These radio sets departed from the styling of early domestic radios as bulky pieces of furniture. In keeping with company founder E. K. Cole’s view of radio as a modern medium, the geometric and unadorned design of the cabinets highlighted rather than disguised their essential componentsthe speaker and tuning knobs. EKCO was an early adopter of Bakelite, a synthetic plastic material that could be industrially molded, and approached several well-known modernist architects to design receivers suited to this modern technology. Plastics also made relatively lightweight, compact designs possible (the Chermayeff set was equipped with handles for portability).
Gallery label from Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye, November 15, 2014–January 17, 2016.