Philco Transitone

Model 48-214

Cabinet as it arrived at my shop

A friend of mine presented me with a Philco Table radio a few months back with the comment, “if you don’t want it I’ll put it in the landfill.” I just can’t stand to see a wooden cabinet radio disposed of that way, even if it was not an expensive radio in its day. The model number indicates that this radio was manufactured in 1948 and is a five-tube set is commonly known as an AC/DC set. The tube line-up is one each of the following types: 7A8, mixer/oscillator; 14A7 IF amplifier; 14B6 detector/first audio amplifier; 50A5 audio output amplifier; and the 35Z5 rectifier. I have seen the Philco company often use the loctal series of tubes even in there home radio sets very frequently.

Close-up of original decal

This table style cabinet was very distinctive in its color scheme with the yellow trim around the bottom and the speaker cutouts. It was of course in a very worn condition when I received it and I just had it setting under the bench until my son Dan spotted it one day. He also took an instant liking to the unique color scheme and offered to refinish the cabinet for me. Well it only took a very short time to take up this offer, these hands are not as steady as they used to be and to repaint the narrow strips around the speaker cutouts was not a job that I could accomplish with ease. As you can see by the accompanying photos that Dan did a professional job.

Completed Project

The chassis repair consisted of the usual recapping (new capacitors) and cleanup. The loop antenna is glued inside the rear edge of cabinet. This meant that it had to remain with the cabinet when Dan did the cabinet refinishing. I taped the loose ends to the underside of the top of the cabinet so they would not get pulled loose, neither of us wanted to try to reattached the antenna if it came loose. This also meant that I needed to us an old loop-stick for the substitute antenna for tuning the set until it was put back into the cabinet.

Dan reported that when he removed the grill cloth that although it was a bit faded, it was still intact with no holes so we decided not to replace it. He used a product called “Formby’s Refinisher” to removed the checked and darkened finish. This product left the aged mahogany just as it was and allowed for a new polyurethane finish. Dan told me that the cabinet had about 6-coats of spray-on poly and wet-sanded with 400-grit paper between coats. The painted portions were a mixture of white, yellow, and brown enamel model paint. The final touch was to apply a reproduction decal to the face to match the one removed with the finish.

Close-up of reproduction decal

This antenna/chassis design presented the usual problems with this arrangement of the antenna mounted separately from the chassis. I have always disliked this design with the loop antenna mounted in the cabinet this way as it makes it difficult to tune with the chassis in the cabinet as the trimmer for the antenna is on top of the tuning capacitor and when you use a short screwdriver and get your hand inside the loop area it detunes the antenna circuit. But with several guesses one can finally get the trimmer set to the best position when you remove your hand. I am happy that this is another fine addition to the collection and one more old radio is not being part of the ever-growing pile of trash in our landfill.