skip to content
Your session has expired.

Your authenticated session has expired due to inactivity. You can close this message and continue as a guest or log in again before proceeding.


First Sales Account Ledger

1928 - 1932: Original sales ledger reveals founding years of Motorola

Many products, photographs, documents and other wonderful materials are preserved in the Motorola, Inc. Legacy Archives Collection. One item is particularly special: the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation sales account ledger.

Spanning 1928-1932, a time when the company was known as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, the ledger provides important clues about the company's beginnings in Chicago. Using the ledger, Archives staff identified several important milestones from those early years.

First sale

The date recorded for the company's first sale was September 17, 1928, over a week before the company's official incorporation. The product was a Type A battery eliminator, a device that allowed battery-powered home radios to use standard household electric current. Sears, Roebuck & Co. purchased 10 units at a discount and sold them through its mail order catalogs, probably under Sears' WLS brand since the Motorola brand had not yet been created. 


First use of the Motorola brand

A ledger entry for H.C. Wall of Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA,on June 23, 1930, shows the first sale of a Motorola-branded product: a $30 car radio. Earlier Galvin Manufacturing Corporation electronics were sold generically or were branded by dealers that resold them.

Motorola entry into the public safety market

The ledger records the company's first sale to a government agency on November 14, 1930. For $57.50, the Village of River Forest, Illinois, USA, received one "Motorola" standard car radio. Having radio receivers in cars meant police departments could broadcast alerts of crimes in progress to officers on patrol.

Early global sales

According to the ledger, Galvin Manufacturing Corporation's first international sale was to a company in Montevideo, Uruguay, on May 23, 1930. The sale was for radio parts and it was unclear whether the parts were for home or car radios. A few months later on September 19, 1930, the ledger shows that one "Motorola" car radio was purchased by W. Oldenburger in Mexico City for $39.30. This was the earliest recorded sale of a Motorola branded-product outside the U.S. 

Historical items like the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation ledger are tools that enable the Archives to document and share the company's long history as an innovator, trusted partner and industry leader.