COMMUNICATIONS: Low Tone

As a young salesman, Eugene F. McDonald Jr. hurt his head in an auto accident and became deaf in one ear. When he became the hard-driving boss of Chicago's Zenith Radio Corp., one of the biggest U.S. radiomakers, McDonald was shocked at the price of hearing aids. If a complete radio receiver sold for only $29, why should a simple amplifier (only part of a radio) cost more than six times as much? McDonald thought he could produce hearing aids as cheaply as radios and make them a profitable sideline.

His first hearing aid, an instrument that plugged into a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!