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Jewel and David Abt Officially Inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame

Abt 2008 CE Hall of Fame Retailer

The evening of October 21, 2008 became a very special night in Abt Electronics history, as company founders Jewel and David Abt were officially inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame during a ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. The CE Hall of Fame honors industry leaders who have turned the consumer electronics market into the dynamic and exciting industry it is today. Members of the Hall of Fame are the innovators, inventors, promoters, and entrepreneurs whose vision has helped shape the world. Jewel Abt also has the special honor of becoming the Hall's first female member.

Bob Abt (left) accepting the Hall of Fame award
Bob Abt (left) accepting the Hall of Fame award

Abt Electronics was founded in 1936 as Abt Radio in a small storefront in the Logan Square section of Chicago. It was launched with an $800 "loan" from wife Jölane "Jewel" Abt to husband David, who knew electronics, which at that time was mostly limited to crystal radios. Through Jewel and David's hard work and extraordinary vision, Abt Electronics has grown to become the largest single-store appliance and consumer electronics store in the country and an early online retailing pioneer.

The 12 new inductees in the 2008 class join such esteemed leaders as Ray Dolby, Ken Kai, Steve Wozniak, Jack Doyle, Dr. Amar Bose, and Dick Schulze to boost the current Hall of Fame membership to 133 prestigious leaders. Other 2008 inductees included Martin Cooper and Donald Linder, who produced the world's first cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC; Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, founder of the Sennheiser company, a leader in microphone technology; Joe Clayton, recognized for his leadership of RCA, his work on direct broadcast satellite (DBS), and his leadership at Sirius satellite radio; Sony's Ken Kutaragi, who developed the PlayStation gaming consoles; and Warren Lieberfarb, president of Warner Home Video and known as the "Father of the DVD."

Voting was conducted by a panel of 15 CE media and industry professionals, who judged the hundreds of nominations that were submitted by manufacturers, retailers, and industry journalists. According to the Hall of Fame voters, "Jewel and David Abt, founders of Abt Electronics, the largest privately owned consumer electronics retailing operation, saw how people craved these new technologies and worked to get them into the hands of consumers. Jewel and David continued to be active in the business well into their 70s. Their son, Bob, and grandsons Michael, Ricky, Jon, and Billy, now run the family business and have the same dedication that motivated Jewel and David. After 72 years, Abt has survived the incursion of a host of competitors and big-box retailers, thanks to a concentration on its local roots and quality personalized service."

In 2005, the Chicago block at Wolfram and Milwaukee Avenues, where the first Abt store was located, was dedicated to and renamed "Jewel and David Abt Way."

Click Here to read about Abt's history