Nocturne radio (Model 1186)


Walter Dorwin Teague ( American, 1883 - 1960 )


Sparton Corporation ( American, 1900 )

designed c. 1935
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General Description

This towering console of satin chrome and mirrored cobalt glass, standing nearly four feet tall, is a commanding example of the styling of goods to meet the Machine Age aesthetic of the 1930s. One of the most dramatic expressions of the fusion of art and technology, the Nocturne radio was designed by one of the leading industrial designers of the 1930s, Walter Dorwin Teague. The design of the radio is the result of Teague's adoption of a formalist aesthetic citing the appropriateness of geometry derived from machines. Rather than the design relating to the function of the radio, the enormous mirrored disk presents a stunning façade that conceals an otherwise ordinary wooden case housing the radio receiver and its components.

Adapted from

Bonnie Pitman, ed. "Nocturne radio (Model 1186)" in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), 262.

Fun Facts

The retail price of Nocturne Radio was $350 in 1936, approximately $4,500 today. As a result of the exorbitant expense, few examples were purchased during the two years it was featured in catalogues, mostly by hotels, clubs and other commercial enterprises rather than private residences for which they were intended.