, shortly after Chicago’s S&C Electric Company marked its 100th anniversary, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) awarded the business special recognition for one of the “milestone” achievements in electrical engineering history—the 1909 invention of the liquid power fuse. During a special dedication ceremony at S&C’s Rogers Park headquarters,

Admiral Corp., est. 1934

Museum Artifact: Admiral Deluxe Table Radio, 1955

Made by: Admiral Corp., 3800 West Cortland Street, Chicago, IL

“Here’s a radio you’ll get a tremendous thrill out of owning! So smart, with its golden-mesh metal grille and dial . . . so contrasting in choice of Ivory, Beige, Green or Mahogany cabinet colors. So low-priced for the performance it gives! This is the new radio you have been looking for!”

Bersted Manufacturing Co., est. 1924

Museum Artifact: Bersted Electric Toaster No. 74, c. 1932

Made By: Bersted MFG Co., 5201 W. 65th St., Chicago, IL

The toaster of the future! The toaster for all times! The apex of toasterdom!

Looking like a miniaturized attraction from the “Century of Progress” World’s Fair, this majestic creation by Chicago’s Bersted MFG Company was actually a bargain basement brand for its day;

Bell & Howell Co., est. 1907

Museum Artifacts: Bell & Howell 8mm Magazine Movie Camera 172 (c. 1950), Filmo Auto Load 16mm Movie Camera (1940s), and Filmosound 179 16mm Film Projector (1940s)

Made By: Bell & Howell Co., 1801 W. Larchmont Ave., Chicago, IL

“When you buy a roll of film, it is worth just what you pay for it, and no more. But, once it has gone through your camera,

Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Co., est. 1897

Museum Artifact: Kellogg Redbar 1000 Series Masterphone, 1952

Made By: Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Co., 6650 S. Cicero Ave., Chicago, IL

Widely promoted during the Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company’s 50th anniversary in 1947, the 1000 Series “Redbar” Masterphone—like the one in our collection—is a bit of a postwar icon. It might not have the rich oak exterior of an early box phone or the brass shimmer of an old candlestick model,

Electric Clock Corp. of America, est. 1930

Museum Artifact: Lincoln Electric Clock, c. 1932

Made By: Electric Clock Corp. of America, 500 S. Throop St., Chicago, IL

What’s in a name? I suppose a 20th century Shakespeare might have said that an electric clock, under any brand name, would still tell the same time. To Henry T. Schiff, however, the name was the thing.

In the mid 1930s,

Rock-Ola MFG Corp., est. 1927

Museum Artifact: Rock-Ola Hi-Fidelity 120 Wall Box, 1953

Made By: Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corp., 800 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL

It’s one of the quintessential brand names of American pop culture. Rock-Ola—a word that celebrates and encapsulates both the rock n’ roll explosion of the jukebox’s 1950s golden age and the historic roots of the classic “Victrola” talking machines.

Webster-Chicago Corp., est. 1914

Museum Artifact: Webster “Electronic Memory” Wire Recorder, Model 180-1, c. 1949

Made By: Webster-Chicago Corp., aka WebCor, 5622 W. Bloomingdale Ave., Chicago, IL

If you’ve ever heard your own voice on a recording and instantly recoiled at the sound, then you can attest to one of the quirkier phenomenons in the modern human experience: uncomfortable audible disembodiment. Sure, you might think you merely hate the reedy reality of your recorded words vs.

Shure Brothers, Inc., est. 1925

Museum Artifact: Shure 708A Stratoliner Crystal Microphone, c. 1941

Made By: Shure Brothers, Inc., 225 West Huron Street, Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

General Television & Radio Corp., est. 1932

Museum Artifact: General Tube Radio 19A5, c. 1947

Made By: General Television & Radio Corp., 2701 N. Lehmann Ct., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.