Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Technology History - Radio Shack

On this day in 1921, brothers Theodore and Milton Deutschmann opened a one-store retail and mail order operation in downtown Boston. They chose the name Radio Shack, which is a term for the small, wooden structure that houses a ship's radio equipment. The Deutschmanns thought the name was appropriate for a store that would supply the needs of radio officers aboard ships, as well as ham radio operators.
The company issued its first catalog in the early 1940s and then entered the high-fidelity music market. In 1954, Radio Shack began selling its own private-label products under the brand name Realist, but was subsequently sued and consequently changed the brand name to Realistic. After expanding to nine stores plus an extensive mail-order business, the company fell on hard times in the 1960s.
Radio Shack was essentially bankrupt, but Charles Tandy saw the potential of Radio Shack and retail consumer electronics when hardly anyone else did and bought the company for $300,000. It was renamed Tandy Radio Shack. During the 1960s and 1970s, Radio Shack marketed its free battery card; a wallet-sized cardboard card, free, which entitled the bearer to free batteries when presented at one of their stores. The bearer was limited to one a month, although many customers would frequent several stores with several cards every month. These cards also served as generic business cards for the salespeople in the 1980s; the "battery club" card was still used until the company-wide changes in the early 1990s.
Its slogan since 1994 has been "You've got questions, we've got answers."

Some source info: Wikipedia.org