The History Of Walkie Talkies And Two-Way Radios

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Written By Martin C
Walkie-talkie history: backpack radio

Walkie Talkie History

Walkies talkies are commonplace throughout society today, but have you ever wondered about the history of walkie talkies? At some point in every kid’s childhood, they have explored the many uses of a walkie talkie and had a blast in doing so. When I say “kid”, what I really mean is anyone ages five to ninety really, as there is an endless list of uses for the device (child-play, hunting, work sites, communicating in no-cellular zones, etc.,) which extend the use case of walkie talkies beyond just toys for children.

In this day and age, they are available to everyone in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and different colors. With that being said, the walkie talkie was not always so accessible and widely renowned. In fact, there was a time when “walkie talkies” were quite the scientific invention.

Who invented the walkie talkie?

The walkie-talkie is said to have been invented by Don Hings right before WWII. By that same token, there were many “inventions” of the same product in that time period by different inventors, all of which use different methods simultaneously served the same purpose. Though it certainly did not go by that name at the time and was not as easily accessible as it is today, the walkie talkie was and still is used for communication purposes.

When were walkie talkies invented?

Don Hings invented the walkie in 1937 as a field radio for small-time pilots. However, the walkie talkie was not truly recognized until World War II broke out in 1939. At that point, it was redeveloped for soldiers to utilize in battle. It was extremely useful for fighting and organizing troops in war efforts as it offered an easy way to communicate and relay instructions, coordinates, and warnings around the battlefield from distance. 

During this period, the walkie talkie weighed around five pounds, was about seventeen inches in height, and for the most part, it was made entirely of metal.

This description does not quite fit the walkie talkie you see kids running around with today, but then again at that time they were not marketed as children’s toys.

Over the years, the walkie talkie has slowly evolved from a portable radio to a practical handheld device. It was not until the 1970’s and 80’s that they became more and more popular in everyday society. Cell phones too in that time were being marketed for public uses, and I would say hand in hand they have improved and become more accessible ever since.

Through a span of about eighty years, the walkie talkie has developed alongside the latest of technologies. As technology has developed, so has the walkie talkie, and so it will continue to in the years to come. Who knows what the future holds for the walkie talkie!