The walkie-talkie was first invented in 1937 by the Canadian Don Hings, with many similar devices being developed by other inventors around the same time. Hings created his portable radio signalling system when working for CM&S. The devices weren’t initially known as ‘walkie-talkies’ and were first created to help pilots communicate effectively. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, their benefits for soldiers immersed in battle became clear. The earliest devices weighed approximately five pounds and were around 17 inches high. They were normally constructed from metal. They became substantially more popular with recreational users including adults and children during the 1970s and 1980s.
Following a period of research and development, Hings created various different models of portable radios to serve a host of needs, with the Model C-58 Pack Set becoming particularly iconic and prestigious. Tens of thousands of models were manufactured and shipped worldwide. Features of the C-58 included a range of antennas and power supplies, voice scramblers to protect privacy and enhance security and even a filter to remove battle noises from communications so messages could be received loud and clear even during gunfire and engine noise. The Motorola SCR-300 was one of the first two-way radio devices and was so vast it could only be transported in a backpack. Some people argue that the first walkie-talkie was created way back in 1933. However, these devices only communicated in code and drew power from vehicles. It is also incorrect to say that Al Gross invented the device in 1938 – Hings was already producing his radios by this point.