The R-72, also called the “Toot-A-Loop,” is a wonderful example of Pop Art-inspired design. Departing from the square box format, this battery-operated portable radio is shaped like a donut with an off-center hole. It could be worn on the wrist like a bracelet or carried like a purse. 

Simply by twisting the swivel joint at its thinnest point, the radio opens out into a snake-like “S” shape with a bold, circular station selection dial at the top and the speaker grill at the bottom. The volume control is a little, slim black dial in the perimeter of the body, so it can be used when the radio is in either open or closed position. There is also a jack for a mono earphone that, while not offering the deep sound of stereo, would still provide private listening.

This example in red is characteristic of the bright hues that were available, including yellow, white, and blue. Made of molded ABS plastic, the R-72 was easy and inexpensive to mass produce. It was made to appeal to a burgeoning youth market that wanted its music anytime, anywhere, and that craved novel, “fun” forms.

Leave a Reply