100 objects

Zenith radio

“If you had a friend who was a King, what kind of gift would you give him? Well there are many prominent people who have been thrilled to receive this…” This was an ad for Zenith TransOceanic radios in the 1950s. Zenith also claimed, “The list of the owners of Zenith Portables reads like a ‘Who’s Who in the World.’” But it was soldiers, not the “Who’s Who,” that made the radios famous by carrying them into war. Soldiers throughout the country brought their radios with them when they were called to duty during World War II and the Korean War. Zenith radios connected soldiers to their homes back in the United States. No matter where they went in the world, they could take a piece of home with them. There are accounts of Zenith radios, like the one pictured, being carried on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day.

These radios also became a way for families in the states to stay informed of the happenings of the war. They helped families to feel closer to their loved ones fighting overseas. This radio was donated to the Washington County Historical Society by Clinton Griffith in 2006. It was used by Griffith’s grandfather to obtain news of troop movements and battles during the Korean War.

Clay Kilgore is executive director of the Washington County Historical Society.

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