1923 Operadio-2


1923 Operadio-2

Combining a tuner, a tube detector, a tube amplifier, a horn loudspeaker, a loop antenna and a battery box, the Operadio-2 was the world’s first truly portable, completely self-contained radio, needing nothing other than a surface on which to play it.

The Operadio-2 used six UV-99 tubes, whose filaments could be powered with four (relatively) light weight “A” batteries, (tucked into a compartment beneath the control panel) and its loop antenna was sandwiched between the exterior layers of the cabinet’s front cover. The horn speaker’s driver and neck were hidden behind the battery array, and the speaker’s bell projected sound from the lower left corner.

When closed, the Operadio-2 looked like a briefcase, its appearance belying the fact that approximately 50 pounds of batteries and electronics were concealed inside.

It was a novel design and a novel idea, but its cost (almost $200 in 1923, the equivalent of about $4,000 today) rendered it out of reach to all but the most affluent consumer.

Condition of this example is excellent throughout, and the radio is completely original, with no restoration and no repairs. The textured leatherette covering on the cabinetry is fully intact, with no peeling or significant wear. The original handle is cracked but still capable of supporting the weight of the radio. The chassis is pristine (original wiring, original RF transformers, original AF transformers) and the the battery compartment is clean, with no staining or other damage. The original battery wires are still in place, and the original wiring instructions are still largely intact inside the battery compartment’s cover.

This Operadio-2 includes six display tubes (open filaments) and a rare pair of PM Dreyfuss headphones (open drivers).  The radio is being offered for historical purposes only, with no assurances stated or implied that it’s suitable for contemporary broadcast reception.


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