Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Philco Model 41-295

Philco_41-295_Potter

Meet the Philco Model 41-295 console radio. It used 11 tubes and received AM as well as shortwave from 2.3 to 7 mc, 9 to 12 mc and 13.5 to 18 mc. It had eight pushbuttons; seven for preset AM stations and one for off-on control. It operated on 115 volts, AC only. The cabinet was a wood veneer and it stood 36 inches tall. The original price was $100. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $1,538.98 in today’s money.

I stumbled across one of these on Ebay this afternoon. The seller wants $125, noting it’s non-functioning and useful as a “parts” radio for someone restoring a 41-295.

These pictures brought back a flood of memories for me. My parents, who were married in April of 1939, had one of these radios. Since this model was made in 1940 for the 1941 market, it’s entirely possible my parents listened to broadcasts about the Pearl Harbor attack on their Philco.

My dad was a Ford guy and he favored Philco electronics because Philco was owned by Ford. Our first television, purchased just before Christmas of 1953, was a Philco table model.

I spent hours in front of our Philco console radio in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. Much of the time, it was tuned to WBAA (AM, of course. This was years before FM broadcasting), the Purdue University station in West Lafayette, Ind. We lived about 20 miles east of West Lafayette in Delphi.

One of the highlights of my day came at 5 p.m. when the Storytime Special came on the air and I got to hear a story read by the “Story Lady,” a Purdue coed, probably a radio or communications major.

I remember listening to WBAA afternoon jazz programming and wondering why they played so much stuff by the Art Van Damme Quintet. Maybe it was because he was a Dutchman from Michigan and there was, and is, a large Dutch Reformed community in Lafayette. Van Damme was considered the father of the jazz accordion.

Saturday nights, WLS in Chicago carried the National Barn Dance. One of the acts was Captain Stubby and his Buccaneers. Captain Stubby’s real name was Tom Fouts and he grew up with my mom in eastern Carroll County.

I had a little oak rocking chair, decorated on the back with a decal of a penguin, and I sat and rocked while I listened to Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and lots of other programs that you can hear today on the Old Time Radio channel on SiriusXM satellite radio. (I still have the rocking chair. It sits in a corner of our living room and is the repository for dog toys. Every now and then I allow a visiting child to sit in it.)

7 comments:

Rich said...

20 Miles East of West Lafayette

could be the title of a novel

Unknown said...

Hi! I can't believe I found these photos of the Philco. I have one that I, sadly, need to sell. Want to thank you for your detailed description and hope it's ok if I lift a few of your lovely words for my ad. Best regards, L.

The Oracle said...

The frustrating thing about old radios is that they can't time-travel and play all of the old broadcasts - just the junk on the AM dial today.

clydethehound said...

I was thinking that the other day. Then I thought, "Well, maybe it's time to change the predominant paradigm."

I've found that a lot of people we sometimes assume don't want or appreciate something is because they've had a chance to compare it to what they know already, and make a conscious decision that it's not something they're interested in.

Many times, it's because they've never been exposed to it, or even had a chance to decide they don't want it or wouldn't listen to it.

There are lots of community radio stations around the country. I wonder how hard it would be for them to have an AM transmitter too.

I know what you mean. Here AM radio is mainly ETR (Extremist Talk Radio).

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clydethehound said...

That's cool! I have one I'm going to get back up to snuff again now that\I'm finished with school. I'm studying tube electronics repair, and it's starting to make a little sense to me. I've got some testing equipment and such, but I'll probably need to start with a few All-American Fives before I step up to this Cadillac of the broadcast receivers!

I know they pump out a lot of sound., Eleven tubes and a speaker that looks like it belongs in a guitar amplifier.

I wonder how much it would be to get an AM frequency these days, since it's basically overlooked. I wonder if you couldn't have a Big Band/1950s popular music program, spiced up with serials that have expired copyrights? It might be doable if someone weren't trying to strike it rich.

Nice radio! :-)