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Our History

By Ray Seppeler

In the early 1920's my dad Rolland Seppeler of Toledo, Ohio also designed and custom-built radios with a brand name he inscribed on the front panel - "Sunshine Radio". The name was chosen for the first business location on the corner of Sunshine Road and Woodville Road on Toledo's East Side.At that time as it is today Woodville Road was the main artery in East Toledo- extending from the massive suspension bridge (The High Level) at the Maumee River out to far beyond the city limits. In 1926 upon graduating from Waite High School of Toledo Rolland Seppeler opened Sunshine Radio. In the early 1930's the store was relocated to the 500 block of Oak Street at the foot of the High Level Bridge and occupied various storefronts in the same block until 1981.

The Golden Days of Radio began to wane as television was demonstrated in the late 1930's. The starting of World War II placed all civilian development of technology on hold just as was the case during World War I. At the end of the war the radio/electronics industry virtually exploded with television. It was during these times in 1946 that I started work after school at age 12 at Sunshine Radio for the finest teacher I ever knew ----my Dad. It was my chance to learn from him and the memories I have could fill many pages. At Sunshine Radio I acquired the technical understandings and practical solutions that would sustain me for a lifetime. I knew who my teacher was and I would never hesitate to emphatically proclaim it.

SunRad Opens in New York

My full time involvement with Sunshine Radio was interrupted while earning two engineering degrees from the University of Michigan in 1956. Subsequent service as a Communications Officer in the United States Air Force and the additional years as a design engineer and engineering manager sent me around America. Then in 1972 I rejected an offer to relocate to California and instead I pursued a lifelong ambition with the opening of SunRad (an abbreviation of SUNshine RADio) located in Sodus, New York. Indeed my passion for the business had never diminished since starting work with Dad at Sunshine Radio in 1946. Years later in 1981 Sunshine Radio ceased operations in Toledo when Dad retired, however SunRad remains in New York State and has functioned continuously since being originally founded in 1926 as Sunshine Radio.


The Sunshine Radio Division of SunRad is now located in Sodus, New York and continues today as a re-creation of our founding business. Sunshine Radio is actually a privately funded working museum whose mission is to preserve the products and knowledge from the early years of the electronics industry starting from the turn of the century up to the 1970's. Electronic products, parts, programs, and memorabilia are documented and preserved with attention to the historical value. The support for the museum has come from the work of family and friends; donations, purchases of products, parts and memorabilia; and most importantly from the sales of products, parts, and memorabilia to our supporting visitors. The raising of these funds makes the operation of the museum possible thereby preserving the history of the electronics industry for future generations. The home for Sunshine Radio is at the SunRad location at 8 East Main Street in Sodus, NY 14551 (phone number 315-483-8451) and the regular operating hours are 9:00 to 5:00 Mon. through Fri. and 9:00 to 1:00 on Sat. The Sunshine Radio hours are much shorter due to availability of proper staff therefore the museum hours of operation and the tour schedule is currently by appointment.

Today Sunshine Radio reaches collectors across America and around the world thanks to the trade publications and the Internet. This interest in antique electronics has built to a fever pitch in some parts of the world because there are many other businesses and museums that admittedly are more pretentious than Sunshine Radio. However we have a unique claim to the fact that ours was actually an operating business during those early years giving Sunshine Radio a broader coverage and longer history than most others could ever hope to attain. Of course Sunshine Radio was not around during the birth of electronics in 1896 but we were there when it took its first steps in 1926 with the visionary work of Ron Seppeler.

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