Radio Shack first opened its doors in 1921 to serve radio officers stationed on ships in Boston Harbor. Today, the chain has more than 4,000 stores across the U.S., all of them packed with hardcore nerdware. You probably already know that Radio Shack is a good place to go for batteries and computer cables, but as the company battles the Amazons and Best Buys of the world, it’s doubling down on enthusiast gear like smartphone-controlled drones.
I’ll get into the Radio Shack of 2014 at the end of this slideshow, but for now, join me on a tour of vintage Radio Shack moments. This first slide was shot in 1931 at a store in Boston. Then as today, customers visited Radio Shack to listen to audio equipment before making a purchase.