Motorola Model 51M1U Tube Portable (1951)

This unusual green-and-brass Motorola turns on automatically when you release its fliptop lid. With the oversized platter dials and chevron louvers, it looks a bit like an owl with a big-billed baseball cap. Note the brass-colored serpent logo inside the fliptop lid. You open the lid by sliding an identically-shaped catch on its other side.

This radio is surprisingly heavy for its size, and a peek inside explains why. Except for the lid and speaker louvers, the entire cabinet is steel. It operates either on AC or on a combination of three batteries (one 67.5-volt Eveready 467 and two 1.5-volt A's). The sticker inside the back cover is stamped April 27, 1951, several months before I was born.

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