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"Toot-A-Loop" Tag


Panasonic Toot-A-Loop R-72


Friday, October 26, 2018

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‘It’s an S it’s an O, it’s a crazy radio! Toot-A-Loop!’ that was the phrase of the famous transistor radio called the Toot-A-Loop. The Toot-A-Loop… We never saw something like that before, we remember that we were both walking in the Stedelijk Museum and that we were looking for something special, something that had to mesmerize us. Eventually we both got mesmerized by this yellow thing that was laying behind glass and we knew that this was the piece that we wanted to do research on. At first we thought it was a weird mobile device, later on we read that it was a transistor radio, a transistor radio where the designer was unknown from, something that made us even more curious.
At first we decided to do our online research separate, to see if the different language we speak and in which we do our online search would pop up different results, we hoped and thought that that would increase our information, but in the end we came to the conclusion that our information was almost identical, so instead of working separate we began to do our research together.

Our research began with first going on Google, we typed in Toot-A-Loop and google gave us a lot of links and pictures of the radio, the first link that popped up was Wikipedia, of course.

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This information about the Toot-A-Loop that Wikipedia gave us was comparable on almost every website, there was nothing more, nothing less.

After Wikipedia we went to the websites of different museums, almost every museum website was disappointing, because they didn’t had a lot of information about the object, they all got a picture of their own Toot-A-Loop with a short text (or no text!) about when it was made etc. but nothing more. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam gave us some book references, something that we could definitely use later.

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The many pictures on Google were linked to auction sites and even Marktplaats (the ‘Dutch Ebay’)  we saw that a lot of people were selling their old Toot-A-Loop or already sold them, so there is still a lot of interest in the radio, it hasn’t lost its popularity. The selling price of the radio was quite various,  for example on Marktplaats the radio would be sold for around 50 euros, but on the auction sites it would cost around 200 euros.

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We also found youtube videos, videos where people were most the time trying to explain how the radio works, we noticed that the videos were quite recent and that the people who commented under the videos were most of the time talking about how they would (and still love) the radio, so a lot of people from earlier generations.

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After long clicking, link after link, (it must have been the last Google search page) one of us ended on this Italian radio website where we finally found some new information about the radio, they  mentioned the name of the designer, somebody called ‘J.M. Willmin’, after reading this we started to Google the name of this designer, the only information about the designer that Google gave us was linked to the Toot-A -Loop. Later on we found an antique website where they were also talking about J.M. Willmin as the designer of the Toot A Loop, we sent them an email with the question where they got there information from, this is what they answered

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We think that the name J.M. Willmin was made up by Panasonic  so the radio would sell better abroad (in countries like the US and UK),  this is probably why we couldn’t find anything about this designer.

After our online research we went to the library of the Stedelijk Museum and the library of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, thanks to the book references we found online we were able to find books that mentioned the Toot-A-Loop. The information we found per book was different, in the first book, Twentieth-century ornament by Jonathan Michael Woodham, the Toot-A-Loop was used as an example to show something about the Japanese design of the 1960s/1970s further then that there was no information about the Toot-A-Loop itself. In the second book we found, Radio Zeit by Isabel Brass, there was more information about the radio, but nothing we hadn’t read before.

That was something that surprised us, because books carry this magic trustworthiness with them, you should be able to find everything that you want to know in a book, at least that’s what we thought.

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It’s strange that there is only limited information about such a popular radio on the internet and in the books. Maybe we should use our imagination to answers the remaining questions.

the research is a cooperation between Philipphine Bordeaux and Sena Abraham

 


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