1959 GE P-807A AM Transistor Radio – The Height of American Manufacturing


Category: AM Broadcast Receiver
Type: Transistor Radio
Model: P-807A
Country or Origen: United States
Manufacturer: General Electric Co. (GE); Utica, NY
Year Manufactured: 1959
Semiconductors: 5 Germanium Transistors
Tuning Range: 540-1600 kHz
Reception Type: Super-Heterodyne; IF 455 kHz; 2 AF stages
Power Source: Large 9 Volt (e.g. Eveready 266)
Loudspeaker: Permanent Magnet Dynamic Loudspeaker (moving coil) 3.5 inch
Case Material: ABS plastic
Dimensions (WHD): 7 x 4.5 x 2 inch / 178 x 114 x 51 mm
Notes:
This radio pictured above is the first model year for the P-80* series radios that would be in production for over eleven years. P-755A and P-80*A series had a metal grill, employed an output transformer & dynamic speaker, and had a number of other significant differences to the later models. Starting with the P-80*B model radios, these used a reed speaker and were in production for another 10 years with no changes in the exterior styling.   

* The second last numeric digit signifies the case color.
   The last alpha digit was the revision series starting with ‘A’ which was first introduced in 1959.

   P-755 A - Light Green, White grill**
   P-805 A - White (almond), White grill**
   P-806 A - Blue (teal blue), White grill**
   P-807 A - Black, Gold grill
   P-808 A - White (almond), Gold grill

** Grill has a design which was the random placement and direction of gray, brown, black, gold or silver short straight lines.


P-807A


A trademark of these radios,
the back has these tiny protruding rough dots set in a geometric pattern.

In 1959:

  • Alaska becomes the 49th state.
  • Hawaii becomes the 50th state.
  • New York City considers becoming the 51st state.
  • The first “Barbie” doll is mass-produced by Mattel.
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway opens, allowing ocean-going ships to reach the Midwest.
  • Castro comes to power in Cuba.
  • Khrushchev visits U.S.

In 1959 this radio sold for $19.95 . In today’s dollars this would be equivalent to $163.27. To give you an idea of just how much things cost in 1959:

  • The minimum wage $1.00 per hour
  • Gallon of gas 25˘
  • Loaf of bread 20˘
  • 1 lb. coffee 77˘
  • Postage stamp: 4˘
  • Gallon of milk: $1.01
  • Ford car: $2,132-$3,979
  • Average yearly income $5,016

So, this radio was a bit pricy.  There were more expensive radios. However, there were very few transistorized radios that were priced below $20.00


Instruction booklet that came with the P-755A below

The 1959 GE transistor radios described above had much more beefy components such as full-sized IF transformers, a dynamic permanent magnet voice coil speaker, an audio output transformer and they had fewer parts.  These radio did allow for an external speaker and low impedance headphones to be connected to it.

For the next year's models, GE did redesign these radios.  Back then in my most humble opinion as a repair tech in the mid to late 1960s, they, well, I felt they cheapened the radios but charged the same price.  Maybe, some retailers did drop the price by $1.00, and sold them for $18.99.


P-807A 1959

P-807G 1967

 

Comparison of the Audio Output Stages of the 1959 and 1960 GE P-80 Series Radios

P-807A 1959 P-807B 1960

I suppose I can now see why they used less expensive components in the later radios.  It was said they could sell this radio at a more competitive price.  After all, they sold this radio with the same cabinet style for over 11 years.  Also, the audio circuit and that stupid reed speaker does take less power which enabled those expensive large 9 volt batteries to last a bit longer.


The GE P-755A late 1959

The above radio in my collection works surprisingly well in tone and reception.  My home, like so many others, is inundated with RF interference from such sources as the WIFI, internet radio, the appliances, the outside air conditioner, and even various switch mode power supplies.  Along with several PCs with their embedded high-speed processors, they all combine to spew out RF noise.  This radio with its minimalist construction, antiquated IF transformers and over-sized components seems to filter out this noise.  Its reception rivals that of more modern radios. 

Steve E 2016