Who invented Walkie Talkies?

Curiosity plus fascination will always be a perfect combo for those young minds in search of knowledge. As children, we tend to play with tin can phones, sign languages, past paper planes, have secret codes, and even beg our parents for communication transmitters like 2-way toys to pass messages. We experienced rapid changes in technology, fabrics, architecture, engineering, and communication vessels. So, the obsession for two-way communication leads to the invention of the Handheld Transceiver (HT), now called WALKIE TALKIE.

The development of walkie talkie came into action during the second world war. It was credited to Donald Hings in 1937, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, Henyk Magnuski, and the engineering teams of Motorola. It was invented as the field radio for small-time pilots and was not indeed recognized as a useful device until World War II in 1939.

The walkie talkie was about seventeen inches in height, weighed around five pounds, and mostly made of metal. During this period, this kind of device can only be used on the battlefield for communication purposes and was not marketed as children’s toys. Now, the development of the walkie talkies has been defined as catering to the military’s needs to the children. And so, a walkie talkie is both a device for battle and a creative learning tool as a toy.


History of Walkie Talkies 

Walkie Talkies: The Beginning

The walkie talkie was first built in 1937 and called “packset”. Originally, it was merely a two-way field radio, as noted in Donald Hing’s notes, and was also called Handheld Transceiver (HT). The initially disregarded invention became an essential military technology during the Second World War. By loaning Hing’s work with CM&S’s leadership to the Department of National Defense and the National Research Council in Ottawa, the redevelopment of the wireless packsets (walkie talkie) came into action used during battles in 1939.

Engineer Poland Herynk Magnuski became the first patent owner (patent filed: May 20, 1935, granted: March 19, 1936), who later worked for Motorola to invent the first walkie talkie. A Canadian inventor named Donald Hings created the first portable radio signaling system for his employer CM&S, called initially as “packet,” then later dubbed as “Walkie Talkie.” His creation displayed importance for the war and became the C-58 “Handy Talkie” model in the 1942 military service. Furthermore, Alfred J. Gross, a radio engineer and one of Joan-Eleanor System workers, also worked behind walkie talkie technology between 1938 to 1941.

Moreover, Galvin Manufacturing, which boasted its fame and invention with the car radio (Motorola), created a legacy in two-way radio history: First is the infamous self-containing SCR-536 “handie-talkie” in 1940. Second, the police used the FM- band two-way radio technologies in 1941 and on the battlefields in 1943.


Walkie Talkies at World War II

An engineering team of the Motorola Company, formerly Galvin Manufacturing, which created the walkie talkie technology, consists of Dan Noble, who created the design for the frequency modulation; Henry Magnuski, the principal RF Engineer; Marion Bond; Llyod Morris and Bill Vogel. Finally, the first walkie talkie was developed by the US Military during World War II, known as backpacked “Motorola SCR-300”. To the infantrymen, walkie talkie’s use has made flexibility and mobility between soldiers stable and united. As communication is considered a vital weapon during battles, walkie talkie played a crucial role by becoming the right vessel for relaying messages properly.


After World War II

Following World War II, a development of AN/PRC-6, which will be the replacement for SCR-536, was made by Raytheon. The AN/PRC-6 used 13 vacuum tubes for the transmitter and receiver and another set of 13 vacuum tubes as the unit running spares. Expressively, a factory set of changeable crystals are used to change frequencies and for re-tuning the device. Moreover, the unit used a 24-inch whip antenna with an optional handset for the device to be connected by a 5-foot cable. Lastly, adjustable straps are provided for easier access to handling and support while operating.

The United States Marine Corps then did later developments about the walkie talkie technology. During the mid-1970s, the US Marine Corps initiated a squad radio to replace the AN/PNR-9 receiver’s discomfort and shortcomings and handheld receiver/transmitter AN/PRT-4. To add, Magnavox produced the AN/PRC-68 in 1976, which was later issued to the Marines in 1980 and then adopted by the US Army.

“Handie-Talkie” became a term for any portable handheld ham radios, and toys are referred to as “Walkie-Talkie.” The ham radios operators have used surplus Motorola HT devices immediately after World War II. Furthermore, Motorola’s public safety radios’ loans and donations during the 1950s and 1960s were done and received by the civil defense program.


Conclosure – Who invented Walkie Talkies?

Walkie-Talkies are used in various technology-based transmissions such as military, amateur radios, accessories, new uses, personal uses, etc. Moreover, the walkie-talkie technology became the inspiration and starting point of cellphone development and other transmission devices. The invention of the “Walkie-Talkie” created a trademark not only in the military but also in communication. Interests come and go, but its humble beginning as a two-way communication device to a vital tool in battle has made “Walkie-Talkie” the coolest gadget in the past and will always be in the future.



Founder of walkie-talkie-guide.com & TechVert.com. Tech enthusiast. Interested in gaming, computers, and walkie-talkies.

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