The Royal 50 family consists of three generations that were produced from 1960 through 1963. They represented Zenith’s entry into the smaller 6 transistor shirt pocket sized radios and was their answer to the sets coming out of Japan like the Sony TR610 and the Hitachi 666 both of which started in 1958. The Royal 50’s offered great sound quality for their size and were built with high quality componets that allowed them to stand up to years of use and produce 80 milliwatts of undistorted sound. They are powered by 2 AA batteries and measure 4.25″ tall, 2.5″ wide, and 1.25″ deep and weight only 8 ounces.
Because of their styling and performance, Royal 50’s remain a popular choice of collectors today. However, with the increasing competition from overseas and the constant introduction of new pocket-sized radios, this series had a much shorter production run than it’s big brother the Royal 500.
The family continued into 1965 with the introduction of the Royal 59. A similar sized set, this one had 8 transistors and packed a punch. It’s beautiful grill and smart circular dial make it quite attractive as well.
During the early 1960’s, Zenith continued to produce some other styles of shirt pocket sized transistors that were manufactured in the USA up until around 1965-66.
The Royal 90 – Introduced in 1963
The Royal 125 (the only shirt pocket with gear-reduced Vernier tuning) – 1963