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Credit card radio

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1985 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sony Corporation (designer)
    Sony Corporation (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plastic case

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sony (UK) Ltd

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case 6

This credit-card-sized radio represents an important stage in Sony's development of miniaturised audio equipment. Its predecessors included the first pocket radio, the TR-63, developed in 1957, and the Walkman, introduced in 1979.

The electronics are all incorporated into one chip, which takes up only a fraction of the space inside the plastic casing. Most of the space is devoted to batteries and to the component that controls the tuning, called a capacitor. The capacitor was itself replaced by an even smaller tuning component, a tiny diode, in later models. The small size of all the components allowed the designer great freedom to choose the shape of the final product, making it resemble another familiar product: a credit card.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


ca. 1985 (made)


Sony Corporation (designer)
Sony Corporation (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Plastic case


Height: 8.5 cm, Width: 5.3 cm, Depth: 0.4 cm

Historical context note

This represents a further stage in Sony's development of compact audio goods, leading on from the first pocket radio TR-63 (1957) and the Walkman (1979, see W.12-1992)

Descriptive line

Credit Card ICR 501; Japanese, 1985, des. and man. Sony

Labels and date

Designed and made by the Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, about 1985
Plastic case
Given by Sony (UK) Ltd.

The 'micro' nature of recent technology allows designers great freedom in their choice of appearance for technological products. Sometimes, as here, this freedom has been used to make one product look like another.

[20th century gallery] []




Audio equipment; Entertainment & Leisure; Product design; Plastic; Personal accessories


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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