I was happy when I found these photos of the Telefunken Match transistor radio in the archive on the Delft University of Technology website. When transistor radios first came out in the mid 1950s, they were considered a status symbol. The very first one, the Texas Instruments Regency TR-1, cost more than 350 dollars by today’s standards.

Telefunken Match II Transistor Radio 1963.

Telefunken Match Transistor Radio from 1963.

As often with technology, prices dropped fast. By 1963, when the Telefunken Match came out, transistor radios were widespread. People didn’t need much convincing that being able to listen to music and the news almost anywhere was a good thing.

Telefunken Radio, 1963

Telefunken Match Transistor Radio seen in use.

The Match was designed by Richard Sapper (born 1932) and is one of his lesser known creations. Sapper, who has more than fifteen of his designs in the permanent MoMA collection, doesn’t like to stick to what he knows. He constructed clocks, cars, car tires, lamps, TVs, coffee makers, furniture, telephones and many other things. He says that this approach allows him to transfer knowledge of material and technology from one industry to the next.

Telefunken Radio Made In Italy, 1963

The stamp of quality: Made In Italy.

Sapper also designed the original IBM ThinkPad laptop, making a drastic change to the company’s appearance. Apparently IBM managers were shocked when they found out that roughly one-third of the ThinkPad’s sales were due to its design, and not its technology.

Richard Sapper-designed Transistor Radio.

The Telefunken Match Transistor Radio was designed by Richard Sapper.

 In this interview, Sapper explains that he wants to create a close relation between the owner and the product – like a teddy bear to a baby. This he considers, other than supporting the function, is the most important purpose of design.

Leather case for Transistor Radio.

Transistor Radio leather case with perforated area for the speaker.

10 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2009 at 3:09 AM | Permalink

    My '8 transistor radio" wasn't as stylish and luxe as this unit, but I fondly remember having it pressed to my ear and hearing Jimi Hendrix "Purple Haze" for the first time (beaming out on AM radio no less!)- it was a new single, and my little 8 year old mind was blown. I recall at that very moment realizing that there's a much bigger, groovier world out there waiting for me.

  2. Posted January 23, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    I remember putting my transistor radio under my pillow at bedtime, so I could stay up late and listen to WABC or WINS here in New York. One night, I thought I was listening to WINS in New York, but it was WOWO from Ft. Wayne, Indiana. After that station came in so clearly late at night, I began listening on my transistor to see what else I could pick up from distant cities. I picked up rock from WLS in Chicago and WFAA in Dallas, the Country Jamboree from WWVA in Wheeling, WV and the Grand Ole Opry from WSM Memphis… all on my cheap little transistor radio.

  3. John Drigot
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    I just picked up this radio from a local Ebay seller. I saw one picture, read your article and fell in love. Will probably be the best $75 I spend in a long time. Does anyone know what type of headphone would plug into this radio? Now if only I can find its FM counterpart! Thanks for the great writing and I'll share some of my own with you – http://blog.neenan.com/?p=207

  4. jan
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    I have the radio as purchased new in 1967 from a Long Island camera store, where at age 15, I worked a summer job. Two radios remained in the store inventory as unsold stock and I bought them for $10.00 each.

    One I gave to my father and the other to my sister. My father kept it in a drawer for emergency use only, so I have it now on display in a glass case. Great to know that it is a Richard Sapper design. I had no idea until today.

  5. Sebastian Kaufmann
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    Hi Jan, Thanks, what a great story. It's so hard to find these transistor radios in good condition today. Best, S.

  6. themia
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    hi ;i'm looking for this radio ,do somebody can help me to find it please (Telefunken Match Transistor Radio 1963)

  7. Hilton Fitt-Peaster
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    I have a Telefunken Match II radio. What's it worth? Any buyers?

  8. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    I'm actually looking for a Telefunken Match radio that still works. Anyone seen one?

  9. jenn
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone kow if this telefunken is worth anything?

  10. Ignacio
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:48 AM | Permalink

    Yesterday I bought one of these in perfect condition in a flea market near Lisbon, Portugal.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

Click here to subscribe (via RSS) to the comments of this post.