Powel Crosley Jr.

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Powel Crosley Jr.
Crosley in a late 1940s advertisement
Born(1886-09-18)September 18, 1886
DiedMarch 28, 1961(1961-03-28) (aged 74)
Occupation(s)Inventor, industrialist, and entrepreneur
Known forCrosley automobile,
WLW radio station,
former owner, Cincinnati Reds
Spouse(s)Gwendolyn B. Aiken (m. 1910–1939)
Eva Emily Brokaw (m. 1952–1955)
RelativesLewis M. Crosley (brother)

Powel Crosley Jr. (September 18, 1886 – March 28, 1961) was an American inventor, industrialist, and entrepreneur. He was also a pioneer in radio broadcasting, and owner of the Cincinnati Reds major league baseball team. In addition, Crosley's companies manufactured Crosley automobiles and radios, and operated WLW radio station. Crosley, once dubbed "The Henry Ford of Radio," was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2010 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2013.

He and his brother, Lewis M. Crosley, were responsible for many firsts in consumer products and broadcasting. During World War II, Crosley's facilities produced more proximity fuzes than any other U.S. manufacturer, and made several production design innovations. Crosley Field, a stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, was renamed for him, and the street-level main entrance to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is named Crosley Terrace in his honor. Crosley's Pinecroft estate home in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Seagate, his former winter retreat in Sarasota, Florida are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Early life and education[edit]

Powel Crosley Jr. was born on September 18, 1886, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Charlotte Wooley (Utz) (1864–1949) and Powel Crosley Sr. (1849–1932), a lawyer. Powel Jr. was the oldest of the family's four children. Crosley became interested in the mechanics of automobiles at a young age and wanted to become an automaker. While living with his family in College Hill, a suburb of Cincinnati, twelve-year-old Crosley made his first attempt at building a vehicle.[1]

Crosley began high school in College Hill and transferred to the Ohio Military Institute. In 1904 Crosley enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, where he began studies in engineering, but switched to law, primarily to satisfy his father, before dropping out of college in 1906 after two years of study.[1]

Marriage and family[edit]

Crosley married Gwendolyn Bakewell Aiken (1889–1939) in Hamilton County, Ohio, on October 17, 1910. They had two children. After his marriage, Crosley continued to work in automobile sales in Muncie to earn money to buy a house, while his wife returned to Cincinnati to live with her parents. The young couple saw each other on the weekends until Crosley returned to Cincinnati in 1911 to live and work after the birth of his first child.[2] Gwendolyn Crosley, who suffered from tuberculosis, died at the Crosleys' winter home in Sarasota, Florida, on February 26, 1939.[3]

Crosley married Eva Emily Brokaw (1912–1955) in 1952. She died in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Real estate[edit]

Crosley's primary residence was Pinecroft, an estate home built in 1929 in the Mount Airy section of Cincinnati, Ohio. He also had Seagate, a winter retreat in Manatee County, Florida, built for his first wife, Gwendolyn. In addition, Crosley owned several vacation properties.


Pinecroft, Crosley's two-story, 13,334-square-foot (1,238.8 m2), Tudor Revival-style mansion and other buildings on his estate in Mount Airy was designed by New York-based architect Dwight James Baum and built in 1928–29. Crosley's daughter, Marth Page (Crosley) Kess, sold the property after her father's death in 1961, and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor acquired the property in 1963. Saint Francis Hospital bought a portion of the property north of the Crosley mansion in 1971 and built a hospital, which was renamed Mercy Hospitals West in 2001. The land surrounding the home has been subdivided into parcels, but the Franciscan Sisters have used the mansion as a retreat since the early 1970s. Pinecroft was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.[4]



Seagate, also known as the Bay Club, along Sarasota Bay in the southwest corner of Manatee County, Florida, was a Mediterranean Revival-style home designed for Crosley by New York City and Sarasota architect George Albree Freeman Jr., with Ivo A. de Minicis, a Tampa, Florida, architect, drafting the plans. Sarasota contractor Paul W. Bergman built the 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) winter retreat in 1929–30 on a 63-acre (25-hectare) parcel of land. The two-and-a-half-story house include ten bedrooms and ten bathrooms, as well as auxiliary garages and living quarters for staff. The house contains and is reportedly the first residence built in Florida using steel-frame construction to provide protection against fires and hurricanes. After Crosley's wife, Gwendolyn, died of tuberculosis at the retreat in 1939, he rarely used the house.[5][6] During World War II, Crosley allowed the U.S. Army Air Corps to use the retreat for its airmen training at the nearby Sarasota Army Air Base. Crosley sold his estate property in 1947 to the D and D Corporation.[4]

Mabel and Freeman Horton purchased the property in 1948 and owned Seagate for nearly forty years. The house and 45 acres (18 hectares) was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1983, by a subsequent owner who intended to build an exclusive condominium project on the site using the historic house as a clubhouse, but the project failed when the economy faltered shortly thereafter. Kafi Benz, the Friends of Seagate Inc., a nonprofit corporation, and local residents saved Seagate from commercial development, and initiated a campaign for its preservation and public acquisition.[7] In 1991 the state of Florida purchased the property and 16.5 acres (6.7 hectares) of the bay-front estate that included the structures that Crosley had built in 1929–30. A larger portion of the original property was developed into a satellite campus for the University of South Florida. The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus opened its new facilities in August 2006. The present-day mansion, called the Powel Crosley Estate, is used as a meeting, conference, and event venue.[4][8][9]

Vacation homes[edit]

Crosley, an avid sportsman, also owned several sports, hunting, and fishing camps, including an island retreat called Nikassi on McGregor Bay, Lake Huron, Canada; Bull Island, South Carolina; Pimlico Plantation, along the Cooper River north of Charleston, South Carolina; Sleepy Hollow Farm, a retreat in Jennings County, Indiana and a house at Cat Cays, Bahamas.[3][4]

Early career[edit]

Crosley began work selling bonds for an investment banker; however, at the age of twenty-one he decided to pursue a career in automobile manufacturing.[1] The mass-production techniques employed by Henry Ford also caught his attention and would be implemented by his brother, Lewis, when the two began manufacturing radios in 1921.[citation needed]

In 1907 Crosley formed a company to build the Marathon Six, a six-cylinder model priced at $1,700, which was at the low end of the luxury car market. With $10,000 in capital that he raised from investors, Crosley established Marathon Six Automotive inexpensive automobile, in Connersville, Indiana, and built a prototype of his car, but a nationwide financial panic caused investment capital to dwindle and he failed to fund its production.[10]

Still determined to establish himself as an automaker, Crosley moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked for Carl G. Fisher as a shop hand at the Fisher Automobile Company. Crosley stayed for about a year, but left after he broke his arm starting a car at the auto dealership. After recovering from his injury at home in College Hill, Crosley returned to Indianapolis in 1909 to briefly work for several auto manufacturers, including jobs as an assistant sales manager for the Parry Auto Company and a salesman for the National Motor Vehicle Company. He also volunteered to help promote National's auto racing team. His next job was selling advertising for Motor Vehicle, an automotive trade journal, but left in 1910 to move to Muncie, Indiana, where he worked in sales for the Inter-State Automobile Company and promoted its racing team.[2]

Early automobile and parts manufacturer[edit]

After returning to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1911, Crosley sold and wrote advertisements for local businesses, but continued to pursue his interests in the automobile industry. He failed in early efforts to manufacture cars for the Hermes Automobile Company and cyclecars for the De Cross Cyclecar Company and the L. Porter Smith and Brothers Company before finding financial success in manufacturing and distributing automobile accessories.[11]

In 1916 he co-founded the American Automobile Accessory Company with Ira J. Cooper. The company's bestseller was a tire liner of Crosley's invention.[4] Another popular product was a flag holder that held five American flags and clamped to auto radiator caps.[citation needed] By 1919 Crosley had sales of more than $1 million in parts. He also diversified into other consumer products such as phonograph cabinets, radios, and home appliances. Crosley's greatest strength was his ability to invent new products, while his brother, Lewis M. Crosley, excelled in business. Lewis also became head of Crosley's manufacturing operations.[12][13]

In 1920, Crosley first selected independent local dealers as the best way to take his products to market. He insisted that all sellers of his products must give the consumer the best in parts, service, and satisfaction. Always sensitive to consumers, his products were often less expensive than other name brands, but were guaranteed. Crosley's "money back guarantee" set a precedent for some of today's most outstanding sales policies.

The Crosley Pup 1-tube radio

Radio manufacturer[edit]

A Crosley radio from the late 1930s. Note that the "70" setting is marked "WLW," for the station owned by Crosley

In 1921 Crosley's young son asked for a radio, a new item at that time, but Crosley was surprised that toy radios cost more than $100 at a local department store. With the help of a booklet called "The ABC of Radio," he and his son decided to assemble the components and build their own crystal radio set. Crosley immediately recognized the appeal of an inexpensive radio and hired two University of Cincinnati students to help design a low-cost set that could be mass-produced. Crosley named the radio the "Harko" and introduced it to the market in 1921. The inexpensive radio set sold for $7, making it affordable to the masses. Soon, the Crosley Radio Corporation was manufacturing radio components for the rapidly growing industry and making its own line of radios.[14][15]

By 1924 Crosley had moved his company to a larger plant and later made subsequent expansions. The Crosley Radio Corporation became the largest radio manufacturer in the world in 1925; its slogan, "You’re There With A Crosley," was used in all its advertising.[12]

In 1925 Crosley introduced another low-cost radio set. The small, one-tube, regenerative radio was called the "Crosley Pup" and sold for $9.75.[citation needed] While Victor had Nipper, its famous trademark showing a dog listening to "his master's voice" from a phonograph, Crosley adopted a mascot in the form of a dog with headphones listening to a Crosley Pup radio[16]

The Crosley Building, Cincinnati

In 1928 Crosley's firm arranged for the construction of the Crosley Building at Camp Washington, a Cincinnati neighborhood, and used the facility for its for radio manufacturing, radio broadcasting, and for manufacturing other devices.[17]

In 1930 Crosley was marketing the "Roamio," with "screen grid neutrodyne power speaker"[18] for automotive use. Priced at $75, before accessories and installation, it was claimed to be able to receive thirty stations with no signal strength change.[18]

Radio broadcasting[edit]

Once Crosley established himself as a radio manufacturer, he decided to expand into broadcasting as a way to encourage consumers to purchase more radios. In 1921, soon after he built his first radios, Crosley began experimental broadcasts from his home with a 20-watt transmitter using the call sign 8CR.[14] On March 22, 1922, the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation received a commercial license to operate as WLW at 50 watts. Dorman D. Israel, a young radio engineer from the University of Cincinnati, designed and built the station's first two radio transmitters (at 100 and 1,000 watts).[19][20] The Crosley Corporation claimed that in 1928 WLW became the first 50-kilowatt commercial station in the United States with a regular broadcasting schedule. In 1934 Crosley put a 500-kilowatt transmitter on the air, making WLW the station with the world's most powerful radio transmitter for the next five years.[12][19] (On occasion, the station's power was boosted as high as 700,000 watts.)[citation needed]

Throughout the 1930s, Cincinnati's WLW was considered "the Nation's Station," producing many hours of network programming each week.[21] Among the entertainers who performed live from WLW's studios were Red Skelton, Doris Day, Jane Froman, Fats Waller, Rosemary Clooney, and the Mills Brothers.[4] In 1939 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that WLW had to reduce its power to 50 kilowatts, partly because it interfered with the broadcasts of other stations, but largely due to its smaller competitors, who complained about the station's technical and commercial advantages with its 500-kilowatt broadcasts.[4]

During World War II, WLW resumed its powerful, 500-kilowatt transmissions in cooperation with the U.S. government.[4] The 500-kilowatt transmitter was crated for shipment to Asia, but the war ended before it was shipped.[citation needed] WLW's engineers also built high-power shortwave transmitters on a site about 25 miles (40 km) north of Cincinnati. Crosley Broadcasting, under contract to the U.S. government, began operating the Bethany Relay Station, which was dedicated on September 23, 1944, to broadcast "Voice of America" programming. The relay station's broadcasts continued until 1994.[4]

Crosley's broadcasting company eventually expanded into additional markets. The company was experimenting with television broadcasting as early as 1929, when it received an experimental television license from the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), which later became the FCC. Crosley Broadcasting did not go on-air with regular television programming as WLWT until after Crosley sold the company to Aviation Corporation (Avco) and he had become a member of Avco's board of directors..[citation needed]

Appliance and consumer products manufacturer[edit]

Icyball refrigerator

In the 1930s Crosley added refrigerators and other household appliances and consumer goods to his company's product line.[citation needed]

Crosley's "Icyball" was an early non-electrical refrigeration device. The unit used an evaporative cycle to create cold, and had no moving parts. The dumbbell shaped unit was "charged" by heating one end with a small kerosene heater. Crosley's company sold several hundred thousand Icyball units before discontinuing its manufacture in the late 1930s.[citation needed]

In 1932 Crosley had the idea of putting shelves in the doors of refrigerators. He patented the "Shelvador" refrigerator and launched the new appliance in 1933. At that time it was the only model with shelves in the door.[15] In addition to refrigerators, Crosley's company sold other consumer products that included the "XERVAC," a device purported to "revitalize inactive hair cells" and "stimulate hair growth".[22] Crosley also introduced the "Autogym," a motor-driven weight-loss device with a vibrating belt, and the "Go-Bi-Bi," a "rideable baby walker," among other products.[23]

Baseball team owner and sportsman[edit]

In February 1934, Crosley purchased the Cincinnati Reds professional baseball team from Sidney Weil, who had lost much of his wealth after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Crosley kept the team from going bankrupt and leaving Cincinnati. He was also owner of the Reds when the team won two National League titles (in 1939 and 1940) and the World Series in 1940.[14][24]

Crosley was also a pioneer in broadcasting baseball games on the radio. On May 24, 1935, the first nighttime game in Major League baseball history was held at Cincinnati's Crosley Field, which was renamed in Crosley's honor after he acquired the team (before this, the ballpark was named Redland Field), between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies under newly installed electric lighting. With attendance at its evening games more than four times greater that its daytime events, the team's financial position was greatly improved.[13] Crosley also approved baseball's first regularly-scheduled play-by-play broadcasts of all scheduled games on his local station, WSAI, whose call letters stood for "sports and information," and later on WLW. The coverage increased attendance so much that within five years all 16 major league teams had radio broadcasts of every scheduled game.[citation needed]

On a personal level, Crosley was an avid sportsman. Although he never had a pilot's license, Crosley owned several seaplanes, such as the Douglas Dolphin, and airplanes, including building five Crosley "Moonbeam" airplanes. In addition, Crosley claimed that at one time he was slotted to be a driver in the Indianapolis 500, but that claim was not entirely accurate. He was entered but broke his arm working for Carl Fisher (see above). Crosley was also the owner of luxury yachts with powerful engines, and an active fisherman who participated in celebrated tournaments in Sarasota, Florida. He served as president of the Sarasota area's Anglers Club and was a founder of the American Wildlife Institute.[24][23] Crosley owned several sports, hunting, and fishing camps: Nikassi, an island retreat in Ontario, Canada; Bull Island off the coast of South Carolina; a hunting retreat he called Sleepy Hollow Farm in Jennings County, Indiana, and a Caribbean vacation home at Cat Cays, Bahamas.[4][25]

Aircraft manufacturer[edit]

1929 Crosley "Moonbeam" at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky

The Crosley "Moonbeam" was built in Sharonville, Ohio and was first flown on December 8, 1929. It was designed by Harold D. Hoekstra, an employee of Crosley's when Crosley was president of the Crosley Aircraft Company. (Hoeskstra later became Chief of Engineering and Design for the Federal Aviation Administration.) Unique features of this aircraft are the square tube longerons used in the fuselage construction, use of torque tubes instead of control cable, and the corrugated aluminum ailerons. Original power was supplied by a four-cylinder inverted inline 90 hp Crosley engine. At one time it was also tested with a 110 Warner Scarab engine. N147N reportedly was the first airplane on which the spoilers were tested (in May 1930) as a lateral control device. Five Moonbeams airplanes were produced. The first was a three-place parasol; next, a four-place, high wing cabin model; third and fourth were one place high wings. Due to the Great Depression, planned production did not take place. N147N is the last of these planes in existence. It is housed at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky in Lexington Kentucky.[citation needed]

Mignet Crosley "Flea," 1935

In 1933 Frenchman Henri Mignet designed the HM.14 "Pou du Ciel" ("Flying Flea"). He envisioned a simple aircraft that amateurs could build, and even teach themselves to fly. In an attempt to render the aircraft stall proof and safe for amateur pilots to fly, Mignet staggered the two main wings. The Mignet-Crosley "Pou du Ciel" is the first HM.14 made and flown in the United States. Edward Nirmaier, a Crosley employee, and two other men built the airplane in November 1935 for Crosley, who believed that the affordable "Flea" could become a popular aircraft in the United States. After several flights, a crash at the Miami Air Races in December 1935 finally grounded the Crosley HM.14. Although the airplane enjoyed a period of intense popularity in France and England, a series of accidents in 1935-36 permanently ruined the airplane's reputation.[citation needed]


1939 Crosley "Transferable" model

Of all Crosley's dreams, success at building an affordable automobile for Americans was possibly the only major one eventually to elude him. In the years leading up to World War II, Crosley developed new products that included reviving one of his earliest endeavors at automobile design and manufacturing. In 1939, when Crosley introduced the low-priced Crosley automobiles, he broke with tradition and sold his cars through independent appliance, hardware, and department stores instead of automobile dealerships.[13][26]

The first Crosley Motors, Inc. automobile made its debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 28, 1939, to mixed reviews.[23] The compact car had an 80-inch (200 cm) wheelbase and a 38.87-cubic-inch (637.0 cm3), two-cylinder, air cooled Waukesha engine. Crosley estimated that his cloth-top car, which weighed less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg), could get fifty miles per gallon at speeds of up to fifty miles per hour.[24][25] The sedan model sold for $325, while the coupe sold for $350. Panel truck and pickup truck models were added to the product line in 1940.[26] During the pre-war period, the company had manufacturing plants in Camp Washington, Ohio; Richmond, Indiana; and Marion, Indiana. When the onset of war ended all automobile production in the United States in 1942, Crosley had produced 5,757 cars.[4]

1949 Crosley "Hotshot" sports model and appliance display at the Deer Park Museum, Escondido, California

After World War II ended, Crosley resumed building its small cars for civilian use. His company's first post-war automobile rolled off the assembly line on May 9, 1946.[27] The new Crosley "CC" model automobile continued the company's pre-war tradition of offering small, lightweight, and low-priced cars. It sold for $850 and got thirty to fifty miles per U.S. gallon. In 1949 Crosley became the first American carmaker to put disc brakes on all of its models.[1]

Unfortunately for Crosley, fuel economy ceased to be an inducement after gas rationing ended, and American consumers also began to prefer bigger cars.[23] Crosley's best year was 1948, when it sold 24,871 cars, but sales began to fall in 1949. Adding the Crosley "Hotshot" sports model and an all-purpose vehicle called the "Farm-O-Road" model in 1950 did not stop the decline. Only 1,522 Crosley vehicles were sold in 1952. Crosley sold about 84,000 cars before closing down the operation on July 3, 1952. The Crosley plant in Marion, Indiana, was sold to the General Tire and Rubber Company.[27][28]

War-production contractor[edit]

A Crosley-manufactured, Mark 53 proximity (VT) fuze for the U.S. Navy

Crosley's company was involved in war production planning before December 1941, and like the rest of American industry, it focused on manufacturing war-related products during World War II. The company made a variety of products, including proximity fuzes, experimental military vehicles, radio transceivers, and gun turrets, among other items.[29][30]

Proximity fuzes[edit]

The most significant Crosley's wartime production was the proximity fuze, which was manufactured by several companies for the military. Crosley's facilities produced more fuzes than any other manufacturer and made several production design innovations. The fuze is widely considered the third most important product development of the war years, ranking behind the atomic bomb and radar.[31]

Ironically, Crosley himself did not have U.S. government security clearance and was not involved with the project. Without government security clearance, Crosley was prohibited from entering the area of his plant that manufactured the fuzes and did not know what top-secret products it produced until the war's end. Production was directed and supervised by Lewis M. Clement, the Crosley company's vice-president of engineering.[32][33]

James V. Forrestal, U.S. Secretary of the Navy said: "The proximity fuze has helped blaze the trail to Japan. Without the protection this ingenious device has given the surface ships of the Fleet, our westward push could not have been so swift and the cost in men and ships would have been immeasurably greater."[citation needed] George S. Patton, Commanding General of the Third Army, remarked: "The funny fuze won the Battle of the Bulge for us. I think that when all armies get this shell we will have to devise some new method of warfare."[citation needed]

Radio transceivers, gun turrets, and other products[edit]

Also of significance were the many radio transceivers that Crosley's company manufactured during the war, including 150,000 BC-654s, a receiver and transmitter that was the main component of the SCR-284 radio set. The Crosley Corporation also made components for Walkie-talkie transceivers and IFR radio guidance equipment, among other products. In addition, Crosley's also manufactured field kitchens, air supply units for Sperry S-1 bombsites (used in B-24 bombers), air conditioning units, Martin PBM Mariner bow-gun turrets, and quarter-ton trailers. Gun turrets for PT boats and B-24 and B-29 bombers were the company's largest military contract.[30]

Experimental military vehicles[edit]

During the war, Crosley's auto manufacturing division, CRAD (for Crosley Radio Auto Division), in Richmond, Indiana, produced experimental motorcycles, tricycles, four-wheel-drive vehicles, and continuous track vehicles, including some amphibious models.[34] All of these military prototypes were powered by the two-cylinder boxer engine that had powered the original Crosley automobile.[35] Crosley had nearly 5,000 of these engines on hand when civilian automobile production ceased in 1942, and hoped to put them to use in his miniature war machines.[citation needed]

One vehicle prototype was the 1942/1943 Crosley CT-3 "Pup," a lightweight, single-passenger, four-wheel-drive vehicle that was transportable and air-droppable from a C-47 Skytrain. Six of the 1,125-pound (510 kg) Pups were deployed overseas after undergoing tests at Fort Benning, Georgia, but the Pup project was discontinued due to several weak components. Seven of the thirty-seven Pups that were built are known to survive.[30][35]

Later years[edit]

Although Crosley retained ownership of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and Crosley Motors, he sold his other business interests, including WLW radio and the Crosley Corporation, to the Aviation Corporation (Avco) in 1945.[29] Crosley remained on the Avco board for several years afterward. Avco put Ohio's second television station, WLWT-TV, on the air in 1948, the same year it began manufacturing television sets. Avco manufactured some of the first portable television sets under the Crosley brand name. Crosley ceased to exist as a brand in 1956, when Avco closed the unprofitable product line; however, the Crosley name was so well established that Avco's broadcasting division, owner of WLWT-TV, retained the Crosley name until 1968, seven years after Crosley's death.[citation needed]

Crosley sold Pimlico Plantation, now demolished, in 1942, and Seagate, his winter retreat in Florida in 1947. In 1954 Crosley sold his vacation home at Cat Keys, Bahamas. In 1956 he sold Sleepy Hollow Farm in Jennings County, Indiana, to the state of Indiana for use as a wildlife preserve. Bull Island, South Carolina, became part of a national wildlife refuge. It is not known when Crosley sold his vacation retreat in Ontario, Canada.[4][27]

Death and legacy[edit]

Crosley died on March 28, 1961, of a heart attack at the age of 74.[29] He is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.

Crosley liked to label himself "the man with 50 jobs in 50 years," a catchy sobriquet that was far from true, although he did have more than a dozen jobs before he got into automobile accessories. Crosley helped quite a few inventors up the ladder of success by buying the rights to their inventions and sharing in the profits. His work provided employment and products for millions of people.[citation needed]

A few of Crosley's company's more noteworthy accomplishments:

  • introduced the first compact car to American consumers (in 1939)[citation needed]
  • became the second company to install car radios in its models[24]
  • the first to introduce push-button car radios[24]
  • introduced soap operas to radio broadcasts[36]
  • introduced the first non-electric refrigerator (Icyball)[citation needed]
  • introduced the first refrigerator with shelves in the door (Shelvador)[15]
  • launched the world's most powerful commercial radio station (WLW, at 500 kW)[12]
  • installed the first lights on a major league baseball field[13]* introduced facsimile newspaper broadcasts by radio-FAX (Reado)[citation needed]
  • the first American carmaker to have disc brakes on all its models (in 1949)[1]

Part of Crosley's Pinecroft estate, his former Cincinnati, Ohio, home, is the site of Mercy Hospitals West; however, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor have used his mansion as a retreat since the early 1970s. Seagate, Crosley's former winter retreat on Sarasota Bay in Florida, is operated as an event rental facility. Pinecroft and Seagate have been restored and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[3][4][37] Crosley's farm in Jennings County, Indiana, is the site of the present-day Crosley Fish and Wildlife Area;[38] Bull Island, South Carolina, is part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.[4]

WLW radio continues to operate as an AM station. Crosley's manufacturing plants in Richmond and Marion, Indiana, are still standing, but they no longer produce automobiles.[38] In 1973 a group of Avco executives purchased the Evendale, Ohio, operation of AVCO Electronics Division, a successor to one of Crosley's business ventures, and renamed it the Cincinnati Electronics Corporation. The company manufactured a broad range of sophisticated electronic equipment for communications and space, infrared and radar, and electronic warfare, among others. Since its creation in 1973, Cincinnati Electronics has been acquired by a handful of companies, including GEC Marconi (1981), BAE Systems (1999), CMC Electronics (2001), L-3 Communications (2004–2019), and L3Harris (2019-present).[citation needed]

The present-day Crosley Corporation is not connected to the original Crosley. An independent appliance distributor formed the current company after purchasing the rights to the name from Avco in 1976. Its appliances are manufactured mostly in North America by Electrolux and Whirlpool Corporation. Crosley-branded, top-loading washing machines are made by the Whirlpool at its plant in Clyde, Ohio.[39] In 1984, Modern Marketing Concepts, one of the leading U.S. manufacturers of vintage-styled turntables, radios, and other audio electronics, reintroduced Crosley brand name for its Crosley Radio.[citation needed]

Crosley's automobiles and experimental military vehicles are in the collections of several museums. Crosleys are also sought-after vehicles by vintage auto collectors.[23] The Crosley company's Bonzo promotional items and Crosley Pup radios have become valuable as collectibles. A papier mâché Crosley Bonzo is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[40]

The University of Cincinnati, where Crosley was a student, has named their building Crosley Tower after him.[41]

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Michael A. Banks (Spring 2007). "Big Dream, Small Car: Powel Crosley Jr.'s Indiana Automobile". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. 19 (2). Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society: 28–29.
  2. ^ a b Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," pp. 30–31.
  3. ^ a b c Michael Zimny and Sarah Kearns (January 21, 1983). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory––Nomination Form: Seagate" (pdf). U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Beth Sullebarger (December 17, 2008). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Pinecroft" (PDF). U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Retrieved May 8, 2018. See also: "Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 12/15/08 through 12/19/08". U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. December 4, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ LaHurd, Jeff (November 15, 2015). "Powel Crosley Jr. remembered as a visionary". Herald Tribune. Sarasota, Florida: B-1. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  6. ^ The bay-front property was platted in 1925 as a residential subdivision named Sea Gate. According to early official county documents and grandson Lewis L. Crosley's birth certificate, the name was spelled on early documents as two words, Sea Gate, but has become contracted in use over the years, including the name of the street leading to the building which was renamed as, Seagate Drive.[citation needed]
  7. ^ Sarasota Magazine, May 1, 1992
  8. ^ "Powel Crosley Estate: Rental Info and Rates". Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "Facilities planning and management". University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," pp. 29–30.
  11. ^ Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," p. 31.
  12. ^ a b c d Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, ed. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Powel Crosley Jr". Automotive Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Barry M. Horstman (April 8, 1999). "Powel Crosley Jr.: Innovator, sportsman dreamed big". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on December 5, 2005.
  15. ^ a b c Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," p. 32.
  16. ^ A cute, pudgy little dog named Bonzo, the creation of British artist George E. Studdy, became the inspiration for a variety of commercial merchandise, such as toys, ashtrays, pincushions, trinket boxes, car mascots, jigsaw puzzles, books, calendars, candies, and postcards. The headphone-wearing Bonzo was also associated with the Crosley Pup radios. See Richard Fitzpatrick. "Bonzo and The Crosley Pup". George E. Studdy and Bonzo the Dog. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Graham, Gordon (2014-05-02). "Historic Crosley Building Could Be Converted into Apartments". WXIX. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  18. ^ a b Mahon, Morgan E. (1990). A Flick of the Switch 1930–1950. Antiques Electronics Supply. p. 74.
  19. ^ a b John Kiesewetter (March 17, 2002). "WLW 700 turns 80". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 121 (6). Cincinnati, Ohio: 1801–13. doi:10.1242/dev.121.6.1801. PMC 2749471. PMID 7600995. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  20. ^ In 1936 Israel became chief engineer and later executive vice president of Emerson Radio. See "Dorman D. Israel". Proceedings of the I.R.E. 35 (12): 1403. 1947. doi:10.1109/JRPROC.1947.226200.
  21. ^ Litwinovich, Paul (November 16, 2017). "NPR News and Classical Music: Powel Crosley Jr. and 'The Nation's Radio Station'". WSHU Public Radio. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  22. ^ "XERVAC". TJS Labs Gallery of Graphic Design. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  23. ^ a b c d e Gugin and St. Clair, p. 80.
  24. ^ a b c d e LaHurd, Jeff (November 15, 2015). "Powel Crosley Jr. remembered as a visionary". Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida: B-1. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," p. 33.
  26. ^ a b Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," p. 34. See also: "The Car of Tomorrow". Archived from the original on March 3, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  27. ^ a b c Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," pp. 36–37.
  28. ^ A plan to sell the Crosley auto concern to Nash failed to materialize, when Nash merged with Hudson. See Nash Club newsletter, 1986, volume 1.
  29. ^ a b c Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," pp. 34–35.
  30. ^ a b c Jackson, David D. "The American Automobile Industry in World War Two". Retrieved May 1, 2018. See also: Fucci, Antonio. "Radio Set BC-654-A SCR-284-A Receiver and Transmitter".
  31. ^ "Crosley the War Years". Crosley Autoclub. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  32. ^ McClure, Rusty, Michael A. Banks, and David Stern (2006). Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation. Clerisy Press. pp. 362, 368. ISBN 9781578602919.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ Minter, Jerry (October 1980). "Proximity Fuze: Secret Weapon of WWII" (PDF). Proceedings of the Radio Club of America. 54 (2). Radio Club of America: 3–10. Retrieved May 9, 2018. See also: Jennings, Edward. "Crosley's Secret War Effort". Crosley auto Club. Retrieved May 9, 2018. Also: "Lewis Mason Clement – Pioneer of Radio". Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum (cprr.org). Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  34. ^ Strohl, Daniel (March 9, 2017). "Amphibious vehicles: surrender to Cincinnati – Crosley rolls out the war machine". Hemmings Daily. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  35. ^ a b "More on the Crosley "Pup" Jeep". eWilly. January 1, 2014. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  36. ^ "National Radio Hall of Fame Unveils New Exhibit Honoring Powel Crosley, Jr". National Radio Hall of Fame. August 17, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  37. ^ "Radio Ink Magazine". Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2014. Note: The property and postal addresses of the Powel Crosley Estate (Seagate) mentioned in the Radio Ink article are in Sarasota; however, the house is located in unincorporated Manatee County, which adopted the use of Bradenton as a marketing identity
  38. ^ a b Banks, "Big Dream, Small Car," p. 36.
  39. ^ "Crosley History". Crosley Corporation. Retrieved May 1, 2018. See also "Design News". Appliancemagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  40. ^ Richard Fitzpatrick. "Bonzo and The Crosley Pup". George E. Studdy and Bonzo the Dog. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  41. ^ Modernnati (2021-01-19). "Building A2: The Underappreciated Spectacle of Crosley Tower". modernnati. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  42. ^ "Powel Crosley, Jr". National Radio Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 7, 2018.


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