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Listening to the radio and watching television

The initial situation in 1945 was not too promising: parts of the company’s factories had been severely damaged by bombs. A great deal of the equipment had been seized by the occupying Soviet troops. And there was a lack of raw materials. Nevertheless, production started back up optimistically. The radios became smaller and stronger, and Kapsch presented its first television sets in the mid-1950s.

 
Karl Kapsch

around 1950, Graphic

After the war, the leadership of the company remained in the hands of the four Kapsch brothers. A change of generations came, however, in the mid 1950s: Joseph Kapsch died in 1956, followed by Karl Kapsch in 1957. Karl Kapsch Junior and Wilhelm Kapsch assumed leadership of the company.

Kapsch ‘Mucki’

1948

The ‘Mucki’ was a typical design by Kapsch’s chief engineer, Josip Sliškovič. He demonstrated his talents by designing devices that were as small as possible and minimized the space taken up by the technology. The device was available in brown, red, green or blue.

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Kapsch ‘Weekend 5’

1949

The ‘Weekend 5‘ was the first and smallest continental portable travel radio. The number 5 referred to the five tubes. The radio featured a built-in loop antenna and, thanks to the self-illuminated station display, could also be operated in the dark.

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Radio-Phonograph Combination

around 1950

This prototype was developed by Karl Kapsch Junior and Josip Sliškovič. It was a device with already 11 (!) tubes that featured a so-called ‘concert loudspeaker’, a record player with three speeds as well as a timer with a 24-hour display. However, due to the expected high production costs only this prototype was produced.


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Karl Kapsch in the laboratory

around 1950, Photograph

Karl Kapsch was presumably testing an amplifier here; a microphone can be seen on the right. It could have been the control panel of a loudspeaker system.

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Kapsch ‘Weekend 52’

1952

Portable radios were known as ‘travel units’. Shaped like a suitcase, the ‘Weekend 52‘ optically underscored the link to taking a trip: opening the cover of the suitcase turned the radio on, closing it turned it off again.


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‘ABC-Weekend 3’ Brochure

1953, Brochure

Listening to the radio on the ‘Weekend‘ in mountainous Austria was not always easy. This radio was advertised as having ‘outstanding shortwave reception’. The first ultra-short wave (UKW) transmitters began operating in Austria in 1953. The first regular test program was broadcasted in September of 1953 by the Vienna Kahlenberg and Klagenfurt-St. Peter transmitters.


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PhonoUnivers Radio and Record Player

1957

The brochure for the radio stated: ‘Depending on requirements, the broadcast program of all areas, the spoken book, lively entertainment music and symphonic music in exquisite quality are available’.

Kapsch ‘Capri’ Brochure

1958, Brochure

Transistors revolutionized radio production in the 1950s; the first ones were used in the US in 1954. As they were initially very expensive, the industry in Austria waited before starting to use them. Kapsch produced the first transistor radio in 1958, the ‘Capri’. The sales price of 1,330 Austrian Schillings was the equivalent of about € 600 today.


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Kapsch ‘Starlet’ Brochure

1959, Brochure

In the late 1950s, electronics companies, inspired by transistor technology, tried to outdo each other in terms of the minimization of their devices. A popular feature of this small ‘delightful transistor radio’ was that it fitted into every lady’s ‘tiny handbag’.


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Production of the ‘Herold’ Radio

around 1960, Photo series

A photo documentary about radio production was again made in 1960. It showed the individual production stages of the ‘Herold’ radio – here the manufacturing of the components for the radio.


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Kapsch ‘TR 20’

1970

This transistor radio featured separate frequency selectors for AM and FM transmission ranges and was equipped with an independent Ö3 (Austrian radio station) button. The ‘TR20’, one of Kapsch’s last in-house productions in the radio sector, was kept in the product range until 1977.


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Kapsch Product Range 71, Advertising Brochure

1971, Illustrations from an advertising brochure


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Stereo Car Radio Recorder TRM 500

1974

This stereo car radio recorder had an output power of 2 x 5 W. The recording was conducted via a microphone or from the radio; the radio was equipped with 11 transistors, 21 diodes and 8 ICs.

Battery Types

1950 - 1979

In the best years, Kapsch achieved a market share of up to 30% for the production of batteries in Austria. In 1972, an innovation was brought to the market – the ‘sealed’ battery. The problem, however, was that the battery swelled up over time and could then no longer be removed from the device. During this time, the international competition became increasingly stronger in the battery sector as well; as a result, battery production had to be closed down in 1979, although the company continued a wholesale trade in batteries until 1985.

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Capacitors product range

around 1965

Capacitors store electrical charges and associated energy. They are used in nearly every electronic device. Kapsch produced capacitors until 1969.


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‘TFS 56’ Television Set

1955

The first television test programs were broadcasted in August of 1955. The official beginning of television in Austria was the broadcast of Beethoven’s Fidelio from the Vienna State Opera at the beginning of November, 1955. Kapsch presented the ‘TFS 56’ at the Fall Trade Fair. The sales price of 7,600 Austrian Schillings was the equivalent of about € 4,000 today.

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‘Kapsch Chromamatic‘ Color Television Set, Brochure

1968, Brochure

Kapsch presented its first color television set in 1967. Once again, Kapsch relied on its close collaboration with Telefunken. Austrian television, however, first broadcasted a program in color at the beginning of 1969: the broadcast of the New Year’s concert by the Vienna Philharmonic.


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Kapsch Stereo Catalog

1974, Title page of a brochure

Revenue declines in the early 1970s made one thing clear:
the in-house production of radio sets was no longer profitable – the future rested in merchandise. Only color television sets continued to be produced for a few more years.


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Sharp Catalog

1980

In 1972, Kapsch became the principal agent of the Japanese electronics company Sharp. As such, Kapsch participated in the success of Japanese products on the Austrian market.


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TV Catalog

1985, Title page of the catalog

The Kapsch management decided to withdraw from the field of consumer electronics in the fall of 1985. ‘Being at the cutting edge‘ now meant concentrating exclusively on the industrial goods market.


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