1941: Sound Systems

radioshack 1941

RadioShack started out in 1921 selling radio equipment for ships -- a "radio shack" is what sailors called the structure on a boat where the radio was housed.

In the 1940s, the company began selling consumer products including speakers, turntables and amplifiers like the ones pictured above.

The retailer grew into a one-stop-shop for electronics, with thousands of stores across the country. But the market changed faster than RadioShack (RSH) did, and the iconic chain now appears to be headed for bankruptcy.

First published February 3, 2015: 1:36 PM ET