Bart Setchell

Bart Setchell on Vimeo

Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Bart Setchell

Inducted 2003

Inventor, manufacturer, and electronics genius Bart Setchell designed and built the first practical car radio and the first television set to use modular or unitized construction.

In 1928, he put radio on the road by inventing the radio vibrator, which made bulky “B” and “C” batteries unnecessary, and founded Karadio Corporation to produce and market the first commercial automobile radios. In 1930, he formed Setchell-Carlson, Inc., in Saint Paul with Karadio colleague Don Carlson. Setchell-Carlson built radios and audio amplifiers, as well as the world’s first radio intercom, and was an important source of radio and electronics equipment for the Armed Forces during World War II. When the company began producing television sets in 1949, it pioneered “Unit-ized” television construction, a design based on small units or modules that greatly simplified both manufacturing and servicing and became an industry standard by the 1970s. Setchell was also a leader in developing closed circuit television for school systems. He started a new company, Transifier, when he retired to Florida in 1966. Holder of over 100 patents, he died in 1995.