Shelbern Model 55C - The Radio Gods Have Spoken!


Bow at the Altar of Radio!

The Shelbern model 55 belongs on the top 10 best radio designs of all time! With clock (55C) or without the clock (55DL), in any color, this model's defining shape makes it unique among radios of this era.

Available in turquoise, coral, maroon, sand or gray (pictured above)

Take a common trapezoid shape and flip it upside down. Voila!


Captures essence of the 50s? Check!
Tons of oblique angles and contours? Check!
Oozes retro. Belongs in 50's schlock sci-fi movie? Check!
Bi or multi-level? Check!
Cool bright contrasting colors? Check!
Unique knobs, dials, trim pieces Check!
Rare as rare can be? Check!
Quasi-cult following Check!


Back in mid-50s, you could have walked in MacLeod's Hardware Store in Canada and bought one of these for $44.95! That would be $555 today adjusted for inflation. There's no information found on whether Shelbern radios were sold through any US dealer.

Shelbern Radio Ad from 1955

"Plaisir durable" - In French, this radio claims to give lasting pleasure! (which I am in no position to argue).



What makes this radio shape so different is that it is an inverted trapezoid. The more prevalent design of the time was a trapezoid with wider base and narrower top,


And many others...

This Shelbern 55C takes that concept and flips it upside down. By doing that, it distinguishes itself from others in the genre. It's hard to believe so few manufacturers decided go with this approach. Seems pretty obvious. The upside down trapezoid conveys 50s sensibilities more effectively; greater levity and upward trajectory.

Here's another example of an upside down trapezoid looking radio, which is not coincidentally, also highly sought after for its 50's looking appeal:


There are not many other examples of this shape. Go figure.


The Shelbern 55C was available in turquoise, coral, maroon, sand or grey with contrasting ivory color trim. There seems to be more surviving examples of the clock radio versions. The radio only version is more rare, in any color.







Strangely, this "gra-iege" gray-beige Shelbern is single speaker. Although, the ad above says it was offered as a dual speaker model.



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