We love reading (and dissecting) vintage (or would they be antique?) ads from our collection of 1940 Oregonian newspapers.

“See this utterly amazing new, exclusive Philco development! A Radio that you can strap on your shoulder, just like a candid camera!”

Flash 13

Wasn’t “Candid Camera” a television show? But, we digress. Wait, that’s what The Flashback is all about!

This super-stylish portable device, was “ready for immediate delivery” at Powers Furniture, 3rd and Yamhill, SW.

Digressing again – Powers Furniture is no longer in business. However, it’s founder (Ira F. Powers, Sr.) is still celebrated at two Portland locations.

A Park. And, the Ira F. Powers Warehouse and Factory.

Ira F. Powers

Ira F. Powers

The building where Powers Furniture sold these mind-blowing radios remains standing. In fact, the “Director Building” is on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, there’s a Chipotle on the first floor!

Tuning back into ingenious Shoulder-Strap radio advertising copy.

“It’s truly a tiny package of ‘Dynamite’ in performance.”


Even at $19.95 (50 cents a week!), the Philco Shoulder-Strap Radio apparently didn’t take the country by storm. Guessing the flexible aerial, cleverly hidden in the strap, wasn’t all that effective.

Obviously, AA batteries were not yet invented, so the Shoulder-Strap Radio was powered by a “self-contained, long-lasting power block.”

A what, you ask? Don’t worry, we’re right there with you.

If, for any reason, you’d like to find out more about Philco, there’s a website that pays homage to the now defunct company.

Or, you can watch a fascinating documentary on You Tube. It’s more than 30-minutes long, so if you click on, please make sure your “long-life power block” is fully charged.

Robert Parish

Robert Parish has more than three decades of experience as a writer, producer, director, editor, videographer and voiceover artist. During his career, Parish has won dozens of national awards for his scriptwriting and video production efforts.

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