McGuire Family PhilcoCategory: Family, Historic Technology, Projects
In the late 1930s, Mom and Dad bought the Philco radio model 37-610 on time for five dollars a month. For folks who never had a mortgage or a car loan, it must have been a pretty important purchase! When I was young, Dad had this radio in his workroom at the PUD. When it was on, it was tuned to local KAPA. I had it stored in the basement until a few weeks ago.
When Dad passed away in 2001, Mom thought that I should have this radio, since it had been special to her, and she thought I might be able to fix it. I guess her faith was justified, but the project had to wait for the right moment. At the time, I didn't have the experience with veneer repairs that I do today, nor the vision of how a good case repair would be done. I did know that I could hire someone to repair the workings of the piano, but the radio waited for me.
A few weeks ago, the Facebook group, Old Tube Radios popped up in my Facebook feed. I was naturally attracted to what I saw there (as Facebook knew I would be). After spending some hours looking at what others had done with old radio restorations, I went to the basement and brought up the Philco. I was confident at this point that I could make the case look good. After online conversations with folks in the group, I began to think that even I could make the repairs to the radio itself.
Philco 37-610 comes alive
My growing education about old tube radios revealed that generally, if all the capacitors in the radio are replaced, it will probably work again. I ordered capacitors, a new soldering iron, and a replacement rectifier tube. Over a couple of days, I replaced all of the tubular capacitors one at a time and it started to come to life.
The radio is 86 years old, and working again!
I decided to play with the art deco theme and turn the problems into a feature using a contrasting veneer. My goal was to create a custom version of the Philco 37-610 that, to the uninitiated, would look original. At the same time, to me it would be a reminder of the life this radio has had.
I carefully removed old veneer up to scribe lines on the horizontal speaker grill banding. Generally it just peeled off, but some required a little coaxing with a heat gun to soften the old hide glue. I cut a matching banding from some veneer on hand. I don't know what the species is, but it makes for a good contrast. I chose the purist approach and applied the veneer with hot hide glue -- as was done in 1937. I stripped the old finish, colored the base, and finished it all with several coats of lacquer and a bit of toner for color. I was able to order new grill cloth and a Philco decal from Radio Daze to complete the case restoration
Philco 37-610 Resources
The schematic below is included in the 1936 service notes.
- A very helpful Facebook post
- 1937 (June 1936) - Philco Radio Gallery
- Repair of a 1937 Philco 37-610 Tube Radio - YouTube
- A Youtube playlist
- Discussion: 37-610 capacitors
General Antique Radio Resources
- Mr. Carlson's Lab Renovated Radios: reproduction knobs, parts and more
- Antique Electronic Supply
- Antique Radio Forums
- Radio Daze LLC: decals and much more
- Antique Radios and Parts and Radio Restoration | Merry Tunes Antique Radios
- JNS Vintage Radios and Tubes
- Nostalgia Air: Schematics, etc
2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004