March 1946 Radio-Craft
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
If you have seen many of the articles I post
from vintage electronics magazines, you know I often compare prices from the magazine's
era to today's prices. The online Inflation Calculator from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) is as good as any, so it is used. This RCA advertisement in a 1946
issue of Radio-Craft magazine boasts of how drastically the cost of vacuum
tubes has come down since 1923. It claims a $9 tube in 1923 costs a mere 80¢
in 1946; that is about 1/11th of the original price. Prior to around 1965, inflation
was very low, so the inflation-adjusted price for the $9.00 tube would be $9.80
in 1946 - a full 23 years later (a 9% increase, per the
BLS). Therefore, the 80¢ price is an even better deal. Let us compare that to
what a $9 item 23 years ago (1998) from today (2021) would cost now. Per the BLS
Inflation Calculator, it would take
$15.06 in 2021 to purchase what cost $9.00 in 1998 (a 67%
increase). That is probably a shocking statistic to someone not aware of how significant
inflation has been. Compared to $9 of buying power in 1965, it would take
$77.75 (an 764% increase) to buy the same amount today.
From 1946 to 1965 the price would only go from $9.00 to
$14.36 (a 60% increase). See the a historical plot
of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 1913 through 2021 above.
Today - A complete radio set for less than
half the cost of the tubes alone in 1923!
Today you can buy a six-tube table model radio for about $25. A little over twenty
years ago the six tubes alone cost $54 - nine dollars apiece.
Think of it - from $9 to 80¢. You can buy eleven of these more powerful, longer-lasting
radio tubes today for what you used to pay for only one!
This was brought about through RCA's combination of research, engineering skill,
manufacturing efficiency and our American philosophy of making something better
Such progress means far more than simply a saving of $8.20 on every radio tube.
It means that radio has been brought within the easy reach of practically everyone
in this country.
There are now fifty million more radios in America than there were twenty years
ago. Almost everyone depends upon broadcasting in some measure for entertainment,
Research and pioneering at RCA Laboratories contributed many of the scientific
advances that so greatly improved and extended the services of radio to the American
Radio Corporation of America, RCA Building, Radio City, New York 20, N. Y ....
Listen to The RCA Victor Show, Sundays, 4:30 P.M., Eastern Time, over the NBC Network.
The new 1946 RCA Victor Table Model (56X) costing about $25. With our civilian
production increasing; you can again look to RCA for the finest instruments of their
kind that science has yet achieved. The principle of making it better - for less
- applies to RCA Victor radios, television sets, Victrola radio-phonographs ...
every product bearing the RCA label.
Posted August 30, 2021