This Sony TR-63 was manufactured in Japan in 1957. It is a very popular radio that is coveted by collectors worldwide. It is thought to be the first consumer product released by Sony onto the American market and it was also Sony’s first pocket size transistor radio. According to the Milwaukee Journal, Sony had shipped about 25000 transistor radios to the USA by January 1958. Ref: The Milwaukee Journal January 23, 1958. 

The TR-63 was touted as the world’s smallest transistor radio at the time of its release and measures just 112mm x 71mm x 32mm. Sony marketed this radio as ‘pocketable’ however it was just slightly larger than the standard mans shirt pocket. In order to overcome this problem Sony founder Akio Morita devised a clever ruse; he had special shirts made for his salesmen with pockets just big enough to slip the TR-63 into. Hey now that’s lateral thinking!

The TR-63 was one of the last Sony radios to feature the old Sony logo. By 1958 Sony had stopped using this logo and moved onto the more familiar one we all recognize today.

The following advertisement for the TR-63 appeared in an August 22nd 1957 edition of Sydney newspaper 'The Age'. There is no mention of Sony or where the radio was made. The ad goes like this:





A truly personal portable radio to take with you wherever you go.

Many hours of excellent reception from a small dry cell.

Complete with earphone in addition to the loudspeaker in the radio.








In 1957 the Sony TR-63 sold for 13’800 yen which was equivalent to the average Japanese workers monthly salary. Even so it was still a huge sales success. There was around 100,000 made which is testament to its popularity at a time when the transistor radio industry was still in its infancy. Michael Brian Schiffer, author of ‘The Portable Radio in American Life’ wrote: "Sony was not first (with reference to the Regency TR-1) but its transistor radio was the most successful. The TR-63 of 1957 cracked open the U.S. market and launched the new industry of consumer microelectronics". Stirring stuff.

The TR-63 was offered in four different colors; red, green, yellow and black. Earliest versions say Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Ltd on the back and inside and later versions say Sony Corp. This example is one of the later versions.

At the time of its release ‘Sony’ was still a brand name of Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Ltd however the TR-63 was so popular in the USA that the company changed its name to Sony which I find rather astounding but understandable given that 'Sony' flows off the tongue and 'Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Ltd' does not. 









On the inside of the back cover is a beautifully preserved gold foil label. It kind of reminds me of the gold ticket that Charlie discovered inside Willy Wonkas chocolate bar. I’m sure I was just as excited as Charlie was when I unwrapped my TR-63!

SONY is stamped on the top of each gray transistor.