Neither Barbra Streisand nor Liza Minelli made an appearance at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Los Angeles, but Crosley Radio, itself iconic and which brought radio to the masses, was very much alive and kicking at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Founded by Powel Crosley ("The Henry Ford of Radio") in 1920, Crosley Radio grew into one of the most successful electronics manufacturers of the early 20th century. The Crosley inexpensive tuners, once a staple in American homes (including yours truly), have become highly- collectible classics sought after by collectors and Crosley fans worldwide, and they define the "retro" aesthetic we think of when we imagine a Crosley radio.
The original Crosley brand died in 1956. Fast forward to 1989, when a savvy group of investors perceived the Crosley name's value and began to develop a striking line of modern audio equipment, radios to jukeboxes which wrap Crosley's traditional good looks around the latest technology. Wood cabinets and thick fabric grilles are paired with old-fashioned knobs and dials, all fully functional in tandem with integrated iPod docks and hidden CD players. The look may be 1940, but sound quality is very 2013.
We all love to see elements of Americana evolve like this, even if there's little connection to their origins besides a name and logo and design sensibility. Sure it's contrived, but hey, if Hollywood can reinvent itself over the years, why shouldn't Crosley, the brand that brought entertainment and transportation to the masses, do the same?