Little Radio Mike (1930s)


This Little Radio Mike from the 1930s allowed you to talk through your radio, using it as an amplifier. Novelty microphones of this type were sold for a dollar or two via mail order. Here are some typical ads from 1932-1933.


My Little Radio Mike has a two-wire cable and a button that you press to talk. The words LITTLE RADIO MIKE CHICAGO are stamped on the rear. Looking closely at the cable, you can see a short metal strip with two holes.


As the ads explained, no soldering or wire cutting was needed to install the mike. You would simply unplug the radio's detector tube, slip the mike's wires over two of the tube pins, and then reinsert the tube. Pressing the button on the microphone would substitute its output for the radio's receiving section and thus amplify your voice.

I don't see any patent marking on this mike, but a similar idea was recorded in US Patent 1,790,636 from 1931. The patent describes more elaborate setups, with an adapter plug for the tube and the use of a phonograph turntable as well as a microphone. The same basic concept applies, however.

These mikes were widely sold and they are usually found in good condition today. As with many novelty items, they were probably used once or twice for a joke and then tossed into a drawer.

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