Cabinet Restoration Page
This restoration was another shared project for Dan and me. Dan picked the radio up from a friend at work that recovered it from his mother’s estate. The friend had no place or need of the radio but hated to see it cast aside and gave Dan the opportunity to be the next owner. Dan and Sandy plan to use it in the apartment above my business as a showpiece in the living room. We will begin this report with a bit of history on this particular Philco model.
Looking back at the history of this country there is little doubt that 1941 would be one of the most challenging times for this county, its citizens, and for that matter the world itself. War was raging in Europe and although the United States was trying to stay out of the war it was supporting our allies in spirit as well as production of liberty ships and other supplies.
By December the US was forced to enter the war and for the next several years any thoughts of luxury or even everyday items were is short supply or severely rationed in support of the war effort. Yet for all the turmoil there were still products being introduced and marketed to the general public and so it was for this console radio and other models offered by Philco and other companies.
Philco introduced their 1941 models around August of 1940 and this model 41-280X was self-proclaimed as “America’s Most Popular Console Radio” and towards the end of 1940 was featured in a sales campaign featuring it with a free clock. This promotion centered on Philco’s celebration of their 15th million Philco. The radio is an 8-tube Super Heterodyne and advertising presented all the advances in “radio science” that were included in this set. Many ads bragged, “more tubes for the money”.
We did not take any before pictures as this radio came to us looking almost new on the exterior. The finish was crazed so it needed to be refinished, but there were very few scratches of dents and all the veneer was in great shape for a few very minor chips on the back edges. The primary cosmetic problem with this radio was the escutcheon, which we learned was mad from a plastic material called Tenite, more on this later.
I had service data on this model in my John F. Rider book #12 so I was had everything I needed to begin restoration. I did not need the service literature for the most obvious problem with the electrical/electronic portion of the restoration, which was the line cord. There were large bare spots where the rubber had dried, cracked, and fallen off. Plugging it in with the cord would have led to obvious problems.
As will all electronic equipment of this age, the capacitors all needed replaced. The eight tubes were in place but none of them were strong enough to use over again. The biggest challenge facing me was the on/off switch that was the far left button on the row of buttons below the dial plate. This switch, a simple push-on, push-off canopy style switch was riveted to the chassis and nearly impossible to replace without major surgery and fabrication. I was able to get it working with some tuner cleaner and lubrication and the back-up plan was a toggle switch in the back if this didn’t work. Luckily it worked well and provided easy operation as designed.
I was pleased with the performance of this radio when I tuned it up following all the restoration. It had good selectivity and the sound was very good considering that this wasn’t a high quality radio when it was new. I was able to use the original speaker with no repairs needed. With my part of the restoration done I left the chassis, speaker, and loop antenna out of the cabinet and Dan took it back to his shop in Mason City to do his part of the project.
Cabinet Restoration Page