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Citizen’s Band Radio

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Citizen’s Band Radio


This object appears in the following sections:

On the Interstate:  I-10, 1956–1990
On the Interstate: I-10, 1956–1990 — The Interstate Economy

Citizens Band Radio
Catalog #: 335258, Accession #: 316477
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Messenger III Citizens Radio Transceiver, manufactured by E. F. Johnson Company. This was the last Messenger III produced by the company. It was given to the Smithsonian by the company in 1972. From the Electricity Collection.
Physical Description

Artifact. Dimensions: Transceiver - 6.25" W x 9" D x 2.25" H; Microphone - 2.5" W x 1.75" D x 3" H. This citizens band radio is a compact size designed to mount below a dashboard. It has all transistor circuitry and operates on 12 channels. The transceiver has a black metal casing. User interface is preprinted dials on the face of the transceiver. The hand held microphone is encased in a plastic case with a push-to-talk bar.

Date Made:
about 1972
Gift of E. F. Johnson Company

Small two way radios were first used in World War II. The citizens' band (CB) radio was born out of the idea that there was a market for inexpensive two way radio service for private aircraft, boats and businesses. As businesses and individuals became licensed to use the frequency by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), they found that there were all types of people, including truckers, interested in using the frequency. CBs evolved into a mass market product in the 1970s during the oil crisis, independent trucker strikes, and it was popularized by TV, movies and song. CB jargon and the appeal of the independent image of truckers appealed to many motorists who purchased CBs On the highway, truckers use it to relay information on road emergencies, traffic conditions and to stay in touch with the "road community" or base units at truck stops or in the home.

Related People, Places, and Events
E. F. Johnson Company

Location of Manufacturer
Waseca, Minnesota

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