Recently I managed to score this sweet little Zenith Royal 700 transistor radio at a tag sale. I was happy to find it. Awhile back I had purchased another Zenith Royal and became so enamored with it on the shelf that I now want to own each one from the line.
Zenith radios were the hallmark of quality and technology in their heyday. The Royal 700 series were introduced in 1957 as smaller, portable versions of Zenith’s larger—and extremely expensive—Transoceanic models. They’re sometimes affectionately called lunchbox radios for their size. The Royals were all transistor, solid state radios. For 1957, this was top of the mark technology considering most radios were still tube sets. My 1957 Royal 750, the top-of-the-line model for that year, retailed at $79.95, about $615 in 2013 dollars.
The quality of the instrument was reflected in the design and materials. Each of the higher-end Royals features a genuine cowhide leather case. If you buy one today, it’s a good idea to condition the leather to keep it supple. I recommend using saddle soap. Apply it with a damp cloth and when it dries, buff the leather with a soft cloth.