Walkie Talkie History

Canadian inventor Donald Hings was the first to create a portable radio signaling system for his employer CM&S in 1937. He called the system a “packset”, although it later became known as a “walkie-talkie”. In 2001, Hings was formally decorated for the device’s significance to the war effort. Hings’ model C-58 “Handy-Talkie” was in military service by 1942, the result of a secret R&D effort that began in 1940.

Donald Hings with The Walkie Talkie Alfred J. Gross, a radio engineer and one of the developers of the Joan-Eleanor system, also worked on the early technology behind the walkie-talkie between 1938 and 1941, and is sometimes credited with inventing it.

The first device to be widely nicknamed a “walkie-talkie” was developed by the US military during World War II, the backpacked Motorola SCR-300. It was created by an engineering team in 1940 at the Galvin Manufacturing Company (forerunner of Motorola). The team consisted of Dan Noble, who conceived of the design using frequency modulation; Henryk Magnuski, who was the principal RF engineer; Marion Bond; Lloyd Morris; and Bill Vogel.

The first handheld walkie-talkie was the AM SCR-536 transceiver from 1941, also made by Motorola, named the Handie-Talkie (HT). The terms are often confused today, but the original walkie-talkie referred to the back mounted model, while the handie-talkie was the device which could be held entirely in the hand. Both devices used vacuum tubes and were powered by high voltage dry cell batteries. More details