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1930 Philco Model 96

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  • 1930 Philco Model 96

    I recently came across a man who restores old radios and also broadcasts recordings of old radio programs to his restored radios using a low power AM transmitter with a range of a few hundred feet. This seems like an interesting project. I came across the Philco Model 96 in the photo yesterday and brought it home with the idea I'll restore it and occasionally play music through it via a small transmitter.

    Click image for larger version

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    The cabinet is in fair condition, the lacquer needs to be redone carefully in a few places and/or perhaps just carefully waxed, that I can do. Remarkably the grill cloth looks original and is intact. I know next to nothing about the electronics though, and would appreciate suggestions. The chassis seems to be un-molested, the speaker has a healthy sound when scratched gently, and I know enough not to plug the radio in, although the man from whom I bought it says it works. I'd consider sending the chassis off for restoration, but don't mind doing it myself if I can find some good advice.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions, cautions, referrals to people who know what they're doing.

  • #2
    Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

    That is beautiful. Wish I were more help with the other side of things. Tubes are something I know nothing about.
    Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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    • #3
      Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

      Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
      That is beautiful. Wish I were more help with the other side of things. Tubes are something I know nothing about.
      I know that tube equipment can store up a charge that will knock you for a loop! I found out the hard way. Twice!

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      • #4
        Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

        There is probably a local group of antique radio enthusiasts in your area who would LOVE to help you restore the "innards" and the cabinet of your BEAUTIFUL Philco! Your speaker may have an electromagnet coil (many classic Zenith, Brunswick, Philco, and Armstrong consoles did) or an electrostatic speaker, and may be a challenge to repair/replace, but the "radio guys" seem to find a way to find parts, fix parts, or even make parts for almost anything. We have a very large group in and around Tulsa, and they actually make their own high voltage (up to 450 volt!) dry cell "B" batteries for the plate voltage of very early "portable" (suitcase sized) radios.

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        • #5
          Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

          I may need to contact your group in OK. I live in Downeast Maine, there probably aren't any/many others interested in old radios. All of Maine has a population of only 1.2 million. But it's a good suggestion and I'll try to look for a local group. Here are a few more photos: Click image for larger version

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          • #6
            Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

            I'll dig up their web-site and post it in this thread. I had them and lots of other groups on the late desktop. His motherboard has given me problems since about the first of the year. Then it'd work, kinda. Finally died on me. Fried some hard drives along the way and backed-up data (who expects to lose 3 HD's in a row?) Hunt down replacements for all the tubes NOW! It looks like you have some 22's or 23's in there and they are getting VERY hard to find. Those early tubes aren't that expensive, because they are easy to make, but they only make a batch of them rarely. Just a suggestion, as I have my Grandmother's old 13" Sylvania tube-type color TV I used to go watch Sunday football on to spend time with her. I keep it going with a converter box in the shop as more of a memento than as a TV.

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            • #7
              Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

              I checked tube availability, these are 3 each of 27's & 24A's, 2-45's and one 80. All are available through TubeDepot, although several will cost more per tube if needed, than I paid for the radio. It could become a very expensive project. There is a New England antique radio organization, as usual though at a distance from where I live, but I'll probably hook up with it for some help.

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              • #8
                Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                Imagine the history that was heard from that radio. Beautiful project.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                  I found a similar beauty last year ('36 Philco)
                  - I could not believe it was being thrown out!

                  http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?234445

                  In my thread there's a link to a Philco-maniacs forum if you're serious about restoring it.. Plenty of helpful enthusiasts and experts there

                  Mine's still just sitting in my living room, the cabinet has just enough "patina" to make me not want to mess with it (unfortunately the grill cloth is shredded and all the authentic replacement sources have dried up, so I'll have to settle for something generic.

                  As far as the electronics - that's even more serious : assume all the caps are shot too and you may need custom replacement for other things.

                  Sounded like way too much time, effort and buckaroos for my current situation... You gotta really love doing something like this to make such a huge commitment.
                  So my idea : Leave it as is and put in an MP3 player loaded with vintage recordings and a powered speaker. There's plenty of space in the back.
                  Wala! it s the 30's and 40's again.
                  Last edited by jeff_free69; 08-27-2013, 02:37 PM.
                  BEER: Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

                  I've measured many things I cannot hear; and heard things I cannot measure...

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                  • #10
                    Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                    Thanks, I just used your link to the Philco site, looks like it will be useful. I started carefully working on the old finish, a lot of work no doubt, but I can nibble away at the areas that need attention. The cabinet is constructed in an interesting and very practical way and is solid and complete. The electronics may be an expensive problem, but I'll ask on the Philco forum. Most of the circuit looks simple, all of the parts look easy, though time consuming to replicate. The capacitors are in a separate box on the chassis, and can apparently be replaced inexpensively, the tubes are expensive but available.

                    No doubt it's an expensive commitment, but the thing is so attractive, and although the sound probably will be disappointing, it may be interesting to hear it. AM radio in this part of Maine is dismal at best, but vintage recordings via an AM transmitter might be fun.

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                    • #11
                      Well I just saw this product recently and it looked pretty good.....

                      Kramers best antique improver, wood restorer, they had samples treated and untreated and I was pretty impressed. No affiliation. kramerize.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                        Originally posted by TN Allen View Post
                        Thanks, I just used your link to the Philco site, looks like it will be useful. I started carefully working on the old finish, a lot of work no doubt, but I can nibble away at the areas that need attention. The cabinet is constructed in an interesting and very practical way and is solid and complete. The electronics may be an expensive problem, but I'll ask on the Philco forum. Most of the circuit looks simple, all of the parts look easy, though time consuming to replicate. The capacitors are in a separate box on the chassis, and can apparently be replaced inexpensively, the tubes are expensive but available.

                        No doubt it's an expensive commitment, but the thing is so attractive, and although the sound probably will be disappointing, it may be interesting to hear it. AM radio in this part of Maine is dismal at best, but vintage recordings via an AM transmitter might be fun.
                        It is a beauty. Invest in a good Variac before you apply power it can save a lot of that history from going up in smoke. Tubes are easy the hard part will be the variable capacitors in the tuner section they can be impossible to replace. So approach them with care. A good silcon based cleaner does wonders. Replace all the coupling and decoupling capacitors and test the resistors other than that a fresh set of tubes and new potentiometers should do the trick.

                        You will be very satisfied when you have it done.
                        Dave

                        If you can read this, thank a teacher.
                        If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran
                        .

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                        • #13
                          Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                          Most old radio guys, will suggest you re-wire the the switch so the filaments stay on at reduced voltage 100% of the time. Us old Ham operators with toob rigs did that too as it increases tube life. The volume control may be a rheostat instead of a potentiometer.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                            I thought I'd update this thread as the Philco is now upgraded and restored to use. I had a man in Brunswick, Maine, with considerable experience with old radios go over the chassis and replace various capacitors, as well as re-tune the receiver and make certain it was all safe and functional. I also bought and assembled an AM transmitter so I can play old radio shows through the Philco. There is nothing I've found but garbage on the local AM stations, most of political hyperactivity of one persuasion or another, and the reception is awful where I live in any case.

                            The SSTRAN transimtter kit took a few hours of careful assembly, and a little tuning. The instructions were well thought through, clear and very easy to follow.

                            The cabinet was in worse shape than it initially seemed, the high humidity in my shop didn't help it any as the old hyde glue allowed some of the veneers to delaminate as they expanded with increased moisture. I finally decided to just finish it as best I could, and did. It looks fairly good I think, except for a few places I left as is.

                            It is amazing to me how good some of the sound through this radio seems, and quite an experience listening to music on recordings contemporaneous to the Philco. I've now heard Sing Sing Sing from Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall concert in a way different from through newer equipment. Click image for larger version

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                            • #15
                              Re: 1930 Philco Model 96

                              Beautiful. Is there provision for an external antenna? I made a simple loop antenna for my Onkyo tuner and can easily pull in Cincinnati, Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh, most nights.

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