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First model of the Volksempfänger from 1933
Starting in 1933 a large number of radios were build in order the make it possible for everyone to receive Nazi-propaganda. Technical design was by Otto Griessing (1897-1958); the bakelite case was designed by Walter Maria Kersting (1889–1970). This one-circuit radio was made by a number of manufacturers in Germany. The model number 301 refers to the fact that Hitler seized power on the 30th of January, 1933. Consumer price was RM 76 in 1933. It still was an expensive radio: the monthly salary of an average worker was between RM 120 and RM 150.

In order to increase reception and to improve the use of this radio a number of accessories were made.

In 2010 this radio was on loan to the Gemeentemuseum The Hague for the exhibition "Norm=Form"; on standardisation and design.
From shoes and kitchen cupboards to coffee mugs and computer programs: they are all standardised. Never before have so many consumer products that surround us been the same. And that has many advantages. With its interchangeable parts and its conveyor belt production the T-Ford paved the way to an affordable car for everyone. Standardised clothing sizes offered affordable and well-fitting clothes to many.
The industrial demands for the development of standard types inspired designers like Dieter Rams and Piet Zwart, manufacturers like Braun and Thonet and educational institutions like Bauhaus to design good but cheap products. Standardised products also determine the social, cultural and even aesthetic norm. However, with its many (sub)cultures, society keeps changing. Therefore the product standards that have been set by governments and by standardisation organisations like DIN, in practice often swiftly become out of date.
Highlights in the exhibition are designs from amongst others Dieter Rams, 2012Architecten, Charles and Ray Eames, Ettore Sottsass, Kisho Kurokawa, Paul Schuitema, Pierre Paulin, Wim Crouwel and Mario Bellini. Several are from the Centre Pompidou collection and has never been shown in the Netherlands before.
The exhibition shows a world of standardisation, of progress and the critical comments that designers make about it in the process.
The exhibition could be seen at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague from May 8th until August 15th, 2010. In the context of RUHR.2010, cultural capital of Europe, the exhibition travelled to Essen in Germany, where it was open from Saturday 28 August until Tuesday 19 October at Zeche Zollverein, Hall 5, Shaft XII, A5 Essen, Germany.
 Data Valves
Serial number: 35051
Dimensions (w×h×d): 28 × 39 × 16 cm
Made in: 1933
Purchased in: 2005
Click on a valve for more information


What was broadcast in 1933?


Listen to "Ich bin der Hans im Glück" by Die Weintraubs, recorded in 1933

Back with back panel


Front (detail)

User manual for the VE301
A small cardboard shield, a warning against listening to foreign stations, was clipped to one of the knobs soon after the war started.
Even a number of death sentences were imposed.
Nazi-officials give a Volksempfänger to an elderly lady.  

This page was last edited on 28.04.2019