Storeroom Stories: Bendix Model 526MB

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 10.22.20 AMBy Nicholas Wiseman

This is not just any ordinary radio; this is the Bendix Model 526MB table radio meant for the modern consumer. This model was made after World War II had ended and all the GIs were making great use of the many benefits offered to the veterans. From buying a house in the suburb with a mortgage to buying a new car, vets and their families were intent on consumerism and spending their money. Almost all of the modern families during this time period had survived the Great Depression where they had little to no money to spend on frivolous items; now that there was what seemed like a surplus of spending money modern design was adapted into every aspect of life for the modern consumer.

This radio is made of sleek, modern Bakelite plastic and painted white with red dials to evoke a sense of futuristic space ship design. The Bendix logo on the front has a streamlined font that gives sense of speed pulling the logo forwards. This is mirrored by the words on either side of the “Bendix,” “Aviation Corporation.” Bendix was originally an engineering corporation that designed durable tires and brake pads for aircraft. Later the business moved into communication by securing contracts to make the two-way radios for the planes in World War II; this paved the way for the company’s successful radio division. After the War, Bendix moved into the civilian sector by continuing its radio production and even aiding NASA in creating radios that would span more than just a continent, but from the moon and back!

This radio and the company that made it played an integral role in the modern fashion of the late forties and early fifties as well as help to create the modern mass news sharing that we are accustomed to today. Without a cheaper alternative for the blossoming middle class to buy, it is possible that the spread of news across the internet, our smart phones and other modern radio devices would never have occurred.

Works Cited

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