J. C. Deagan, Inc., est. 1897

Museum Artifact: Deagan 4-Bar Dinner Chime Bells & Mallet, 1920s

Made By: J. C. Deagan Inc., 1770 W. Berteau Ave., Chicago, IL

“When you summon your guests to the dining room with a Deagan Dinner Chime, your invitation is carried to their ears by the sweetest musical sound in the world. At once compelling, yet entrancingly beautiful, it carries with it the spirit of hospitality,

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.

Permo Inc. / Fidelitone, est. 1929

Museum Artifacts: Fidelitone Master and Supreme Phonograph Needles and All-Groove Needle Counter Display, 1950s

Made By: Permo, Inc. / Fidelitone, Inc., 6415 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

Still in business today and headquartered just an hour north of Chicago in the small town of Wauconda, Illinois (Wauconda Forever!), Fidelitone Inc. is technically the same company that Arthur J. Olsen started way back in 1929,

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!”

Hammond Organ Company, est. 1928

Museum Artifact: Hammond Organ Generator Oil Can, 1960s

Made By: Hammond Organ Co., 4200 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago, IL

“Smaller than a piano, a midget in comparison with the vast pipe organs of traditional style, yet capable of 253 million different tones; this is the electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond of Chicago.” —Popular Mechanics, April 1936

It’s hard to say how a musical instrument capable of producing millions of different tones could simultaneously be “distinctive”

The Harmony Company, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Roy Smeck Soprano Ukulele, c. 1950s

Made By: The Harmony Company, 3633 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL

For about 80 years, Chicago’s Harmony Company consistently ranked among the largest producers of stringed instruments in the world. Unfortunately, when we’re talking about “the arts,” such a legacy of quantity can often presume a deficiency in quality—warranted or not.

Vee-Jay Records, est. 1953

Museum Artifact: “Introducing The Beatles” Vinyl LP, 1964

Made By: Vee-Jay Records, Inc., 1449 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

To a serious record collector, the copy of Introducing… The Beatles in our museum collection probably wouldn’t appear all that special. It is, after all, a non-mint example of the second and considerably more common version of the album,

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, 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.

Chess Producing Corp., est. 1947

Museum Artifact: Chicago Cubs “Pennant Fever” 7-inch Record, 1969

Made By: Chess Producing Corp., 320 E. 21st Street, Chicago, IL

Long before the Chicago Bears awkwardly rapped their way to a certified gold record with “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” the precedent for a singing sports team had already been set—albeit with substantially less commercial and cultural impact—by the baby bears over at Clark and Addison.

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.