National SW-54

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The National Radio Company, headquartered in Malden, Massachusetts, USA was incorporated, in 1914, as the "National Toy Company". Their expansion into home appliances led to the name change to the "National Company, Inc." The company moved in to the large scale manufacture of capacitors in the mid 1920s. It was at this time that two engineers, Fred H. Drake and Glen Browning, approached National to manufacture components to their specifications for a radio receiver of their own design. This led to the production and sale of the "National Regenaformer" kit for home construction. The set was capable of tuning the standard AM broadcast band only and could not receive shortwave. By the early 1930s National became well established with the amateur radio community based upon their line of regenerative receivers, including the SW-3 and SW-5.

The top-of-the-line HRO receiver was introduced in 1935. This radio included two RF amplifier stages and a crystal filter. The distinctive dial allowed KC (kHz) resetability and was a National trademark into the 1960s. This same basic design survived for over 20 years.

In 1939, National became a key supplier to the US and Allied governments when war broke out in Europe. The military ordered large numbers of receivers, particularly HRO's. When the United States entered the war some two years later, the word was, "Start building HROs; we'll tell you when to stop." Their number of employees went from approximately 200 to about 2500 during the war.

In the 1950s and 60s, National produced a wide range of amateur radio equipment. In 1965, National introduced the solid state HRO 500, which did not incorporate the famed HRO dial system, but instead featured a direct readout.

Into the 1980s, National survived as a government contractor and ceased development and production of civilian equipment. However, by 1991, amid continuing difficulties, the company ceased operation.

More information on National Radio Company:
Wikipedia reference on National Radio Company

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