History of Motorola – Celebrating Over 90 Years of Success

History of Motorola – Celebrating Over 90 Years of Success

Born in 1928, Motorola has been innovating the latest devices in communications and electronics for over 90 years. In the 1930s, Motorola was the first to invent car radios and public safety networks. Thereafter, in 1969, they pioneered the equipment that allowed astronauts to communicate from the moon.  They did it again in 1983, inventing the first handheld cellular phone and system.

Innovation remains a key focus at the Motorola company, hence why their two-way radios remain an important accessory in many industries.

The Origins of Motorola

Motorola was founded on September 25, 1928 by two brothers, Joseph and Paul Gavin. They called themselves the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation and were established in Chicago, Illinois.

During their first year as a corporation, they released their first product – a battery eliminator. It was a power converter that gave battery-powered radios the ‘power’ to operate using household electricity. The first customer to land in their laps was Sears, Roebuck and Co., who purchased a bunch of the battery eliminators and sold them to their customers.

Shortly after their debut as a company, the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation produced the very first Motorola radio that was intended to be used in cars. Hence, the name – motor-ola; motor meaning car, and ola meaning sound. The name also translates to ‘sound in motion.’ In time, it was this name, ‘Motorola’ that would stick with the brand and make it a household name. 

Milestones Throughout Motorola’s History

In 1930, Motorola car radios began appearing in police departments and municipalities, turning into a radio provider for first responders.

That same year, they also went global, making their first sale outside of the US to W. Oldenburger in Mexico City, who purchased two of their Motorola car radios.

6 years later, in 1936, the company created the Motorola Police Cruiser radio receiver, a tough and durable one-way car radio that allowed officers out on the road to tune into police broadcasts. To this day, the company continues to produce radios for public safety use.

In 1937, Motorola entered the home entertainment business when they created a line of Motorola phonographs and home radios.

In 1938, the company launched their first major advertising campaign that included print media, billboards, and road signs.

In 1939, the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation created a line of affordable Motorola AM two-way radio equipment – this included the T6920 mobile transmitter. The goal was to make this technology more readily available to public safety agencies in order to improve communication and the overall safety and service they offered their communities.

By 1940 the world was introduced to the first Handie-Talkie SCR536 AM portable two-way radio. This became an icon of World War II.

In 1941, the police force working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania became the first to have cars outfitted with Motorola FM equipment.

By 1943, they had created the world’s first FM portable two-way radio. It weighed a whopping 35 pounds and could communicate across 10 to 20 miles.

In October 1944, the Yellow Cab Co. adopted two-way radios in their vehicles across the US.

In 1947, the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation officially changed their name to Motorola, Inc.

Also, in 1947, they began designing portable two-way radios for businesses.

In 1955, they created the first Motorola germanium transistor for car radios – this was Motorola’s first mass produced semiconductor.

In the 1960s, Motorola began introducing sleeker versions of their portable two-way radio. It was considered sleek and lightweight at the time, but it still weighed a staggering 33 pounds.

On April 3, 1973, Motorola showed off the world’s first ever portable telephone in a public demonstration in the heart of New York City.

From there, the company continued to expand and change the world of communication as we knew it. By 2008, they released the world’s first LTE 700 MHz data demonstration. And in 2012, they gave the world the first ever mission critical handheld public safety LTE device.

Motorola Two-Way Radios Continue to Lead the Way

Today, Motorola remains one of the most trusted names for two-way radio technology. We are a proud Motorola two-way radio dealer, offering professional radios for rent and sale – shop our collection.