FUN FRIDAY: Detroit, high-tech capital of the US?

Detroit gets a bad rap. OK some of it’s deserved, but there are inner city problems in every city Detroit’s size, and Detroit’s been working hard to fix them, unlike San Bernardino CA, a city that entered into bankruptcy around the same time Detroit did and is still spiraling downhill.

The suburbs of Detroit are lovely, and one of them (Novi) is the home of Solid Signal’s corporate headquarters. I can’t say enough about the friendly people and the beautiful scenery, and just having Solid Signal there makes it one of the most tech-friendly cities in the region.

Looking back, though… I was pleased and surprised to find that Detroit’s history as a tech center dates back decades, and it’s not all about cars either. The ad you see above dates from April 1945, and it’s for the “Detrola Radio and Television Company.” This was a large manufacturer of radios before World War II and during the war its output was devoted to the war effort.

They made some beautiful radios like this one:

Which even if you don’t like old technology, it’s a pleasure to look at just as a piece of furniture.

Detrola (the suffix “-rola” was common for companies that made record players and radios back then) had big plans for the postwar years: they wantsed to make televisions, too. Unfortunately the company never did end up doing that, and the company went out of business in 1948.

The Detrola radios, though not highly sought after by collectors, are still out there and many still work. The name was recently used by Crosley, who makes new electronics that look like old electronics. Take a look at this Crosley Detrola, which just went into production this year.

Yes, this is something they’re making right now, but unfortunately it’s not available at Solid Signal. Despite our proud Detroit heritage, we’re more about cutting-edge tech than retro-looking tech.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.