The Radio Corporation of America

U.S. Navy RAB
AR-88 Family
AR-88 S-meter

ER-88 Mystery
AR-8511
1944 Russian
Sales Pitch

RCA was established in the aftermath of World War I from the nationalized assets of the American Marconi Company and certain radio-related divisions of General Electric and Westinghouse.  It grew to be one of the two preeminent communications companies in the pre WWII era along with AT&T. 

While communications-receiver development at companies like Hammarlund and National are well documented in the press, RCA's efforts in this area a considerably less well known.  It comes as a surprise that, not only did the RAB short-wave super-het, developed for the Navy, predate even the Hammarlund Comet-Pro, but represented a level of technical sophistication years ahead of the commercial market.

We'll see that RCA had at least two lines of short-wave communications receivers:  The military commercial radios such as the RAB, AR-60, BC-224/348, and RBB/RBC; and an amateur lineup, based on broadcast receiver technology, such as the ACR-136, ACR-175, and AR-77.

All of this culminates in 1941 with the the world-beating AR-88.