See the old-fashioned clock radios that used to be on almost every bedside table

See some old-fashioned clock radios that used to be so popular

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Years ago, old-fashioned clock radios like these were on pretty much every bedside table around America, lulling us to sleep at night with music and radio shows, and then getting us up for work in the morning.

Take a look back at what they used to look like (and how big they are compared to today’s smartphone equivalents).

Start your day with a song! (1951)

Enjoy a clock radio… timed by Telechron.

Grand back-to-school gift… and inexpensive, too! Ideal for her room… or his. A clock radio timed by a Telechron timer is fun to own. It even turns on your favorite radio programs automatically!

Vintage Telechron clock radio from 1951

The Zenith Super-Deluxe clock radio (1952)

The clock radio with the almost-human mind — a triumph of Zenith quality with “Big Set” tone.

Want to wake to richer-toned music? Zenith has put new refinements in this new Super-Deluxe set, for your added pleasure. It even has a Broad Range Tone Control, like big sets, for clearer trebles and richer basses.

Like hot coffee while dressing? Just plug in your coffee-maker the night before, and your Zenith will start it going when the music comes on. Ah, luxury!

Turns on TV programs, too, automatically — or reminds you of appointments.

See your Zenith dealer for a demonstration of all the magic things this set will do for you, all over the house!

ALSO SEE: 48 retro wall clocks in traditional & modern designs from the 1950s, 1960s & 1970s

Old-fashioned Zenith clock radio from 1952

New Sylvania NightLighter radio clock with Panelescent light (1955)

Here’s a new kind of radio-clock that works for you in the dark of the night! Not only does the Sylvania NightLighter go on and off automatically, it also provides a soft, comforting glow of light all night long!

Panelesgent light uses no bulbs, tubes or filaments — operates on practically no current. This newest kind of light is a luminous sheet of glass which provides the entire face of the radio with light soft as moonglow — even when the radio is not playing!

And only Sylvania’s NightLighter gives you this night light, so comforting to infants, such it help for early risers, so useful in hallway, den, kitchen and bedroom!

The new NightLighter has more features than any other radio-clock. Lulls you to sleep, turns itself off. Wakes you up… switches on lamps, starts coffee, turns on TV.

And, of course, it provides you with powerful, long-range radio and an accurate Telechron clock. Be sure to see the Sylvania NightLighter at your Sylvania dealer’s. It’s the newest in radio-clocks!

Vintage clock radios from 1955 - Sylvania NightLighter

ALSO SEE: Vintage ’50s master bedroom decor: See 50+ examples of retro home style

RCA Victor clock-radios (1955)

No other clock-radios offer so much… sound so good! They’re by RCA Victor

What makes the RCA Victor clock-radios so special? Just look! There’s a model that lulls you to sleep on one station, turns itself off, wakes you to another station.

There’s a set with a built-in automatic calendar. Some models even control appliances. (Of course, all RCA Victor clock-radios coax you out of bed.)

1955 rca victor clocks

Noted doctor proves G-E clock-radio wakes you soothingly… (1950s)

… but alarms wake you with SHOCK!

Jangling alarms wake you with a sudden frightening start, but music from a General Electric Clock-Radio wakes you up soothingly. These are the findings of eminent medical scientist, Dr. Frederic Damrau, reported after an elaborate series of wake-up tests on men and women of various ages.

Coast to coast, users know from actual experience the truth of Dr Damrau’s conclusions. The G-E Clock-Radio not only wakes them up on time — but actually improves their disposition all day long!

It’s a clock, it’s a radio, it’s an electronic reminder — all in one, see it at your General Electric radio dealer’s today!

Vintage General Electric clock radio from the 1950s

New G.E Push Button clock radio with Snooz-Alarm (1959)

New easy-to-set push-button controls. Snooz-Alarm touch bar — a tap on the bar turns Snooz-Alarm off for about ten minutes then buzzer sounds again. Calls you as many as five times.

Lulls you to sleep, turns itself off. Wakes you to music or buzzer. Turns appliances on and off. Fully molded cabinet — for good looks from any angle. Choice of colors.

Push-button clock radio with alarm from 1959

Telechron Timers (1956)

Wake to the music of the stars with a clock-radio

Start your day the modern, melodious way! Open your eyes to the music of America’s greatest recording stars… enjoy the luxury of lying in bed for an extra forty weeks, soothed by the soft strains of music you love.

Set the clock-radios as you would an alarm clock. It wakes you by turning on the radio… buzzes you ten minutes later.

Musical artists shown: Eddie Fisher, Jaye P Morgan, Julius La Rosa, Eddy Arnold, Hugo Winterhalter, Billy Eckstine, Tony Martin, June Valli, Vaughn Monroe

MORE: Old CBS Radio shows from the 1950s & 1960s had news, comedy, sports, serials and more

Vintage alarm clocks - Techron Timers from 1956

More old-fashioned clock radios that used to be popular

Old-fashioned clock radios from 1963 (2)

Old-fashioned clock radios from 1963 (1)

RCA Victor clock radios (1960)

Featuring the Formflair, Dreamflair, Trimflair, and the Tribune!

Old-fashioned clock radios from 1960

Retro clock radios from 1960

Put your hand over this clock radio & see how tiny it actually is. (1965)

Now put your hand on your night table — and see how little room this General Electric clock radio actually takes.

That’s why this new model C551 makes such a good Christmas gift. Ladies like the way it subtracts clutter from the bedside table — and adds a stylish accent.

Men admire this — plus the C551’s practical side: its lighted clockface. The pillow speaker jack. The wake-to-music or buzzer feature. The Snooz-Alarm you tap which allows you another 40 winks.

So… put it on your night table in place of your bulky old-timer. Or put it on your desk. And, by all means, put it at the top of your gift list. It costs under $35.*

In fact, why not do all your shopping at your General Electric radio dealer’s?

ALSO SEE: Did married couples really sleep in separate beds back in the ’50s?

General Electric clock radio 1965

Clock radios you could buy via the Sears or JC Penney catalog (1967)

Solid-state AM Clock Radio: Built with the new integrated circuit technology… a new high in radio quality and reliability.

Integrated circuit — what ix it? It’s a tiny electronic “package” about the size of your fingertip, which contains the equivalent of many parts that used to be separate and take up lots of space. It’s far more reliable than a conventional circuit with individual parts.

Vintage clock radios from 1967 (1)

Tube-Type AM clock radio

Powered by 4 tubes and rectifier. Clock features automatic turn-on and shut-off plus buzzer and “repeat” button for extra naps. Big front-mounted 4-inch speaker gives excellent tone quality… Built-in antenna draws in signals.

Sears Finest Instant-Sound FM/AM clock radio

Does more for you automatically than any other clock radio we sell.

  1. Lulls you to sleep with up to 1 hour’s listening… then shuts itself off.
  2. Wakes you gently first with music, then sounds alarm 10 minutes later.
  3. Gives you up to 5 extra naps at the tap of a switch. Each nap 7 minutes long.
  4. Turns on coffee and lights. Handy 1100- watt socket in back of radio.
  5. Wakes you up to 1 hour earlier or later than usual without resetting the alarm… just tap the front-mounted switch.

Vintage clock radios from 1967 (2)

The most beautiful time in your life (1969)
Four timely clock-radios by Sharp. Their beauty is more than skin deep. They perform the way they look. Magnificently!

This is the new Sharp clock-radio that tells time by the numbers instead of by hands! Encased in rich, glowing walnut grain. With every quality feature — even an earphone for intimate listening. The digital clock is truly precise — and includes a sleep switch and illuminated clock dial.

An elegant FM/AM, contemporary styled clock-radio, enhanced by fine walnut grain. With full-fidelity performance that only a dynamic 4-3/8- by 4-1/4-inch speaker and Sharp solid-state engineering can provide.

DON’T MISS: Vintage portable radios from the ’50s to the ’80s

The full-feature Telechron clock has a lighted dial, snooze alarm, touch bar, sleep switch and sweep second hand. Earphone, too? Of course!

An easy-to-read, wide open face… yet it takes so little space. You’ll count on it day and night for fine reception. Sleep, knowing you’ll be comfortably awake on time. The full-functioning Telechron clock has luminous hands and sweep hand for night-time checking.

This compact, fold-away alarm clock-radio is your Sharp traveling companion. Gently, it will lull you to sleep with music, then cheerfully awaken you on time.

The clock is fully functional with sleep switch, luminous dial and luminous clock hands. The radio is solid-state and operates on batteries — included. The stunning black and gold case is impact proof.

When it comes to clock-radios, Sharp has the gift!

Vintage Sharp clock radios from 1969

NOW SEE THIS: Vintage alarm clocks: We woke up to these in the ’60s & ’70s

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. In the 70s I got a clock radio for my birthday; I was in middle school, and I had it through most of college until it finally shorted out. It was a digital “flip clock” from Sears (of course), and I thought that having a clock radio was incredibly sophisticated and grown-up. One thing that struck me about this article was how expensive many of the models were in the 1950s and 60s. The GE clock radio in the ad above retailed for $35 in 1965; in today’s dollars, that would be nearly $350! Today you can buy a clock radio for about $25-30 in 2024 dollars.

    1. The costs shocked me too. My smartphone cost just $189!

      I also got my first “digital” flip-clock in the 70s when I was in junior high school. It made me feel like an adult with control over my own life. But in later years, those darned clocks controlled me, lol!

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