That was my father’s slang term for a radio…or wireless, as it is known in Australia.
We have had them as long as I can remember. The first bakelite tube kitchen set is hazy in my memory but I do remember the large Motorola radiogram that followed us from house to house in Canada. It had a full-size changer turntable as well as a valve radio amplifier section and it was big and heavy, with deep brown wood, gold speaker cloth ( monaural ) and a very mellow tone.
I loved the afternoon radio shows for kids that the CBC broadcast and probably would have listened to all the teenage programs that the commercial broadcasters produced if it had not been for two factors:
a. We were frequently out in the bush well past any radio reception.
b. My mother actually disliked a lot of music…deeming it noise. Even when the radio worked, one had to listen to it very low.
When I got bigger and lived away from home I bought a series of ever more expensive radio sets, culminating in a Grundig Satellit 2000 that had more controls than a fighter plane. I hauled it all over the world trying out shortwave stations and later chasing the novelty of FM radio. Eventually it got sold in favour of a Kenwood shortwave set and I stepped away from its complexity just before the components aged themselves into silence. You have to be careful of that sort of thing with all technologies. Making a hobby out of painting or arrow shooting is fine as these do not date, but anything with machinery or electronics has a use-by date.
These days I amuse my hobby hours with a Quad hifi set and my reading time with a Tivoli desk radio. No-one bothers me as I am the quietest one in the house.