Radio-Electronics Magazine, June 1949
The Radio Hat, posed by Hope Lange.
The radio hat shown on the June, 1949 cover of Radio-Electronics looks
a bit comical nowadays, but these words from the cover article are prophetic:
Communication, reception of news, time and weather reports, are a constant
necessity to people in this country. So is a light and portable receiver, such
as the Radio Hat, illustrated in these pages.
Sixty-one years later, the technology has advanced in ways not foreseen in 1949,
and our desire to be constantly "wired" is stronger than ever.
Unlike some what-if ideas that appeared in magazines, the radio hat made
it to market under the improbable name "Man From Mars Radio Hat."
It was widely sold via mail order and in stores throughout
the United States. The girl in the cover photo is "the"
Hope Lange. Then a 15-year old schoolgirl, she went on to a long acting career in
stage, screen, and television.
The article (naturally) paints a glowing picture of the radio hat's performance,
but in practice it must have been a bit trying to use. Using a minimal
two-tube circuit, it would have been limited to strong local stations.
With a directional antenna on your head,
reception would fade in and out as you turned in different directions.
It's interesting to compare this radio hat to one described in the
December 1936 issue of
Radio Craft magazine. Predating this one by 13 years, the 1936
set was more of a wearable radio. Its hat portion was an antenna,
while the radio and its batteries were strapped to the wearer's belt
or carried in a pocket. This radio was more self-contained: the receiver
and antenna we installed in the hat but the batteries were carried elsewhere
on the body.
A fair number of these radios were sold, and they can still be found with
a little looking. As with all novelty radios, their value is anybody's guess.
Some collectors might find them interesting as historical artifacts, while
other might dismiss them as silly.