Innovation at the Collins Radio Co.

The mission and purpose of the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association is to collect, preserve, display, and interpret the legacy of innovation of Arthur Collins and the company he founded. Due largely to Arthur Collins’ private nature, few outside the sphere and times of Collins Radio can fully appreciate the significance of the innovations made by this company in radio communication, data encoding and transmission, avionics, aerospace, telephony, and computer systems. The Collins story is also one of the origin, during the Depression, of an advanced electronics enterprise in the Midwest, a region not often associated with hi-tech industry.

The legacy of Arthur A. Collins and his company is not one simply of the design and manufacture of advanced electronic devices and systems, although these included many world-renowned products. His true legacy is one of seeing into the future, of formulating entirely new concepts to serve our society, and inventing the required technology to implement these innovations.

Arthur Collins began in his teens designing and building radios just as commercial vacuum tubes became available. The oscillator and amplifier circuits these tubes made possible were a major advance over the spark coil units of the Marconi era, the dawn of radio communication that came just before the birth of Arthur Collins. At the end of his life he had seen, and had fundamentally contributed to, the extraordinary advancement in electronics from these basic communication devices into the Information Age of advanced computers linked by networks of satellites and fiber optic cable.