American Reflector & Lighting Co., est. 1885

Museum Artifact: Art-O-Lite Reflector Art Lamp, c. 1930s

Made By: American Reflector & Lighting Company, 100 South Jefferson St., Chicago, IL

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

Allied Radio Corp., est. 1928

Museum Artifact: Knight Radio Tube, c. 1940s

Made By: Allied Radio Corporation / Allied Electronics, 833 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL

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

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.

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.

Swedish-American Telephone Co., est. 1899

Museum Artifact: “Hercules” Telephone Box, c. 1908

Made By: Swedish-American Telephone Co., 5235 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

There aren’t a lot of Swedish things left in Chicago’s original Swedish neighborhood these days. In just the past few years, Andersonville has lost its beloved Swedish Bakery, along with Ann Sather’s restaurant, Erickson Jewelers, Erickson’s Deli (no relation), and even the old iconic neighborhood water tower—painted for decades in the blue and gold of the Motherland (a facsimile has since been installed).

Zenith Radio Corporation, est. 1918

Museum Artifact: Zenith Super-Triumph Tube Radio, 1951

Made By: Zenith Radio Corporation, 6001 W. Dickens Ave., Chicago, IL

“You’ve had your last tussle with howling radio static once you tune in this terrific performer,” raved an original advertisement for our museum artifact: a 1951 Zenith “Super Triumph” table radio. “Reaching far beyond the usual FM range, it brings you news, sports, music and market reports where AM and many FM sets are practically useless.

Chicago Electric MFG Co., est. 1902

Museum Artifact: Sterling Desk Fan, c. 1940

Made By: Chicago Electric MFG, Co., 6333 W. 65th Street., Chicago, IL

Some time in the early 1970s, the singer/songwriter Gram Parsons—pioneer of the genre later known as “alternative country”—was hanging out with his buddy Keith Richards, talking about song ideas.

“I’ve been writing about a guy that builds cars,” Parsons said—this according to Richards’ own account in his 2010 memoir,

Wm. Meyer Co., est. 1906

Museum Artifact: Eagle Speed Salon Hair Dryer, c. 1930

Made By: The Wm. Meyer Co., 1644 N. Honore Street, Chicago, IL

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

Motorola Inc., est. 1928

Museum Artifact: Motorola Volumatic AM Car Radio, 1956

Made By: Motorola Inc. / Galvin MFG Corp., 4545 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago, IL

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

Chicago Telephone Supply Co., est. 1896

Museum Artifact: Wood Wall Telephone, c. 1905

Made By: Chicago Telephone Supply Co., 28 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL. Relocated to Elkhart, IN, in 1902

In the August 1900 issue of everybody’s favorite McKinley-era trade publication, Telephone Magazine, the Chicago Telephone Supply Company is referred to as “one of the oldest of independent factories, manufacturing everything that enters into the production of Chicago telephones,

The Detect-O-Ray Company, est. 1940

Museum Artifact: Detect-O-Ray Photo-Electric Switch, 1940s

Made By: Detect-O-Ray Company, 2622 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL

Its name sounds like a comic-book doomsday device and it looks more than a little like an evil robot owl, but sadly, the Detect-O-Ray is neither one of those things. In fact, this intimidating technological marvel of the World War II era was briefly marketed—of all places—in the pages of the F.A.O.

Portable Tube Radio Model 5P31A by Motorola Inc., 1957

Motorola Inc. / Galvin MFG Corp., 4545 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago, IL

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

 

Archived Reader Comments:

“This radio is a Motorola Roto-tenna portable radio, Corsair model 5P31A, circa 1957.  The case is metal, covered in Grey Tweed Miracle Fabric; with maroon plastic trim.  The rotating handle, an exclusive Motorola design,

Western Fluorescent Light Co., est. 1950

Museum Artifacts: Chelsea Hotel “Fire Escape” Lighted Sign and Lighted “Exit” Sign, c. 1950s

Made By: Western Fluorescent Light Co., 3242-4 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL

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

Excel Projector Corp., est. 1933

Museum Artifact: Excel Film Projector, c. 1940s

Made By: Excel Projector Corp. / Excel Movie Products Inc., 4234 Drummond Place, Chicago, IL

From the late 1930s to the early 1950s—in that pop cultural gap between the height of the movie palace era and the birth of television—film projectors emerged as the first great visual medium for home entertainment. Along with the ever-present Kodak, several Chicago companies became key suppliers in this new home movie industry,

Sterling Electric Heater by Chicago Electric MFG Co., c. 1940s

Chicago Electric MFG, Co., 6333 W. 65th Street., Chicago, IL

This impressive looking mid-century coil space heater is one of two items in our collection made by the Chicago Electric Manufacturing Company. You can read the full epic tale of Chicago Electric and its most famous president, Errett Lobban Cord, on our page for the heat lamp’s summertime sister, the Sterling Desk Fan.

Read the Full Company History of the Chicago Electric MFG Co.