Powel Crosley Jr.

Inducted 2010

It’s not often you find an inventor, industrialist and entrepreneur twice in one family. The Crosley brothers, Powel and Lewis, were responsible for many firsts in consumer products and broadcasting. Powel was the creative genius and Lewis had the practical know how to take his brother’s visions and make them reality. Powel’s two secrets of success were his ability to invent useful gadgets and the business sense of his brother Lewis M. Crosley. In 1920, Powel Crosley introduced the first low price radio for 20 dollars, becoming the largest radio manufacturer in the world. It earned Powel the reputation as the “Henry Ford of radios.” Powel then turned to broadcasting. Crosley Broadcasting Corporation was the most powerful station in the world at the time. That success led to the introduction of the first car radio. He also added refrigerators and other household appliances to his products. Powel Crosley was also a sports fanatic. In 1934, In 1934, he purchased the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. On May 24, 1935, the first nighttime game was held between the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, under newly installed electric lights. With the brothers’ many successes, they were determined to re-focus their efforts on a long standing desire to build an affordable automobile. In 1939, Powel introduced to the world the first small car. It was a two-door convertible that weighed under 1,000-pound and sold for 250 dollars. The vehicles were sold through independent appliance and department store. It did not achieve sales success, so in 1941 the body styles were expanded to include two- and four-passenger convertibles, a station wagon and trucks. After World War II ended the Crosley brothers attempted to build an automobile empire out of the Crosley name, but the demand for bigger cars were on the rise. By 1952, Powel and his brother Lewis had closed down their operation.

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