Neither Barbra nor Liza made an appearance at this year's CES, but an iconic brand which brought radio to the masses was very much alive and kicking at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Founded by Powel Crosley ("The Henry Ford of Radio") in 1920, Crosley Radio grew into one of the most successful electronics manufacturers of the early 20th century. His inexpensive tuners - once a staple in American homes - have become highly collectible classics sought after by electronics fans worldwide, and define the "retro" aesthetic we think of when we imagine an old radio. Sadly, the brand died in 1956.
Fast forward to 1989, when a savvy group of investors perceived the Crosley name's value and began to develop a striking line of modern audio equipment - radios to jukeboxes - which wrap Crosley's traditional good looks around the latest technology. Wood cabinets and thick fabric grilles are paired with old-fashioned knobs and dials, all fully functional in tandem with integrated iPod docks and hidden CD players. The look may be 1940, but sound quality is very 2013.
I love to see elements of Americana evolve like this, even if there's little connection to their origin besides a name, logo and design sensibility. Sure it's contrived, but if Hollywood can reinvent itself over the years, why shouldn't a brand that brought entertainment to the masses do the same?
LA-based design and innovation expert Joel Delman is serving as LA Observed guest blogger covering CES 2013 from an LA and Southern California point of view. Joel is creative director for Product Development Technologies. He received his Master of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, his JD from Harvard Law School and his bachelor's in economics from New York University.