1932 RCA Victor radio, designed to look like a row of books with bookends. Nice example of a new technology imitating an older one — like early radio and television imitating theater.
What I wonder is, did the makers or the buyers of this radio expect it would deceive anyone? After all, you don’t have to see it very closely to realize it’s a radio. Unless, perhaps, you had never seen a portable radio set. I think the concept was that some portion of buyers would want a radio that would blend in to their parlor, with its books. Or perhaps a book-less parlor would be dignified by these false books.
I expect it was meant to go above the mantle or on a bookshelf. I imagine it was meant more to blend in and look classy than to deceive. And yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if a fare number of book spines, sans contents, were being sold at the time to dignify book-less rooms with shelving.