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Not too long ago, in the days before there was a television on every smartphone, it was a rarity for a household to have more than one television.  This advertisement, from 1953, encourages the consumer to “Make Everybody Happy!  Buy Your 2nd TV NOW!”

It is unclear when Don Massa began and ended his time as an electronics salesman, but according to a 1940 Census, he sold electronics in 1940, he was selling them in 1953 when this advertisement ran, and it’s possible he sold them until he passed away in 1985.  His store was located at 3817 N. Illinois, which is listed as a business location, however, GoogleMaps shows little more than a vacant lot.

The history of Zenith, the television brand advertised here, is a little clearer.  Zenith was founded in Chicago as a radio manufacturer, and made its first black and white television in 1948, just five years before this ad.  In 1954, Zenith introduced the first television with a three-electron-gun rectangular color picture tube (the black and white model only had one electron gun).  In 1955, Zenith introduced the first remote control called the “Flash-o-matic.”  Zenith products can still be found today, though the company was sold to LG in the early 2000’s.

3 responses to “Sunday Adverts: Don Massa Electronics Store”

  1. Norm Morford says:

    We have lived in our house in the 4400 block of N. College since 1967 and used Curly’s Cleaners north of 38th St. on Illinois most of those years. I seriously doubt Massa was there until 1985. I have no memory of ever having seen such a store.

  2. Jessica Ballard says:

    I figured it was likely he was not, but unfortunately, there wasn’t much information on when the store closed. Thanks for your help with the timeframe, Norm!

  3. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Don Massa Appliances was still there in the early ’60s. By the time you started going to Curley’s Cleaners in the late ’60s, the building that had housed Don Massa contained Fogle Men’s Wear, Rudy’s Liquors, Klapper’s Shoes, and Top Hat Formal Wear. I think the families who owned the above businesses may have been related to one another. I knew the Klappers at Shortridge, and the Fogles are the family of the Subway commercial’s Jared Fogle and the City Market’s Libby Fogle (remember Libby’s Delicatessen?). The next building north of 3817 was Vonnegut’s Hardware Store, and the next building north of Vonnegut’s was a Standard Grocery Store. I believe North United Methodist Church now owns all of the properties on the east side of Illinois Street, except for the one lot on which a building is still standing. The former Vonnegut’s Hardware is now an ACE Hardware store, and it is owned by a family named Anderson.

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